Disaffection of SF’s base will likely tie Michelle O’Neill’s hand in Autumn talks

Interesting piece from John Manley on Danny Morrison’s latest intervention on the current impasse:

Mr Morrison told The Irish News that Sinn Féin’s support base had become disillusioned with power-sharing because unionists failed to reciprocate outreach gestures from the likes of former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The one-time Mid Ulster assembly member said relations began deteriorating four years ago when Peter Robinson pulled the plug on the Maze-Long Kesh peace centre.

“It’s about the DUP either unintentionally or deliberately misconstruing republican efforts at outreach as weakness,” he said, citing other examples including the withdrawal of Irish language funding by communities minister Paul Givan and the row between the parties over welfare reform.

He said the Sinn Féin leadership had sought to remain in the executive even after the RHI scandal had gathered pace and other parties were calling for Arlene Foster to step aside as first minister.

“It appeared to me, even at that stage, that Sinn Féin was still trying to preserve things but I believe the base had shifted,” he said.

This last is the key. If Danny is right then Ms O’Neill cannot do a deal with the DUP even if she wanted to, as he appears to concede with admirable candour, “you shouldn’t baulk at making the right decision because of an unfavourable consequence”.

H/T Slugger reader Granni.

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

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