As you were, then..

On the Politics Show today the Belfast Telegraph columnist Ed Curran and the Irish News editor Noel Doran discussed the turnout in the EU election and the anticipated results. Whilst most focus has/will be on the apparent volatility of the DUP support, Noel Doran points out that within nationalism, the message from the electorate is, “As you were”. Remarkably so compared to the last EU election, if the UCUNF tallies noted by Mark Devenport are to be believed – although, if rumours of a differential in turnout were true, those percentages [for Sinn Féin and the SDLP] would have been expected to be higher still. [Adds actual figures here, “Sinn Fein’s vote is down 0.3% on the last European poll in 2004; the Conservatives and Unionists are up 0.5%; the SDLP has increased its vote by 0.3% and the Green Party is up 2.4%.”] For Sinn Féin, despite the public reaction against the Irish government parties, the message in the local elections there is the same [7.4% (-0.7% on 2004)].

A notable exception for Sinn Féin, according to RTÉ’s figures, was the result in Dublin City Council [-5.8%] – despite being the attention of the majority of the party’s resources.

Back in Northern Ireland, once the actual results for the European seats are announced tomorrow the focus will be on how the parties react.

Already there has been idle talk of a threat to the stability of the NI Executive/Assembly. But, as Brian has argued, irrelevance is the greater risk.

Such a threat would require at least one of the parties within the NI Executive gambling that they could walk away, cause a collapse of the political institutions – which would not necessarily be inevitable – and not take the blame.

The suggestion has been that the devolution of policing and justice powers would be the issue responsible.

But all the relevant parties are now agreed on the process which would lead to the devolution of those powers.

One of the now accepted objectives of that process being confidence within the community – as well as confidence within the NI Assembly.

So the questions to be asked are,

How will/should the DUP interpret any sizeable vote for Jim Allister in terms of confidence within the community?

What other issues will re-emerge?

Will Sinn Féin really attempt to take the ball from the pitch again?

And have the foot-soldiers been fully informed this time..

Adds Also in Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald’s vote dropped by 2.5%. Conor Ryan in the Irish Examiner.

This time its [Sinn Féin] share of the vote nationally dropped slightly and, while it made gains in some areas, its support is more fragmented than ever. This will create difficulties when it tries to contest Dáil elections.

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  • Outsider

    Interesting that these commentators have indicated that Allister is running very close to Dodds while the general consensus on here is that Allister is out of the running.

  • jade

    meanwhile, mary lou is about to get stuffed in dublin. oh joy! oh bliss!

  • Mirko

    A hopeless attempt by Mr Baker to deflect the attention from the DUP meltdown to the nationalist vote. It is heartening indeed for all nationalists and republicans not to have to spin these figures, but to rest assured in the knowledge that WHEN they are eventually replicated at an Assembly election, then Mr Baker’s namesake will be Martin’s Deputy. The very prospect will have nine out of ten nationalists queuing at the ballot box. If anything, this election merely strengthens Sinn Fein’s relationship with what Mr Baker dismissively and deliberately calls ‘foot-soldiers’, since they can now even more stridently point to the fact that unionism divides and conquers itself, not just from a historical point of view, but from referrring to the latest election. Mr Baker clearly views republican voters with moral indignity but Mr Baker, we only have to remember Mr Ervine’s assertion that many loyalist paramilitaries ‘knew the colour of Ian Paisley’s wallpaper’ or Mr Trimble’s meetings with a bloodthirsty assassin at Drumcree to know that unionism has and never will have any moral high ground over republicanism. In summary, the foot-soldiers will consider Sinn Fein as the biggest party in this part of the natural political entity as ample progress at this juncture. I see no dissident republican/nationalist ‘foot-soldiers’ polling 70,000 votes and 17 per cent of the electorate. Laughing at Unionism, laughing at Baker.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    the ‘idle talk of a threat’ is presumably an attempt to dismiss earlier discussions and re-open the same discusions with your own slant.

    If there is an attempt to allow 10%ish (or larger) vote for an anti-agreemnent party to disrupt the transfer of police and justice then SF will rightly be collapsing Stormo as they threatened last time out until Robbo under pressure from this threat and from statements from the SOS got the process under way.

  • jade

    nice try mirko, but not good enough – mary lou’s defeat will overshadow all else since it confirms the failure of adams’ strategy to get into government in both jurisdictions – in the south, sf’s day has come & gone; which leaves them with only ‘our wee stormont’ which they dare not let go or the peace process will all have been for nought! with the dup now under pressure to toughen things with sf, martin and the lads have a simple choice: take it in the rear end from the dup or bring it all down & go back to war.

  • Mirko

    I’m not sure I agree with that at all jade – the loss of one MEP does not dampen the republican ardor even remotely. The performance of Sinn Fein in 2004 was a shock to the political system north and south and Sinn Fein haven’t really gone backwards from their overall share of the vote appreciably. Going back ten or fifteen years, Sinn Fein did nothing in the south and yet their political analysis was still that politics was the way forward and primarily that success in northern politics was most important. Remember that DUP intransigence hitherto has delivered it only an electoral humiliation and delivered Sinn Fein a fresh young electorate eager to vote for it. The DUP boasted for so long about the importance of topping the poll in Europe – I’m sure we’ll wait patiently tomorrow to hear similar language used. This election shows how unionism is essentially divided – between those who subscribe to the Adrian McQuillan school of community relations and those who realise that that game is well and truly up. Divided electorates are weak electorates. The nationalist vote has never looked in ruder health. We’re top of the poll – and you’re not. Ha.

  • redhugh78

    ‘SF’s day has come and gone’
    I don’t think so, they are picking up council seats in places they never had before in the Republic, add to that the girl Ferris’s fine performance would tend to suggest otherwise.

    Mary lou has increased her vote and although she may not regain her seat (remember there was only three seats this time around compared to four seats previously)the fact she is in contention is a credit to her and her party.
    You can try and put a negative spin on SF’s success but it does not stand up to scrutiny.

  • redhugh78

    corrrection, Mary lou vote decreased slightly.


    Looks like the DUP will be too busy taking it up the Archibald from other Unionists to have time to bone anyone else. After tomorrow’s result Unionism will go into meltdown and spend the next 18 months to a British general election kicking the shite out of each other. It looks like McDonald will lose out in Dublin but let’s not forget it was reduced from a 4 to a 3 seater. NO, the big story is Unionism and TUV’s success. Sit back and enjoy sniping, backstabbing and ultimately civil war in the DUP. Northern Nationalists are smoking the big cigar now while the Billy Boys self destruct.

  • John O’Connell


    If Sinn Fein can’t capitalise on a political crisis the size of this one in the south like the Labour Party then they’re going nowhere.

  • Pete Baker


    You don’t still believe that I’m actually somebody else, do you?

    Sammy Mac

    You mis-understand how blogs work.

    That conversation is still open for contributions, and is linked in the original post.

    My comments in this post are in response to the supposed threat based on someone’s, no names no pack drill, belief that there is now a secret deal. On what, one could ask. Another target date perhaps?

    Is it May yet, Sammy?

    Now that was an example of Sinn Féin “preparing its own electoral and political base for the compromises necessary in the new post-Agreement era.”

  • redhugh78

    Going nowhere?
    Look at ferris’s vote in the south constituency.
    Sf have a decent base to build upon, labour were always going to be the big benefactors of a swing to the left and given the shamefull treatment Mary Lou got from the media she has polled admirably to be still in with a shout of that third seat considering she took the fourth seat last time around which we all know is no longer there.

  • Bigger Picture


    It appears that Davenport got this spin from the UUP, any other party and commentator do not concur with those figures however. Tommorrow will be interesting but it seems to me that this is just an attempt by the UUP to give the DUP a sleepless night ahead of tommorrow.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    I think part of SFs problem is their anti-Lisbon stance , people have mostly changed their minds on this.

    It is a creditable performance if they have lost the some estates in Dublin they have gained some in Limerick and Cork – but overall the Southern outcome will be filed under dissapointing – though we are not going to hear that from Grizzly and Co – besides I suspect the news from the North more than compensates.

  • John O’Connell


    11% overall in Euro Poll. 7% in local elections.

    Considering there is an upheavel in politics in the south like never before the SF vote is a very disappointing one for Shinners. The SF juggernaut has been thwarted by new realities for the south and the truth is that the south never looked twice for SF assistance in the crisis because SF is a protest party not a party of government.

    I think these results might just be a resigning matter for Gerry Adams. Even if they’re not considered that bad, they at least confirm that Adams is not considered competent enough for people to turn to in a crisis. Therefore Sinn Fein is going nowhere.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “I think these results might just be a resigning matter for Gerry Adams”

    That is not the way the devil operates.

  • John O’Connell


    Aye, but he’s under the illusion that he’s a great fellow altogether and not the beast.

  • GavBelfast

    Maybe we should just have a border poll – on the day of the next General Election? – and see if any of this matters.

    Should clear the air for a generation (or two).

  • fin

    Sammy, you beat me to it, I never knew it was so easy to stop the Anti-Christ.

    Sadly I think SF were too cautious with policy when the economy went belly up, socialists and Labour have been much louder and its paid off.

    But heyho, Shinners play the long game, the Southern base is consistantly 10%, thats something that can be built on.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    I think their anti-Lisbon stance is now working against them – as for Mary Lou well she was beaten by a good un.

    The Ferris performance was a hell of a suprise considering it came from vitrually nowhere – 8/1 with PP.

  • fin

    Sammy, Lisbon just shows the fickle nature of punters, shame about Mary Lou, and yeap I bet even Garry (or Ferris senior) saw that one coming, Jim Allister came close to sitting in Parliment with 3 Sinn Fein MEPs, how would he explain that one to Turgon.

    Is there going to be a bye-election in Donegal, Sinn Fein chances?

  • oisineire

    What was the results from the South constituency? I missed the announcement of the results 🙁
    How has Toireasa Ferris done?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    I think the lazy papists have gone home for the night.

  • oisineire

    yeah, i know. There’ll be no more counting until tomorrow morning.
    But how did she do on first preferences and percentage?

  • Eurocrat


    You need to take off your rose-tinted glassed for a few moments. SF have lurched from crisis to crisis in Southern elections in recent times and the imminent demise of Mary Lou is a political shock wave through SF. Losing her will be a mortal blow to SF and their plans for political development in the South. Yes she had a tough job due to the changing of the number of seats but she has dismally failed to capitalise on the economic crisis in the Republic and on a governing party that has politically flat-lined. Talks about % percentage vote gains are all well and good, but how long will we continue to hear this from SF?? SF have been claiming for years that they are the fastest growing party in Ireland.. *cough* *cough*… sorry I nearly choked on my prawn mornee! Well ..I’m sitting here in my penthouse suite in Brussels having a little snack during the election coverage. I’m saving the caviar for when Mary Lou is eliminated.

  • redhugh78

    ‘the imminent demise of Mary Lou is a political shock wave through SF’

    That is a ridiculous statement, SF have always said she was up against it with the reduction in seats.

    ‘…a mortal blow to developments in the south.’

    That is a grossly exaggerated statement, you just might choke if Mary Lou happened to cling on and God knows what would happen to you if Ferris got a seat which is’nt out of the question yet either by the way,got any sour grapes or humnble pie handy?

  • ed

    I am always amazed at how many people line up yo declare the political demise of Sinn Fein on both sides of the border and yet they stubornly endure. Worse yet they thrive

  • Compared to the last EU election, if the UCUNF tallies noted by Mark Devenport are to be believed – although, if rumours of a differential in turnout were true, those percentages would have been expected to be higher still. For Sinn Féin, despite the public reaction against the Irish government parties, the message in the local elections

  • danielmoran

    itwas sammy….. msg 4
    all the shinners have to do if the duppers try to stall on p and j, is stop the executive meetings again and let the dup walk out, and get the blame for that. this will trigger the run up to assembly elections and let sunny jim do sinn fein’s dirty work for them.
    the duppers will revert back to the status they had for 30 years, as the party that dare not speak it’s name.

  • Wee Pat

    I have to keep intoducing the facts to counter the SF spin:-

    2004 Mary Lou McDonald polled 60,000 votes – 14.2%

    2009 Mary Lou McDonald polled 47,000 votes – 11.8%

    A significant fall in both the number of votes and the share of the vote.