Gerry’s last job. (He hasn’t gone away you know.)

Having announced his retirement as a TD for Louth and now watching Sinn Féin rise to become the most popular party in Ireland (26 of 32) in recent opinion polls – the last part of Gerry’s masterplan is almost complete.

They are now so close to getting their hands on power on both sides of the border. But not quite.

Perhaps only Gerry, as someone who fought the fight and then delivered the Republican movement to peace – can finally get the old insurgents to go away – and clear the path for SF to enter Government in Ireland (26 of 32).

Gerry, as a Republican tactician may have many questions to answer, but as a Republican strategist, you would have to go all the way back to Michael Collins to find an Irishman as politically able and influential.

And as such he must know very well that to get into power in Dublin, SF will have to get its own house in order. He will understand that to maintain links to a paramilitary organisation that have been confirmed by the (SF supported PSNI) is an act of political self-harm.

Being in (proper) Government in Ireland (26 of 32) is not the same as running (what might unkindly be referred to) as a glorified county council in Ulster (6 of 9). Proper Governments deal with National Security and maintain diplomatic relations with the leaders of other States.

A mature successful Western Democracy, such as Ireland (26 of 32) simply cannot risk its international reputation, developed since the British left in 1922, with an ambivalent attitude to law and order.

And you don’t have to be a master strategist to understand that or to conceive of the multiple conflicts of interest that could arise if you did take that risk.

As someone who is a (critical) supporter of SF and an admirer of much of what Gerry (the strategist) has achieved, I would personally like to see SF in proper Government – but not at the expense of Irish (26 of 32) State.

No good Irish Republican would want that. And no good Irish republican should put Party before Country.

I’m guessing that Gerry would privately admit that by the time of his handover to Mary Lou she should not have to worry about fielding the sort of impossible questions she faced in the RTE Leaders debate.

The blame for Mary Lou’s awful predicament (and she must have known that questions on the Quinn issue were heading her way) was not down to a perfidious RTE but to a party that failed to ready itself for the job it claims it wants to do.

In spite of Leo’s outstanding work on Brexit, the good people of Ireland (26 of 32) clearly have had enough of Fine Gael’s domestic policies and will probably put FF back into power with FG with Simon Coveney as their new leader.

And SF will be confined to opposition for another election cycle – with nobody but themselves to blame. And that’s where the boul Gerry comes in – again.

More than twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement there is no better man than Gerry, to explain to whoever is holding SF back and gifting FG and FF exclusive right to Government – that their time has passed…

Then Gerry can report back to Mary Lou that yes this time – they have actually gone away.

Cllr Mairéad Farrell, Gerry Kelly MLA, Mary Lou McDonald TD & Conor Murphy MLA” by Sinn Féin is licensed under CC BY