Interesting development from the Fine Gael Ard Fheis this weekend as the party’s delegates have passed a motion to set up a working group to consider the possibility of contesting elections in the North.
The motion that was passed only states contesting elections at Local, European and Assembly elections but it will be interesting to see if this group has legs and goes somewhere. To be honest, I wasn’t even aware that this issue was on the radar for the party.
I have long believed that Nationalism more generally would be given a big boost if we had much more competition in the field up here with Fianna Fail, Labour and others up here battling it out for votes. Competition generally forces parties to innovate and come up with new ideas and policies which I feel has been missing from my side of politics over the last ten years.
Lucid Talk has done some research on this question of how southern parties would do up here, here is a poll they conducted in June 2012 asking this question
27% said they would like British and Irish parties contesting elections here.
17% said Irish parties contesting elections only
16% said British parties (Labour, Lib Dems etc) contesting elections only
40% said they wanted just NI parties to stand here.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs