Micheál Martin: “As a Republican I feel an obligation to make my contribution to the debate…”

Micheál Martin’s interview with Mark Carruthers on The View last night is interesting viewing. Not least at the point (about here) where Carruthers mentions Gerry Adams’ dismissal of the Fianna Fail’s interventions as being driven by a concern for politics in the south.

I’ve no doubt that the general thrust of Adams statement is correct. As argued here before, that’s what competitors do do. But the idea that FF and SF are neck and neck in the Republic only really plays with an Northern Ireland audience.

About this time last year my good friend Eamonn Mallie was musing about what had happened to Fianna Fail as an opposition party. This autumn they’ve buried Sinn fein in a veritable blitzkrieg of oppositional challenges unimaginable just a year ago.

There’s no sign of a northern challenge of the type that was once talked about incessantly under Bertie Ahern. The party has clearly learned its lesson from the unrealistically heightened expectations of that time.

It’s no coincidence that Martin’s speaking to BBC NI just before the weekend the Tainiste is to address the annual conference of the SDLP.

Oh to be a fly on the wall tomorrow afternoon when Mr Gilmore gets to speak directly to his Labour-leaning friends in the north.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty