News Elections

Monday 1 September 2014

Sinn Fein makes gains but fails to match massive poll hopes

Sinn Fein

Philip Ryan

Published 26/05/2014 | 02:30

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SINN Fein made strong gains – but when the party's number crunchers analyse the final results, they will realise it failed to live up to its soaring opinion poll figures.

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Sinn Fein was thought to be on course to take a massive 22pc of the vote, but when all the ballots are counted it is more likely it will finish on around 16pc.

Gerry Adams and the Sinn Fein hierarchy will be forced take an analytical look at the weekend's election results.

There is no doubt there has been a shift towards the party, but the majority of voters are still sceptical of Sinn Fein's policies and ethos.

Undoubtedly, Sinn Fein's socialist message provided an alternative for disillusioned Labour voters who felt the party forgot them throughout the economic downturn.

Lower income, urban area voters swung dramatically towards Sinn Fein, and the party even returned councillors in middle-class communities in Dublin.

But still there is a feeling the party failed to fully capitalise on widespread anti-government sentiment.

After initially surging into first place in the Dublin West by-election, Sinn Fein's Paul Donnelly finished in third place behind Fianna Fail's David McGuinness and poll-topper Socialist Party member Ruth Coppinger.

Across the country, Sinn Fein would have hoped to make more of a dent in Fianna Fail's support.

CRASH

But the public seems to be more forgiving of the architects of the financial crash than the party linked to the atrocities of the Troubles.

What disgruntled voters tell polling companies is often very different to how they vote when it comes to crunch.

And the final results of the local election show people are less likely to sway from the established parties when faced with Sinn Fein as an alternative.

However, Sinn Fein has been poised for weeks to secure two seats in the European Parliament, with Lynn Boylan in Dublin and Liadh Ni Riada in Ireland South.

The third candidate, Matt Carthy, may yet struggle to take a seat in Midlands North West – but returning two seats will be seen as a success for the party.

However, it is still a strong performance for Sinn Fein, and the rise of left-wing parties in the Dublin constituency of ministers Leo Varadkar and Joan Burton will worry the coalition partners.

Irish Independent Supplement

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