“the Northern Ireland economy has operated under wartime conditions for nearly four decades”

Via Newshound, the Sunday Business Post’s Pat Leahy with a timely intervention on a national discussion. From the SBP article

So, like the economic benefits of ending partition, it’s not clear that the party’s tax-and borrow plans would actually provide the resources for the stimulus it talks about. Adams suffered a bit of a monstering in a RTE radio interview with Richard Crowley about all this last Sunday, exposing once again his frailty on economic issues. When this happens to Enda Kenny, he gets crucified.

When Adams does it, it doesn’t affect him within the party. This is partly because economic policy was never as important as the national question, and partly because most voters don’t take Sinn Féin that seriously on economic policy. That’s one of the reasons why the party hasn’t been able get beyond 10 per cent.

Read the whole thing.

  • Los Lobos

    Costing the “project” in SF terms, is the love that dare not speak it’s name. In most ventures there is a economic bottom line and indeed a top line with a certaint amount of room for manouvir in between when it comes to making the deal work. This is never brought into the equasion in the Republic of Ireland when Gerry and the guys get on stage to proclaim their “socialist” creed. They are so used to being lifted and laid in Northern Ireland that they feel they shouldn’t have to lower themselves to explain fully to the citizens of the Republic the price of unification and indeed how the Republic will suffer if such a scenario came about.
    In Northern Ireland SF have endorsed some of the most Conservative policies any Government on these islands have ever known. PFI’s for schools and hospitals even thought the schools shut down after 4 or 5 years with contracts running for up to 25 years for those who invested, are common place. Selling off publically owned buildings and anything that wasn’t nailed used to be the preserve of the Tories, now any of the SF Ministers in the North willingly do the same only with a much colder smile as their New Labour masters have taught them well.
    The only sting in the tail for SF is that the very thing they so crave is the very thing that will sink them, Unity on the Island of Ireland. So far they have succeeded in driving voters away from their party in the Republic coming in at under 7% of the popular vote, when this happens in Northern Ireland they will have united the people of Ireland at last. Nevermind, it will have been worth it as it “really is the economy stupid”.

  • As a good-god-fearing-bowler-hat-wearing-moderate-unionist who lives in the great wee country of Ulster I occasionaly have to admit that I listen in to Radio Telefís Eireann and have picked up on a few economic exchanges between the parties.

    Before the last election the 2 main (civil war) parties spent their time arguing over whether or not to do away with stamp duty whilst SF, and as a good-god-fearing-bowler-hat-wearing-moderate-unionist I’m no fan of Republicans, continually warned about the house price bubble in the economy and likelyhood of a collapse.

    Whilst SF are undobtedly no great shakes when it comes to economics, the Plain People of the Southern Irish territories, increasingly realise they are more on the money than those that led Ireland into near bankruptcy.

  • Pete Baker

    Sammy Mac MU

    You might be taken more seriously if you were more honest.

  • Cormac mac Art

    And if they cannot get beyond 10% there is no hope of a united Ireland. Fact.

  • Cormac mac Art

    ”The only sting in the tail for SF is that the very thing they so crave is the very thing that will sink them, Unity on the Island of Ireland. So far they have succeeded in driving voters away from their party in the Republic coming in at under 7% of the popular vote, when this happens in Northern Ireland they will have united the people of Ireland at last. Nevermind, it will have been worth it as it “really is the economy stupid.”

    Plus, it will make them a minority party in the Dail. I think they prefer being a big fish in a smaller pond.

    Moderate Unionist – I don’t remember SF’s talk at the time but that is because, like over 90% of us down here, we don’t listen to them. They are a party of the north, not the republic.

  • Munsterview


    If a week is a long time in politics, so is a year of weeks, a couple of years or a half decade. While there is no guarantee that S.F. will be the voice of the Nationalist majority in five of ten years time in the six counties, neither is there any basis for what is implicit in all your recent postings that S.F. North and South are the only force impelling political unification on this island!

    Fianna Fail for example, on present reckoning, are heading for a roasting at the next election. However few they will be, their well padded posteriors will not be destined for the back benches for too long. No body gave Jack Lynch/ Martin O’Donoghue too much of a chance until they came up with the big idea ‘ditch rates’ to buy the election!.

    2016 coming up and all that National Unity could be their next ‘Big Idea’ and they are capable of it, if it is expedient, with costs like those of rates abolition all those years ago not entering into the equation.

  • Cormac mac Art

    But Munster, SF ARE the only party north and south activly purseing unification. With other partys its just an aspiration, not their core reason for existence. SF have buillt their entire being upon Irish unification.

    I grant you are right in the ‘week is a long time …” theme. But, the political landscape north and south has remained substancially unchanged for decades. The only real changes are independents, ebb/flow of smaller partys, and the appearace and dissaperarance of other smaller parties.

    The idea that FF would sabatoge their position as biggest party in the Republic just to win a single election/achieve unification is not realistic.

    That fact of the matter is, Irish unification is not a priority to voters in the Republic. Nor has it been for a very, very long time.

  • Munsterview


    Yeah right! Just like Fianna Failure would not embark on policies that put Twenty-Six Ireland Inc. in the dust bin for generations! Or the abolition of House Rates in the Lynch/Martin O’Donoghue era, an opportunist idea that deprived Local Government and the County Councils of proper financing at the stroke of a pen and left them bankrupt since?

    As for Sinn Fein being only concerned with National Unity, as anybody not suffering from tunnel vision on the subject would readily acknowledge, they have produced a whole raft of policies for the North and South across the whole political spectrum over the last four decades.

    Sinn Fein were the only political party in the South to consistently shout that ‘the emperor was wearing no clothes’ during the crazy building boom bubble and back in the start of the seventies they launched the Eire Nua program in Belfast with armed Brits patrolling the street outside the very building where it was done by people most of whom were on a wanted list and risking their personal safety to be there!

  • Henry94

    It’s not that Sinn Fein are not taken seriously on the economy but that they themselves refuse to take it seriously. They want to fly a left wing flag while all the while preparing for their dream scenario which is coalition with Fianna Fail.

    In that event the would have no more influence on the economy than the Greens have now.

    It as a strategy that could have been viable if SF hit 20 seats on a peace process bounce but they didn’t and now they will have to earn every vote they get.

    The key to economic policy making is to decide what you would actually do if you had the power and work backwards to a manifesto. If you would nationalise the banks then say so and fight for that position. But if you wouldn’t then don’t pretend you would.

    You can bluff and bluster on everything else but you not the economy.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    SF wishing for a UI means squat diddly. A UI will only enter the equaton when / if the NI secretary of state decides for whatever reason to hold one as per the GFA. We may / may not like this but that’s what SF and everyone else signed up for back in 1998.

    The only realistic ‘whatever reason’ for such a referendum imho, is more nationalists than unionists in Stormont. Are there any other reasons?

  • PJM

    While Sf talk more about a UI than other southern parties, they have no very original ideas about it. Their rhetoric is exactly that which predominated when I was growing up in the 1980s but I haven’t heard any concrete plans from them as to how we get from the present position to unification. No party in the south disagrees with the ideal of unity so it is not really SF’s USP outside of a small group of the republican left that used to vote Workers Party and some disaffected FF voters who wish Blaney had taken over in the 1970s. My gut feeling is that since 1998, the southerners have delegated the unity issue to NI and will discuss it when northern consent is obtainable but aren’t interested in it as a hypothetical.

    SF’s economic policy suffers two problems. One is that it is (somewhat unfairly) portrayed as insane because it violates the centre-right conventional wisdom among Irish politicians and media. The other is that their leaders are very poor media performers, especially when asked about concrete policy. People do expect your sums to look like they add up and that you should know what tax rates you want and who should pay them. They would be well advised to send one of their TDs off for a few months intensive training and then put him or her on instead of Adams for all of this stuff.