Hard to know what to make of Michelle O’Neill as SF’s ‘leader of the north’ (apart from the fact she’s currently struggling to get a word in past ‘the boss’). Fionnuala O’Connor has been mulling it over in her Irish News column:
Shuffling the performers may be no more than a holding pattern. What was the spirit of the McGuinness legacy?
To go by his last act, as much to stay out of Stormont as go back in, as much determination to correct the drift of the past several years as to honour the dead.
Installing a new-style apparatchik makes perfect sense for an interim period. Adams cannot be in two places at the same time but his writ can run through a faithful follower. Or the collective leadership needs time to think.
McGuinness was most assuredly leader of the SF negotiating team from his IRA days to latterly. But what, as Fionnuala asks earlier in the piece, if Michelle “turns out to be a NOT very senior appointment”?