I didn’t see it at the time, but there was the strangest line yesterday’s Irish Mail on Sunday from Fine Gael’s director of elections Frank Flannery, saying his party was prepared to work with Sinn Féin at some future point. Paul O’Brien in the Examiner reckons he has unearthed a viable rationale:
Judging by Dermot Aherns remarks, Fianna Fáil believes Mr Flannerys comments are aimed at persuading Fine Gael supporters to give their transfers, or second preferences, to Sinn Féin.
That would be of most value to both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin in the Dublin constituency in the European elections. There, Fine Gael and Labour are both on course to retain their seats, but Fianna Fáil MEP Eoin Ryan is in a desperate battle with Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald for the third and final slot, the constituency having lost one seat since 2004.
Fine Gael would be delighted if Mr Ryan lost, knowing it would add to the pressure on Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Few in Fine Gael headquarters would care if Sinn Féin proved the beneficiaries.
Enda is in denial mode; but it would not be the first time an Irish political party found the political latitude to speak out of both sides of the mouth at the one time…