When Gerry Adams announced his intention to leave west Belfast for a bid to hold onto a seat in Louth, to be vacated by Arthur Morgan, the Sinn Féin president was keen to paint the move as his duty “in this time of crisis in our country“. Or, as Martin McGuinness would have us believe, “to play a central role in the battle for Ireland’s economic recovery”.
As the Irish Times noted
Sinn Féin sources insisted last night that Mr Adams’s decision to seek the Louth nomination was as a result of chance factors, namely the decision of Mr Morgan not to run again, the economic crisis and the possibility of an election soon.
And in apparently co-ordinated statements the [soon to be erstwhile?] Sinn Féin Dáil Group leader, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, stressed his involvement “in the discussion of this proposition”. While the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, and party colleague Martin McGuinness, noted that “I have obviously spoken with Gerry about this decision…”
No word, yet, from the Sinn Féin Vice-President, the unelected Mary-Lou McDonald.
In August last year Adams had anointed McDonald as “the [Sinn Féin] leader in the south”, admitting at the time that “we’re looking to build a southern-based leadership”.
And in a short report in today’s Irish News Brian Feeney identifies the real reason for the sudden switch
“This is a change in direction for Adams because he is facing the failure of the Sinn Féin project in the Republic after the 2007 election. They should have done better,” [Brian Feeney] said.
“Sinn Féin just haven’t made any impact at all.”
Mr Feeney, the author of Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years, said the party was without leadership in the republic.
“They were pushing Mary Lou McDonald. She didn’t make it,” he said.
“They are going nowhere. Adams wants to take charge. Nobody knows what they stand for.”
Replacing the electorate you represent might look like clever move, Gerry, but you’re still a northerner. And if “the battle for the heart of Sinn Féin is lost…”
On the upside, from now on the Sinn Féin President can be in permanent opposition to the government. Unlike his previous position in the Stormont administration…