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Sinn Féin and Coalition in Dublin

Pretending that a progressive coalition can be negotiated by Sinn Féin with FF and/or FG is part of  it’s  movement to the right.  Even more telling is the Failure of Sinn Féin to mobilise even a thousand people in a street protest in the 26 counties since the water charges.


Dec 2019: Sinn Féin Soar in 26-County Opinion Poll   Will Sinn Féin Enter Coalition?

Eliminating Undecideds in Comparison to Nov B&A Poll
FG 26 (-2) FF 27 (+4) SF 23(+4) Lab 4(-2) Green/others 20 (-5)

The poll for SF is 9 percentage points above its 2016 General Election Score. That will give it extra seats. But barring a huge event , SF has no possibility of getting the minimum 79 seats necessary to achieve an overall majority. Unless FF or FG can secure a major increase on their scores in this poll, neither have any chance of achieving an overall majority. The Labour “recovery” after previous coalitions is not going to happen because Sinn Féin is now in place as a larger alternative.
There is likely to be a very “hung” parliament!
What coalitions/alliances are possible?
For to-day I will indicate only what I think is not possible at the moment- a Fianna Fáil-Sinn Féin coalition though they will almost certainly have the numbers!!! Fianna Fáil have already ruled it out. But that is no guarantee.The real reason is that within such a coalition there could be major leakage in voting support within the coalition. Many Fianna Fáil voters could easily shift to Sinn Féin. It is not a big step for a Fianna Fáil voter to do this-not in comparison to transferring to those who murdered the 77! There could be drift the other way too! With a taste of office in the Free State, it wouldn’t be the first time that an erstwhile Republican forgot the North
What about a FG-Sinn Féin coalition? Mary Lou has not ruled it out. Its attraction for both parties is that they could retain their core support among the population within it. Policy differences,? When my father was canvassing for Paddy Kinnane (Clann na Poblachta, Tipperary) in ’48, if anybody suggested that “the Clan” would end up in government with Mulcahy they would have been laughed to scorn. But FG replaced Mulcahy as leader to facilitate Mac Bride. (Mulcahy had had Mac Bride charged with murdering O’Higgins)
So Don’t rule anything out!!! A new major financial crash , Brexit damage etc could provide the cover.

———————————————————————————————————-Vincent Doherty Commenting On Sinn Féin Reeling after Losing 5 Seats in Derry and Strabane-Irish Times https://wp.me/pKzXa-tR
Vincent Doherty on Facebook: “People are beginning to see through Sinn Fein’s phoney radicalism. At Stormont with their DUP partners not once did they challenge the neo-liberal orthodoxy and they voted savage(Tory) welfare reforms hoping that in time people woud forget. Not this time. At council level there’s not a cigarette paper between the policies of Sinn Fein and the SDLP, which is why it is important new anti establishment voices like PBP and Independent Republicans are at last represented on the Derry and Strabane Council.”

Paddy Healy  :Would SF vote savage welfare reforms in Dublin as well?

——————————————————————————————————–Pretending that a progressive coalition can be negotiated by Sinn Féin with FF and/or FG is part of  it’s  movement to the right.  Even more telling is the Failure of Sinn Féin to mobilise even a thousand people in a street protest in the 26 counties since the water charges.

Sinn Féin is the Big Political Loser in Presidential Election—Tommy McKearney Former H-Block Hunger Striker


In a two-tier economy there is no middle ground……The need to continue constructing a dynamic socialist republican mass movement remains an imperative

Sinn Fein is the big loser from the Irish presidential election. Presented with a golden opportunity to set itself out as the principal alternative to a Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Labour triumvirate, Mary Lou McDonald’s party offered the Republic’s electorate a package so bland that it blended in with the wallpaper.

Surely someone in Sinn Fein must now be asking how the Movement has strayed so far from its core base. Did they really think that they could succeed by wooing the middle-class, a strategy that failed miserably in the past for both Labour and the Workers Party?

The choice of Liadh Ní Riada was not the cause of their problem. It was the thinking that led them to choose Ms Ní Riada that lies at the heart of her and the party’s rejection. Misreading the political situation and believing that rebranding as a middle-of-the-road, conviction-less, liberal, soft on business but above all no-longer-Provo organisation would seal the deal was a major blunder.

Moreover, this misconception did not start with the presidential election. The party that was caught flat-footed at the beginning of the anti water tax campaign, has changed direction on the EU, with all that implies for its economic outlook. In a two-tier economy there is no middle ground.

Unable to decide which side of the fence to stand on has opened the door to the type of Trump-like populism that took Peter Casey from obscurity to winning 23% of votes cast in the recent election.

.The need to continue constructing a dynamic socialist republican mass movement remains an imperative


A Marxist Review of ‘I, Dolours’

Posted in the Blog “Broken Elbow” Edited by ED Moloney on October 4 2018

“She does however say that what Sinn Fein had achieved(Good Friday Agreement) was not worth missing a good breakfast for.”

A Marxist Review of ‘I, Dolours’

I, Dolours

‘I Dolours’ is a film about the life of Dolours Price, and her activities as a member of the IRA during the 1970s.  It is part dramatisation and part interview conducted by the journalist Ed Moloney, who is also the Producer and has written an important book on the history of the IRA.

Actor Lorna Larkin is excellent as Dolours and she needed to be, because the most arresting parts of the film are excerpts of the interview with Dolours.  She is determinedly articulate, direct and forthright.  One review has described her as a “terrifying and bitter woman”, but one person’s bitterness is another’s righteous anger.  She is unrepentant about her activities in the IRA and brutally honest.

And it is this honesty that so jars with the present, where a principal republican leader claims never to have been a member of the IRA and another claimed never to have killed anyone. While mainstream commentary ridicules such claims, it fails to register the service they do to its own anti-republican narrative.

Her unflinching justification of the IRA and its campaign will be shocking only to those too young not to have come across the ‘arrogant’ and ‘elitist’ republicans who regarded themselves as ‘defenders of the truth’, as described in Dolours’ own words.

It contrasts with the mealy-mouthed political sophistry of today’s Sinn Fein, many of whose members justify their current opportunism with their experience of previous sacrifice. As one comrade of mine put it, their descent into corruption is justified by the phrase ‘we’re worth it.’

Dolours’ interview is also interspersed with archival footage of the civil rights movement, which Dolours and her sister Marian joined, and the attacks on the movement by loyalists and police.  The demand for the most limited reforms was met by naked state and loyalist violence, with footage in the film of the ambush at Burntollet and the RUC attack on the 5thOctober civil rights march in Derry.

This has generally been passed over quickly in reviews but in the more recent media coverage, marking the 50thanniversary of these events, their importance to the creation of ‘the Troubles’ has been at least partially recognised.  It was obviously crucial to Dolours’ political development and from a socialist point of view led to a political and personal tragedy.  From such a viewpoint the alternative to the reform strategy of civil rights was not that of militarist republicanism, which Dolours notes she had at one time herself rejected.

From these attacks however, Dolours learned that “change would not be brought about by marching” and the objective of uniting Protestant and Catholic workers was the wrong one.  She came from a family steeped in republicanism, with her father taking part in the bombing of England during the Second World War, which Dolours seemed to regard as almost surreal in conception, while her aunt lived her life in the family home, having had her eyes and hands blown off while attempting to recover an IRA arms dump.

She was ultimately to be the third generation of the family to end up in jail, which might appear to lead to the belief that she was born to be in the IRA.  But if this were so then she would be less intelligent and less human than the woman that appears on the screen.  She embraced the idealism of the civil rights movement and then rebelled against its perceived ineffectiveness in fighting oppression.  She devoted herself to the IRA and consciously submitted to it discipline.  She didn’t seek to avoid danger, and refused to present herself as a hero.

She does not embellish events or her participation in them, and attributes her passion and zeal to youthful ardour.  She makes statements she knows will not gain her any sympathy, such as her defense of the killing of informers, while she displays sympathy of her own years later for only one disappeared, someone who went to his death believing that this death was deserved, just as Dolours did.

The film shows a number of clips of IRA car bombs in Belfast City Centre, and some of their grisly effects, and records her seeming endorsement of the view that one bomb in England was worth many times that number in Ireland.  It dramatises her volunteering to participate in the bombing of London, having had the risks explained, and even as other IRA volunteers walked away.

While noting the immature behaviour of some of the male IRA volunteers in England, who failed to follow orders and got drunk, she also acknowledges that this made no difference, because the whole operation had already been compromised by informers.

She and her sister were caught, imprisoned in England, and went on hunger strike to demand that they serve their sentences in Ireland.  For most of the hunger strike, which lasted over 200 days, she and her sister were force fed, an experience that eventually resulted in Marian’s, and then her, early release.

The film invites some sympathy for her during this period and her resulting continuing ill health, which led to her eventual premature death.  It can hardly do anything else, just as the picture of bomb explosions and their aftermath can hardly do anything other than evoke the opposite. But it also should prompt questions, because it does an injustice to Dolours to assume that the decisions she made were inevitable.

How, for example, was it hoped that these bombs would achieve republican objectives if bombs in Belfast mattered so little?  And why did they continue for so many years?

That Dolours was not asked these questions is understandable.  The interview was a last testament, to be shown only after her death, and her ill health at that time made her vulnerable.  The journalist Ed Moloney has explained the backstory to the interview on his blog.  She therefore said what she wanted to say.

This must also, unfortunately, explain rather unsatisfactory aspects of the film.  As has been noted elsewhere, it feels incomplete, not only on the political side but particularly in relation to Dolours future life after release. The ending feels rushed, and her opposition to the betrayal by the movement of the cause she dedicated herself to is not fully explained.  She does however say that what Sinn Fein had achieved was not worth missing a good breakfast.

Most media attention has focused on her admitted role in the killing of the disappeared: those who were considered to be informers and who were driven across the border, often it seems by Dolours, where they would be shot and their bodies buried.  Some of these bodies have not been recovered. This, she admits in the interview, was a war crime, but only it seems because families did not know their loved ones’ fate and could not be given a body for proper burial.

Of all those disappeared, the most notorious case was that of Jean McConville, a widow and a mother of ten children, who were separated from each other and put into care following their mother’s death.  Dolours is not kind after the event and makes no attempt to soften what she and her IRA comrades did.  The lack of any attempt at sugar coating gives her statements greater credence, although Jean McConville’s family protested at the film’s opening in Belfast and dispute some of her assertions.

Her other claim is only superficially more controversial and was aired long before the film, which was that Gerry Adams was not only in the IRA but also ordered the killing.  That the former has been denied by him is taken seriously by no one, which leaves denials of the latter also suffering from a problem of credibility.

The worst review of the film I have read ends with these remarks:

“Perhaps that is the saddest part of I, Dolours, is that she died feeling let down, deceived and unfulfilled, having not achieved her ultimate goal in life. Though, she does serve to be a forgotten relic of a time which indeed many would never wish to see the likes of again. Ultimately, Dolours is an unreliable narrator and we must remember that this is one woman’s perspective, and that everything she says must be taken with a pinch of salt.”

The film itself is testimony to her not being forgotten, and the poignancy of her story is an invitation not to forget but to learn from.  This includes the political lessons that are especially important, since she lived and died a political woman.  She makes clear that she did not seek to excuse or exonerate her activities, on the contrary she saw no reason to do so, and the film stands as a challenge to her erstwhile comrades who have made political careers doing so.

That she is an unreliable narrator seems hard to sustain given her definite and precise approach to the telling of her story; her complete avoidance of seeking after sympathy, and plain admission to her unpalatable actions. There is no reason to believe that “everything she says must be taken with a pinch of salt.”

On the contrary, it is the truthfulness of her words that cuts through the carefully constructed silences and avoidance that characterises today’s approach by Sinn Fein to the actions of the IRA.  Continued embrace of IRA history, along with denial of everything it entailed, or attempts to make us “all” responsible for actions which specific actors were only too willing to claim for themselves at the time; all this is incompatible with the truth that Dolours continues to speak.

On the question of Dolours feeling let down by not having achieved her ultimate goal, I get the feeling that, apart from the physical and psychological damage she suffered from her experience in prison, republican defeat was not decisive in contributing to her death.  Coming from a republican family she grew up and had lived with its consequences. She understood defeat and faced it when it happened.  Not for her black taxis driving up and down the Falls Road hooting its celebration. It was the betrayal of the movement that she devoted her life to which must have demoralised more than mere defeat.

She must have been aware that she drove to their deaths members of the movement whose betrayal, in the great scheme of things, was so much less than the movements’ later complete capitulation.  And just as she did this, so later did the republican movement do it to her.

The film is authentic in its showing of a republican view of ‘the Troubles’, free from today’s spin and bogus self-justification.  In this way it is an honest and faithful portrait of its subject.


Sinn Féin has welcomed the appointment of Drew Harris as Garda Commissioner and pledged to hold him to account in his new role.

Irish Times, June 26, https://wp.me/pKzXa-tR

Speaking after the appointment was made on Tuesday, the party’s spokesman on justice, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, said the party intended to work constructively with Mr Harris and would be seeking to meet him to discuss his priorities as commissioner.

The party has had a tense relationship with Mr Harris during his tenure as Deputy Chief Constable for the PSNI

Some within the party blamed Mr Harris for the arrest of Gerry Adamsin connection with the abduction and disappearance by murder of Jean McConville.

Sinn Féin MLA Caitríona Ruane also withdrew from the Policing Board panel that would go on to select Mr Harris to the role within the PSNI, saying she believed the process may have been compromised.

Speaking after the appointment was made on Tuesday, the party’s spokesman on justice, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, said the party intended to work constructively with Mr Harris and would be seeking to meet him to discuss his priorities as commissioner.


Sinn Fin President Fails to Rule Out United Ireland Joining the British Commonwealth Headed by Queen Elizabeth 11 https://wp.me/pKzXa-tR

In an interview with TheJournal.ie, the Sinn Féin leader said there must be an open debate in order to encourage unionists to participate in a discussion about a united Ireland.

McDonald said she cannot call for an openness, and then censor voices before the debate has begun.

“You can hardly make that call and then say ‘we are not going to discuss any particular item’. And there are some people who think that rejoining the Commonwealth is a worthy proposition.

“I think those that hold that view need to put that view forward, and I think it needs to be looked at, and debated, and it needs to be discussed.

“It is not a proposition that I would be advancing – but I am me. This is not all about Sinn Féin. This is much bigger than us. The debate has to have the capacity to put everything on the table and then the business of debate and discussion in a reflective way, not a divisive way,” she said.

The idea of Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth has been floated by a number of politicians, such as Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan who argues that it would promote Ireland’s values to a global audience, while strengthening and growing important economic and cultural ties internationally.


Fianna Fáil Resistance to Judicial Appointments Change Overcome in FG-Sinn Féin Deal

Irish Times-Sinn Féin deal to allow Dáil to pass Judicial Appointments Bill

Government agrees to introduce(Non-Binding!!) sentencing guidelines as part of reform package

 Fiach Kelly Deputy Political Editor    https://wp.me/pKzXa-tR

Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s long stalled proposals to reform the way judges are appointed are set to be finally passed through the Dáil following a deal between the Government and Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin committed to voting for the Judicial Appointments Commission Billafter the Government agreed to introduce sentencing guidelines as part of an accompanying package.

The guidelines, which will not be binding on judges, will be contained in the Judicial Council Bill. Taken together, it means that Mr Ross’s initiative will pass through the Dáil, most likely by the end of the week.

It comes after years of rowing over the Bill, including fraught Cabinet discussions and unprecedented criticism from the judiciary itself.

The Bill sets up a new process for appointing judges, with a new body given responsibility for recommending candidates to the government. Mr Ross, the Minister for Transport, has insisted on a non-legal majority and a non-legal chair for the new body.

Welcoming the development, Mr Ross said he has always advocated for “clarity and consistency in judicial sentencing”.

“This proposal will ensure that victims of crime have some certainty and peace of mind in how those who’ve offended will be treated.

“This bill is so important as it will remove the risk of political patronage and ensure transparency in the appointment of judges,” he said.

“I am delighted that Sinn Féin are in a position to support its passage.”

Given the Government’s extreme minority position in the Dáil, it needed the support of a significant number of Opposition deputies for it to pass. Along with Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats and a number of Independents are expected to support the Bill.

Donnchadh Ó’Laoghaire, the Sinn Féin justice spokesman, met Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan on a number of occasions in recent days in an attempt to reach a deal.

Mr O’ Ó’Laoghaire, a Cork South Central TD, said he made it clear to Mr Flanagan that the measures on sentencing guidelines should be included in the Judicial Council Bill.

Government sources, however, insist that Mr Flanagan was always “very supportive” of such guidelines but first wanted to consult Attorney General Séamus Woulfe on the issue.

While a sentencing information committee was initially envisaged, this will now be upgraded to a sentencing guidelines committee.

Its members will include the Chief Justice; the presidents of the Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Circuit Court and the District Court; and five lay members.

Mr O’ Ó’Laoghaire has said they will draft guidelines for particular offences, particular categories of offences or a particular category of offender to ensure greater consistency of sentences.

The Attorney General is understood to have said that mandatory guidelines were not possible due to the separation of powers.


Major Republican Re-Groupment Emerging As Sinn Féin Moves to the Right


Sean Bresnahan of the Thomas Ashe Society, Omagh, Co Tyrone, speaks of the Fine Gael budget and what’s needed to change the continuing unequal system of government. Thomas Ashe Society is one of many branches of the 1916 Societies throughout the 32 Counties

“Despite a century of ‘independence’, it is more obvious by the day that none of this is freedom or the equal opportunities made mention of by the 1916 Proclamation. The remedy, in kind, couldn’t be clearer. A new and independent 32-county republic, based on the template of that timeless treatise, is what the situation in Ireland demands…”


The 26-county budget for the year ahead, unveiled by Fine Gael’s Paschal Donohoe yesterday at Leinster House, is symptomatic of a government wholly out of touch with the people and society it purports to serve.

This euphemistically-titled ‘neutral budget’ – the gift of the Fine Gael-Fianna Fáil alliance – ignores the worsening crisis in the Southern health service and fails to address, in any meaningful capacity, the needs of the housing sector – where massive shortages have birthed a situation where homelessness is the daily reality for thousands of Irish people. These issues should be the top priorities of any Dublin administration, given the extent of crises faced, but alas.

On top of that again we find that the lowest paid among Irish workers have received the least additional financial reward in relation to those in other and higher wage brackets. This is simply wrong and, if nothing else, the benefits to workers should have been equalised across all sectors of the workforce.

Needless to say, the ‘two-tiered recovery’ continues unabated as the wealthy protect their own sectional interests over the needs and requirements of wider society – assisted in so doing, as ever, by those in Leinster House who are there to do their bidding.

Despite a century of ‘independence’, it is more obvious by the day that none of this is freedom or the equal opportunities made mention of by the 1916 Proclamation. The remedy, in kind, couldn’t be clearer. A new and independent 32-county republic, based on the template of that timeless treatise, is what the situation in Ireland demands…


Mary Lou McDonald: ‘SF will not tax people into oblivion’-Irish Times

Sinn Féin leader also says her party shares ‘common goals’ with businesses

Participation in Government: In what will be seen as an effort to reach out to the business community and assuage concerns about her party’s possible participation in government, Ms McDonald has addressed a number of business groups in recent weeks.—

Speaking to an audience of Dublin business leaders, Ms McDonald said: “I want to say to you very clearly: I don’t see our interests at odds. I think we share common interests and common goals.”

Fiach Kelly, Irish Times, Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mary Lou McDonald says Sinn Féin will not tax people into “oblivion” and has a deep interest in promoting successful businesses, which share “common goals” with her party.

She has also described foreign direct investment as a “core component of the investment landscape” in Ireland and said Sinn Féin has a “vested interest in commercial and business success”.

Speaking to an audience of Dublin business leaders, Ms McDonald said: “I want to say to you very clearly: I don’t see our interests at odds. I think we share common interests and common goals.”

Other parties, including Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, have repeatedly said Sinn Féin’s economic policies make them unsuitable coalition partners.

Participation in government

In what will be seen as an effort to reach out to the business community and assuage concerns about her party’s possible participation in government, Ms McDonald has addressed a number of business groups in recent weeks.

She spoke last week at a breakfast meeting of the Dublin Chamber, which followed a recent meeting with the WexfordChamber of Commerce.

It was the Dublin Central TD’s first appearance before the Dublin Chamber since she was an MEP in the mid-2000s.

Ms McDonald said her party’s interests are the same as those in business – that jobs should be created – but also insisted Sinn Féin is left-wing.

“I am very conscious, to be frank with you, as the leader of Sinn Féin that this scenario is sometimes presented as those that represent the working class and the interests of workers versus those who create jobs, who create prosperity, who create resources,” she said.

“Actually, that is a very crude depiction of life and it is very far off the mark. Sinn Féin is a party of the left. There is no great surprise in me telling you that. We are a party that is committed to social justice. We are a united Ireland party as well.”

But she added: “We are party that has a deeply vested interest in commercial and business success. For me to properly represent the people who live in my neighbourhood in Cabra or the folks who live in the north inner city, they have to have places in which to work.

“They need to have decent employment. They need stability and they need a good relationship with those with whom they work and for whom they work.”

Increased taxes

Speaking afterwards to The Irish Times, Ms McDonald said her party still believes in increased taxes for those earning €100,000 or more, but said Sinn Féin will not tax people “into oblivion”.

She has, in recent weeks, set out her stall “in saying that taxation policy isn’t about vengeance”, she said.

“It is about funding services. It has never been our aim to penalise middle income workers.

“I mean that people who are fortunate enough to have very large incomes, people who are more fortunate and who are wealthy and who have very large asset bases, should pay more, a bit more.

“I also meant that I recognise there is a whole section of people who are struggling, who constantly have their hand in their pockets. Who pay tax, who pay a lot of tax and, frankly don’t have a sense that they are getting the services in return for it.”

© 2018 irishtimes.com


Why Did Sinn Féin Decide Not    To Nominate a Candidate In Seanad By-Election to Replace Former Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh?

Support for Unionist Farmer, Ian Marshall, by Sinn Féin in the other Seanad By-Election has Grabbed Headlines but This is the Bigger Story !!!!

Newspapers are now Reporting that Sinn Féin TDs and Senators Voted to Elect Victorious Fine Gael Candidate Anthony Lawlor, North Kildare, in the by-Election. Fine Gael is now in a stronger position to gain a seat in North Kildare in the next general election.  Sinn Féin has no seat in North Kildare. But no newspaper has asked why Sinn Féin did not nominate it’s own candidate, with a view to promoting that Sinn Féin candidate’s profile in the next general election. Only 9 Oireachtas Members are required to nominate a candidate in this election. Sinn Féin have 27. Only oireachtas members cn vote in a Seanad by-election. Read More:

Newspapers are suggesting that the Sinn Féin vote for Lawlor(FG) was designed to ensure that Niall Blaney (FF,Donegal) would not be elected as he may have become an obstacle to Sinn Féin’s attempt to regain the second seat in Donegal which it lost in the last election.  But THAT IS FAR FROM THE FULL STORY. In fact, FF had three candidates in the race and FG had one. Sinn Féin could have used the votes of its 27 Oireachtas members to ensure that a FF candidate other than Blaney was elected. Why did Sinn Féin not nominate its own candidate and, on elimination, transfer the Sinn Féin votes to a Fianna Fáil candidate other than Blaney?

Answer : Sinn Féin wanted FG to win the Seat But Didn’t want anyone to know that its oireachtas members had voted for Fine Gael’s candidate. That would have been clear from the transfers if a Sinn Féin candidate had been nominated!!!!


Sinn Féin helps Leo Varadkar win two Seanad seats

Philip Ryan April 27 2018

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has secured two extra seats in the by-election with the support of Sinn Féin.

The Taoiseach’s two candidates topped the Seanad poll this afternoon after receiving the backing of Sinn Féin TDs and senators.

Sinn Féin announced earlier this week that they would be supporting former Ulster Farmers’ Union president Ian Marshall for one of the seats.

But it emerged at the count today that Mary Lou McDonald’s party also supported former Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawlor for the second seat.

A senior Sinn Féin source said most of the party backed Mr Lawlor because they could not bring themselves to support candidates proposed by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.

“Our TDs and senators said the Fine Gael candidate was the least worst option and they couldn’t support Micheal Martin after all the personal attacks in the Dail,” the source said.


Gene Kerrigan on Coalition of FF or FG With Sinn Féin

FF/FG-A cartel that puts the Mock in democracy

Sinn Fein isn’t the only party with a past, and as long as it has the votes its mandate cannot be denied, writes Gene Kerrigan Sunday Independent, April 22, 2018

“We all know what’s going on. It’s the pre-election courting ritual(FF and FG rejecting SF), to be followed by the post-election carnal fever. At which point a new political partnership(with SF) will be consummated.——–

it appears the urge to get into office to display its undoubted talents might be too much for Sinn Fein to resist”

It’s entertaining, up to a point, to watch Fine Gael and Fianna Fail dancing around Sinn Fein.

“No way will we even consider accepting them as coalition partners,” say both the major right-wing parties.

And then a Fine Gael minister, Jim Daly, murmured, “Oh, I dunno about that”, or words to that effect.

Daly says SF has a mandate. Others in FG denounce them in the usual terms. Micheal Martin makes it clear he will not allow the pristine record of Fianna Fail be sullied by contact with the unclean Shinners.

We all know what’s going on. It’s the pre-election courting ritual, to be followed by the post-election carnal fever. At which point a new political partnership will be consummated.

And, though it’s a long time since my dancehall days, I seem to recall that one of the stages of courting involves pretending that you’ve no interest whatever in that sort of stuff. FF/FG thereby shore up their own support by loudly claiming to have no interest in the Shinners, hope they won’t need them, and simultaneously cross their fingers behind their backs.

The point at which the FG/FF dance ceases to be entertaining is where Sinn Fein decides to prop up one or other of those failed old parties after the next election.

That would be unfortunate. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

To start, we have to seriously consider this: are the Fianna Failures telling the truth when they scathingly dismiss any possibility of coalition with Sinn Fein?

I know, “Fianna Fail” and “truth” are words that fidget uneasily in the same sentence. Consider the context.

There are two completely separate and distinct periods: before the election and after the election.

Before the election, every single thing you do and say is calculated to increase your vote. Every single thing.

The moment the polls close on election day, your pre-election words melt like snow. Anyone seeking to hold anyone to their word is dismissed as a crank.

“Before the election I was talking about snow. But today there’s a heatwave and it’d be irresponsible to live in the snowy past.”

After the election, it’s all about getting into government.

The classic case is the Greens in 2007. Their leader, Trevor Sargent, promised before the general election that he’d never lead the party into government with FF. After the election he negotiated a coalition deal with FF, then resigned as leader and accepted a position as junior minister in the new government.

He kept his promise: he led the Greens to the point of entering government, but didn’t lead them “into” government. He, and they, just went into government under a new leader.

So, is FF telling the truth? Yes, it’s the truth right up to the moment the polling station doors close. And not a second longer.

Same applies to FG.

But, aren’t the Shinners untouchable, morally impure, unfit for government (except in the North, where we relax our standards)?

Well, the IRA ceasefire was 24 years ago. In comparison, Fine Gael was formed in 1933, from three entities, one of which – the National Guard – was an unashamed fascist outfit.

The official FG line these days is that its first leader was WT Cosgrave. But that’s not true. Its first leader was Eoin O’Duffy, a fascist. (He later led 700 men to Spain, to join the fascist forces in the fight to suppress an elected left-wing government and impose a dictatorship.)

In I948, just 15 years on from those roots, FG was in government. In 1954 it made a junior minister of Oliver Flanagan who in the 1940s spoke approvingly of the Nazis and told the Dail it was time to “rout the Jews out of this country”. Oliver was FG’s kind of guy. This unapologetic anti-semite was made a full minister as late as 1976.

It’s valid to remind FG of its past. It is not valid to describe FG today as fascist – they’re right-wing Christian Democrats, with a sideline in social liberalism.

It’s valid today to point out, as this column has already done, that Sinn Fein continues to drag its past behind it like a corpse. It is not valid, 24 years after the ceasefire, to deny the party’s democratic mandate.

While Jim Daly suggests a possible FG coalition with SF, party grandee Brian Hayes has a conniption at the very thought of the Shinners.

Brian, in Alan Partridge fashion, displays a level of pomposity only seen in those who lack an awareness of their own limitations.

He recently wrote eloquently of the need for “free speech” in political parties. Tell it to Lucinda Creighton and her mates, driven out of FG when they wished to defend views on abortion that differed from those of the leadership.

Brian throws insults around, and says SF will “over time” evolve into an “acceptable” party. Well, that’s not for Fine Gael to say. It’s for the voters.

As it happens, I don’t vote for Sinn Fein. I vote to the left of them – though I’ve once given it a later preference. But, anyone can see that there’s talent there, and the voters have obviously seen something they like.

I derived great amusement from the 2016 general election, when Fine Gael and Labour and Fianna Fail totted up their figures and told us about the “fiscal space”. And Pearse Doherty told them they’d got their figures wrong. And the Department of Finance confirmed that Doherty was right.

(To be fair, FG was wrong by a mere €2bn, out of €8bn.)

In the long term, what’s valuable about Sinn Fein has been that it’s outside the rightwing cartel. For decades, FF and FG passed power back and forth between them. Two halves of the same ideology, their cartel has put the mock into democracy.

One of them takes office, and caters to whichever business sector is prospering at the time.

When voters wise up that these people have interests other than our best welfare, we demand change. And the only change on offer is to swap one wing of the cartel for the other.

In 2016, Labour was demolished by the voters, after years of propping up the cartel. So, FG/FF devised new arrangements – “confidence and supply”. They applied a marketing brand, “the New Politics”. Business as usual.

What mattered most, even more than a share of the State cars for FF, was to preserve the dual nature of the cartel, to ensure its long-term survival.

These are the parties that took a functioning economy and turned it into the Celtic Bubble, enriching their builder and banker friends.

They’re the parties that crashed the economy, and then bailed out their banker and bondholder friends, and sent us the bill marked “austerity”.

They’re the parties that thereby created a lost decade, slowing down recovery. They shackled the economy with fiscal rules that should have been applied to the bubble – not to the recovery period.

One of the primary roles of government has been to ensure that people can afford a roof over their heads. Instead, FG/FF protected land hoarders, corporate landlords, vultures, bankers and the wealthy speculators whose “buy to let” investments drive so many out of the housing market

Their primitive understanding of the role of the State has year after year ensured that more and more people are made homeless.

So, the cartel frets. Can Labour revive, or will they need SF?

Sinn Fein might have played a historic role in ending that cartel, in forcing FG/FF to share government, with liberating consequences down the line.

Instead, it appears the urge to get into office to display its undoubted talents might be too much for Sinn Fein to resist.


Mary Lou Will Discuss SF Coalition With FG

“Sinn Féin’s leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Irish Independent she is willing to enter government talks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar if the numbers stack up.

“After the next election we will talk to people, we will talk to Fine Gael and all others. At that stage you have to assess where the balance of force lies,” she said.

Ms McDonald said there isn’t “a great appetite” in Sinn Féin for doing a deal with either Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, but added: “We are grown-ups and this is grown-up politics.”-IrishIndependent    13/04/2018


Listen to Speech of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh against Entering Leinster House 1986


Fine Gael- Sinn Féin Coalition??-On Today With Sean O’Rourke

“If the Numbers are Right after the next Election, I wouldn’t rule out Leo and Mary Lou eloping together into Government Buildings-Michael O’Regan , Parliamentary  Correspondent, Irish Times on Today With Sean O’Rourke

“We have had Gerry Adams praising Leo Varadkar’s approach to Brexit…

Remember John Bruton ended up in Government with Proinsias De Rossa and Pat Rabitte (who also had histories)”-Michael O’Regan

Log on to Today With Sean O’Rourke RTE 1 Radio April ,12, 2018


How is this for Sinn Féin “Cosying Up” To Fine Gael?

My long-standing Prediction that SF will first enter government in Dublin with Fine Gael is on track. Remember Clann na Poblachta !-Paddy Healy

Gerry Adams: Varadkar brings a ‘better approach’ to the Northern Ireland issues

Irish Independent, Shona Murray April 10 2018 .

Former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams says Leo Varadkar has brought “a better approach” to the issues of Northern Ireland and Brexit, than his predecessor, Enda Kenny.

He (Gerry Adams) said he appreciated Mr Varadkar’s approach as being “in the interests of the entire island”.

He added that there was a “certain irony that the Fine Gael leader has a better position [on Northern Ireland] than the Fianna Fail leader”, Micheal Martin.

Mr Adams is in Queens University Belfast for the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.



“Sinn Féin is “cosying up” To Fine Gael. That’s obvious”-Fianna Fáil Leader Mícheál Martin on the Week in Politics(RTE1)

My Prediction that SF will first enter government in Dublin with Fine Gael is on track-Paddy Healy

Gerry Adams Assures German Newspaper that  Hard Border Will not Bring Back Violence

But Denis Bradley Says: There is not going to be a border in Ireland. To put it crudely, the British army isn’t big enough and the Europeans don’t have an army, so there isn’t a problem. “

Gerry Adams in Der Spiegel

DER SPIEGEL: But there are clearly still a lot of weapons around in the north. And now Brexit is coming. Does it have the potential to torpedo the whole peace process?

Adams: The British government conducted a referendum on Brexit totally ignoring, perhaps oblivious to, the damage it would do to Ireland. The north voted against Brexit. If the English Tories have their way, there will be a hard economic border. That’s going to be totally and absolutely disastrous.

DER SPIEGEL: Would that bring back the violence?

Adams: Your questions suggest that there is a volcano ready to explode. No. The vast, vast majority of people value the peace process. It is in my opinion not under threat. And the way to go forward in the first instance about Brexit is for designated special status for the north. It’s to keep the north within the European Union to avoid economic hardships.

DER SPIEGEL: That would infuriate the Northern Irish unionists upon whose support Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority government depends. And a hard border between the north and the south would be intolerable for the republicans. It’s a Catch 22.

Adams: More important than the republicans or the loyalists is that if the economy is fractured, the ordinary folks are the ones who are going to suffer. In the north and in the south. It won’t affect Theresa May.

DER SPIEGEL: Many people in Northern Ireland say that even the smallest customs hut at the border will be attacked. To protect it, there would be police, which would creat even more targets. It could spiral into a vicious circle.

Adams: Of course, it would be a provocation and there are always dangers. But as someone who has survived 30 years of fighting, I can assure you there will be no return to the past. All that’s done. That’s over. It’s finished with.

Denis Bradley: There will never again be a border in Ireland

“To put it crudely, the British army isn’t big enough and the Europeans don’t have an army, so there isn’t a problem. There is not going to be a border in Ireland.”


Denis Bradley

Irish Times  Monday, October 9, 2017, 01:00

I crossed the oxymoron six times this week and about 10 times last week. It wouldn’t have entered my mind that I was crossing anything, and in the bad old days it certainly would have been called worst things than an oxymoron, but for the last 20 years or so there is no border when you cross the Border.

This famous construct has been at the top of the news in the last few weeks. It is high on the agenda of the Brexit negotiations, and the official line from Europe is that there will be no talk about future trading arrangements between Britain and Europe until there is some clarity on the Border question.

My father would have been intrigued by the prominence of the Border. He drove a bus across it five or six times a day, and on warm summer days when the Derry people wanted to get to the cool of a Donegal beach that would have increased to 12 or 14 journeys.

For those of us who are approaching senility and who have lived near or beside it, the Border has been a pain in the ass for most of our lives

When he retired my brother stepped into that role. Those were the days when the British army erected their posts and asked for name and proof of identity before they let us through to the other side.

The Border is in my DNA. Like thousands of others I can regale any company with stories and happenings that will have them in stitches of laughter. For those of us who are approaching senility and who have lived near or beside it, it has been a pain in the ass for most of our lives.

The talk about the Border is beginning to hot up. The Americans and the cops threw in their two pence worth this last few weeks.

Richard Haass, the American who was once sent to seal a deal between the Northern parties, is saying that we need another referendum, and that the unionist parties are politically stupid to have backed Brexit. He wasn’t the first to say that.

The cops on both sides of the Border had a conference last month, and they sent out a warning that any new border could become an opportunity for “violent dissident republicans and organised gangs involved in cross-Border crimes such as smuggling”.


But the most bizarre has been the insinuation from both the Brits and the Europeans that if there is a visible border it will be the fault of the other side. The Brits saying that they don’t want to see a physical border and the Europeans that the Brits created the problem and it is up to them to come up with a solution.

I think neither side gets it. It is far more simple and uncomplicated. There is never, ever, going to be a border in Irelandagain. It doesn’t matter what either of them say. The Border doesn’t need a solution because it is already solved.

One day, the British army lifted its gear and went home. Most of the people felt a burden lift off their shoulders

Twenty or so years ago the Irish Border disappeared. The old customs posts had long disappeared and then, one day, the British army lifted its gear and went home. Most of the people felt a burden lift off their shoulders – a people who had lived in the shadow of its presence were, for the first time, free of the inconvenience and the scar on the landscape.

Since then they have lived with that freedom, and they have judged it to be right and good, and they have no intention of giving it up.

To put it crudely, the British army isn’t big enough and the Europeans don’t have an army, so there isn’t a problem. There is not going to be a border in Ireland.

The silliest talk of all is about the Irish Government having to police a border in Ireland. It is reported that the Irish revenue and customs people were up looking around them a few months back, identifying possible customs posts. Were they out of their tiny minds? The Irish Government policing a border ever again in this part of Ireland is as big an oxymoron as the Border itself. Any Irish government who tried that on would last about a month in power.

Bandit country

The media, in general, don’t get it either. This isn’t about bandit country or dissident republicans or smugglers. This is about there being a time in the affairs of men; this is about how the water flows when the damn bursts; this is about nature reclaiming disturbed ground.

Even the more enlightened get it wrong. In the midst of a thoughtful and constructive speech recently Bertie Ahern made a reference to the danger of a border being reimposed. That is as far off the mark as you can be. The Brits and the Europeans need to know that the Border is not on the table at all, it is not up for negotiation. As John Cleese would have said, it is a dead parrot.

The negotiators have much work to do and many issues to resolve, and those of us who are Border people wish them well and hope that things will come to the best possible resolution. We are just grateful that we are not in the mix. They will have to find their compromises and resolutions far away from this part of the world.

In the meantime we will reminisce and tell stories to our children and grandchildren of sad, funny and unbelievable things that once happened when we drove up and down the roads. In those days it was called the Border.

Denis Bradley is a journalist and former vice-chairman of the police board for the Police Service of Northern Ireland

© 2018 irishtimes.com


Sinn Féin Gave Way in Negotiations With DUP But Were Then Snubbed by Arlene Foster!

Denis Bradley Irish Times Wednesday, February 21, 2018

“Had it been a football match the result would have been an embarrassment for Sinn Féin.  https://wp.me/pKzXa-tR

At a press conference during the week Mary Lou McDonald read out the content of what Sinn Féin had agreed with the DUP, articulating with confidence and assurance. She could equally have divulged the content with hesitation and embarrassment. Her side had not achieved very much from the negotiations.

Had it been a football match the result would have been an embarrassment for Sinn Féin. Arlene Foster to remain as First Minister – 1 – 0 to the DUP( Despite Cash for Ash-PH). A private member’s Bill to introduce equal marriage – 2-0.(Instead of a joint agreement to legislate) A minimal change to the petition of concern – 3-0. (Mechanism through which Unionist group of parties can block legislation-PH) An Irish language Act parcelled up with an Ulster-Scots and Culture Act – a 1-1 draw.

The continuing stalemate and lack of devolved government leaves the non-unionist section of the population deeply depressed and frustrated”-Denis Bradely,

Denis Bradley is a journalist and former vice-chairman of the police board for the Police Service of Northern Ireland

Full Article   https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/denis-bradley-how-do-you-solve-a-problem-like-unionism-1.3398989


Listen to What Gerry Adams actually said on RTE:The Week in Politics (from 2 minutes in to 6 minutes in) Click below   24/04/2015

RTE NEWS:Sinn Féin open to talking to FG and FF – Adams

Paddy Healy 25/05/2016

The “buts” and the omissions are the most important

He did not say that there are no circumstances in which SF would enter coalition with FF or FG
He said “it is MY view that it would not be in the national interest to return FF or FG to government BUT there are these crises in people’s lives…”

Aine Lalor was mistaken when she said “your last Ard Fheis ruled out coalition with FF or FG” It didn’t. It ruled out a coalition in which FF or FG would be the MAJORITY PARTY. Gerry Adams did not correct the interviewer’s statement

I have been saying since the election that we should wait until after the assembly elections (Thursday week) to discover the full SF position—-Paddy Healy

Extract from interview with Gerry Adams on “The Week in Politics” 24/04/2016

“Would we talk to them(FF and Fine Gael)? The answer to that question is ‘yes’,”

“If in the course of all of that, although it would be very, very challenging, we came up with a Programme for Government which did the business as far as we were concerned, our leadership would consider that and yes, if we thought that was an advance and would help to deal with these issues we have just talked about, including in the centenary year the issue of Irish unity, of course we would have to bring that back to an ard fheis.”

From An Phoblacht

Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil can phone Sinn Féin but republicans won’t prop them up in power

  • Louise O’Reilly TD – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael need to spell out positions on Irish Water



IF ENDA KENNY or Mícheál Martin want to talk to Sinn Féin then they know how to pick up the telephone but Sinn Féin has no mandate to prop up a conservative administration led by Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, Louise O’Reilly TD insisted at the Dáil today.

The newly-elected Fingal deputy also said that both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael need to state very clearly where each of them stands on water charges as rumours abound.

“What we need to hear are unequivocal statements from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on what they intend to do about charges and Irish Water. People need to know.”

A commission to examine a charging regime reportedly being discussed by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is not what people voted for when Fianna Fáil promised in its election manifesto to scrap water charges, she said. She added that the majority of TDs were elected on the basis of opposition to water charges.

A commission should follow the abolition of Irish Water and water charges to establish the best way to safeguard this utility in public ownership under control of the state and provide a safe and efficient delivery system to people, the Sinn Féin TD said.

She accused Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of engaging in a “phoney war” over Irish Water in a bid to show they have differences between them when in fact there are very few.

Louise O’Reilly rejected claims that Sinn Féin has been “sitting on its hands” while Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil wrangle over power.

“We have been actively participating on Dáil reform, we’re the party that has been leading on the issue of homelessness and forced the establishment of an all-party committee, we’re all at work in the Dáil and our constituencies – we haven’t been sitting on our hands.”

Louise O’Reilly denies ‘cover’ by Sinn Féin


Tuesday, April 26, 2016 By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith
Irish Examiner Political Reporter

Sinn Féin has denied claims that it would consider setting up a minority government with Fianna Fáil is a bid to create “cover” for the organisation amid criticism it has done nothing to help end Ireland’s political stalemate.

Newly elected TD Louise O’Reilly strongly rejected the suggestion in her party’s daily media briefing yesterday, saying Sinn Féin has not been “sitting on our hands” for eight weeks and that the only reason it has not taken part in talks is because it has yet to be asked.

Speaking after the party’s ard fheis on Sunday, Mr Adams said he is open to speaking with Fianna Fáil about a programme for government.

Mr Adams’s remarks, which were heavily qualified when he said any deal with Fianna Fáil would be based on Sinn Féin policy and would have to “do the business as far as we are concerned”, have been widely seen as an attempt by the opposition party to stay relevant and deflect criticism that it has done nothing to end the post-election political stalemate.

However, speaking to reporters yesterday, backbench TD Louise O Reilly said the offer, which has not been taken up by Fianna Fáil, is genuine and not an attempt to give her own party political cover.

“We haven’t been sitting on our hands for the last few weeks,” she said.

“We’ve been actively participating in the committee on Dáil reform, on homelessness, we’re all doing constituency work, so we haven’t actually been sitting on our hands. So there’s no cover required.”

Asked why Sinn Féin is open to forming a government now, Ms O’Reilly said her party has always been available to speak to larger parties. That is despite the fact it passed a motion at its 2015 ard fheis to enter talks only if it was the larger party.

Ms O’Reilly said ‘protocol’ of government formation means it is up to Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil to contact Sinn Féin, but that no contact has been made.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

From Paddy Healy  26/04/2016

NOTE That Louise O’Reilly(TD) SF said above:

“Sinn Féin has no mandate to prop up a conservative administration led by Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, Louise O’Reilly TD insisted at the Dáil today.”

If Sinn Fein has no mandate now it could get one from a special Ard-Fheis! Louise did not say “will not”

Does this staement contradict the Adams interview:

Gerry Adams

“Would we talk to them(FF and Fine Gael)? The answer to that question is ‘yes’,”—–

“If in the course of all of that, although it would be very, very challenging, we came up with a Programme for Government which did the business as far as we were concerned, our leadership would consider that and yes, if we thought that was an advance and would help to deal with these issues we have just talked about, including in the centenary year the issue of Irish unity, of course we would have to bring that back to an ard fheis.”

Louise O’Reilly did not say that there are no circumstances in which Sinn Fein will join a coalition government with FF or FG.

Entering Coalition on an agreed programme with FF or FG might not be considered by SF to be the same as “propping up a conservative government”


August 2015

Since I wrote the piece below almost a year ago, Sinn Féin has decided not to go into a coalition government in Dublin unless it is the lead party. This means that it is prepared to go into a coalition with FF or FG provided these parties are in a minority within government. While this is a step forward from the previous position, it is a highly dangerous position for the Irish people as I argue below and in my separate piece on this blog: The Composition of the Next Government

Just because FF or FG are minorities in a Dublin Government does not mean that SF and the left would be able to determine government policy or, in general, “call the shots”. 

 The minority capitalist party would have the full backing of  Irish, European, and American capitalism and their agencies-EU, IMF etc. and the framework of the Fiscal Treaty to legally enforce their will.

FF or FG would paralyse the government and bring it down at a time of their choosing.

The grovelling position of the Labour party in the current coalition is no guide to the behaviour of a capitalist party in a left led coalition

I believe that Sinn Féin should adopt a position of no coalition in principle with FF or FG and the left groups who hold the same position should enter the next election in a progressive alliance with Sinn Féin on that basis.

September  2014

Some years ago, Gerry Adams said that if SF had entered a joint executive with Unionists at Stormont, it would have no difficulty in principle with being in coalition with any party in Dublin.
Since the recent elections, Sinn Féin leaders (Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald, Pearse Doherty) in several interviews have failed to rule out coalition with FF and/or FG in response to direct questions. They have said that abolition of the property tax is a red line issue or precondition for entering a coalition government. In response to further questions they have refused to set out any other red line issue including abolition of water charges, rejection of the Fiscal Treaty, or any particular initiative in relation to Irish Unity
The strongest position taken in public is that of Cllr Eoin Ó Broin who says that Sinn Féin should not enter a coalition in which Sinn Féin was in a minority. Some spokespeople have also said that Sinn Féin would prefer to be in a Sinn Féin-Labour-Left coalition.
The Dublin government is bound by the EU Fiscal Treaty. In the Dáil Caoimhín Ó Caolain on behalf of Sinn Féin has described this as an austerity treaty which flies in the face of the 1916 proclamation in that it is the negation of Irish sovereignty.

Whether Fianna Fáil and/or Fine Gael are the majority or minority party in a coalition, each party will insist on implementing this Treaty.
Why has Sinn Féin not made rejection of this Treaty a red line issue for participation in coalition?

THE Adams statement which inferred that if SF had entered a joint executive with Unionists at Stormont, it would have no difficulty in principle with being in coalition with any party in Dublin is seriously wrong and misleading. It may lead supporters to believe that since participation in the Stormont Executive has done no electoral damage to Sinn Féin support in the six counties, that participation in a coalition government in Dublin would not necessarily damage Sinn Fein support in the south.

The two situations are entirely different.
The northern executive is merely a mechanism for regional administration within the United Kingdom. It is not and it does not purport to be a sovereign government. It is a fact that the majority of northern nationalists have continued to support Sinn Féin as it participates in this body. Indeed Sinn Féin has ousted SDLP as the leading party in Derry in the recent elections.It is my view that northern nationalists see this continued participation as a guarantee against the return of institutionalised discrimination in the allocation of houses, other public services and to lower status in society generally.
The Dublin parliament is a totally different matter.

Despite severe de facto limitations on its actual powers, it is technically a sovereign parliament and is viewed as such and expected to act as such by the population.
There is no threat of a return to domination by a Unionist caste as in the north.
I believe that participation by Sinn Féin in a government in Dublin which did not deliver significant economic gains to the majority of the population and did not make serious progress in enhancing Irish unity and sovereignty would lead to a collapse in electoral support for Sinn Féin. The party would follow the downward road travelled by Clann na Poblachta, The Workers Party and the Labour Party. If Sinn Féin participated in a government which implemented austerity in accordance with the Fiscal Treaty, it would be wiped out.
Ireland is facing a major historical turning point. The decision of Sinn Féin on coalition in Dublin will be central to the outcome.

I believe that the depth of the historical turning point which Ireland is facing in the next two years is being underestimated . Things cannot go on in the old way because the people of the 26 counties will not tolerate increasing austerity for much longer. They have only voted against austerity. The main cohorts have not yet fought through strikes, demonstations etc but this is on the way as it is now becoming widely understood that restraint will not work. The outcome of the recent elections has accelerated this process. I believe that political crisis will be the most intense since the civil war.
I believe that the notion that Sinn Féin will be able to “play a long game” in opposition while retaining coherence is mistaken. Sinn Féin, in its membership and support, contains a number of political components. At one pole are the revolutionary republicans and at the other are the capitulationist pro-capitalists and there are all shades in between, many simply confused.
It is well to recall that all capitulators claim to be “playing a long game”. Collins said we should settle for a “stepping stone” to Irish Freedom . Brendan Corish said he was fighting for socialism “eventually”. McBride said he had first to remove Fianna Fáil patronage in giving out roadwork and to secure the declaration of a 26-county republic.
After the next election, I believe that the 26 county capitalists will not initially allow a Fine Gael- Fianna Fail coalition. This would leave them with no fall- back position as the more populist FF would be wiped out. This will leave no possibility of a government being formed without Sinn Féin. The problem is likely to be addressed in the context of a significant degree of popular mobilisation on economic issues. The class pressures on the political components of Sinn Féin will be massive as they were in the civil war period of 1921 to 1923.
There will be an intense discussion within Sinn Féin. The issue will not be one of tactical stupidity or cleverness. It is the duty of those of us who understand the positive role that revolutionary republicanism can play in the Irish socialist revolution to do what we can to ensure that the revolutionary republicans are victorious. That is why a serious discussion must take place now so that people cannot be fooled.
Simply denouncing Sinn fein in its entirety as some left wing groups do is counter-productive.
ClannNa Poblachta leader Mac Bride told the small farmer and cottier supporters of Clann Na Poblachta that he had to go into coalition with Fine Gael to break the Fianna Fail ganger system of allocating work on the roads. Collins said the Treaty would give us the freedom to win freedom. We must be ready for the “new fangled” excuses. The need to save “the peace process” and to prevent a return to one party unionist administration in the north is likely to be invoked. But there are always unexpected excuses in politics.

Let us do something positive to protect against capitulation. Let us ask Sinn Féin to publicly commit against coalition with Fianna Fáil and/or Fine Gael and to give an undertaking not to implement the Fiscal Treaty which sets aside Irish sovereignty and imposes continued austerity.
The electorate is entitled to know BEFORE the election
If Sinn Féin made such a commitment it would create a new position which would have to be considered by left wing organisations.

What is important is to positively effect what happens in the FUTURE.
Discussion of previous or current mistakes is important in order to learn from them. There are very many genuine people in Sinn Féin andin left wing groups.
There is wide agreement on the left that entry of Sinn Féin or left TDs into coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael would be disastrous for the Irish People.

There are also several “left” TDs who have not ruled out coalition with FF and/or Fine Gael.

I believe that we should focus in the discussion on getting a public undertaking in advance from Sinn Féin and left wing TDs that they will not go into coalition with FF and/or FG after the next election and that they will under no circumstances implement the Fiscal Treaty which flies in the face of the 1916 Proclamation

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 23, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Reblogged this on Socialist Fight and commented:
    useful information here. And I was at the 1986 Sinn Fein Ard Fheish. I thought he finished with, “if you lie down with the dogs you get upo with the fleas”.

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