Leaders Debate: Should Sinn Fein take heart at Martin’s strategy?

The Fabulous Five Debate is over and post-fight analysis is underway across the airwaves. It will be interesting to see where the media narrative fixes itself in the coming hours, but early indications suggest that the line will be one emphasising Enda Kenny’s coming of age as a Taoiseach-like figure.

What was clear throughout was that the Fianna Fail leader had adopted an aggressive style and that much of his calculated ire was reserved for Gerry Adams. Republicans will be heartily relieved that Adams performed competently in a discussion forum that suited him- with five voices seeking a constant hearing, policy depth and awareness was never going to be the focus, though Martin was keen to lampoon Adams at every opportunity.

Yet Sinn Fein should take heart from this as, clearly, there are reasons being confirmed at ground level which explain why the Soldiers of Destiny have it in for Sinn Fein- and Mick has picked this up regarding the strong polling figures being linked with Jonathan O’Brien in Cork.

I have already outlined the reasons why I believe Sinn Fein should not have put Adams at the table for this discussion but, once the decision was made, it became less about utilising the opportunity to advance the party’s prospects in the South and more about avoiding any embarassing slip-ups which could have damaged the prospect for significant gains in the coming weeks. It looks like mission accomplished on the latter score at this stage.

But of course, as always, time will tell….