Wednesday 22 March 2017

After strong council gains, SF eyes Dail domination

John Drennan

John Drennan

Mary Lou McDonald has been SF’s star TD. Photo Tom Burke
Mary Lou McDonald has been SF’s star TD. Photo Tom Burke

HAVING swallowed Labour in the council elections, Sinn Fein is now poised to inflict the same fate on both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

On the basis of the latest Millward Brown poll, the former political outcasts of the South are poised to become the largest party in the Dail after the next election.

The ongoing rise of the party to its new rating of 26pc in the poll – meaning it is 6 per cent ahead of both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael who are tied at 20 per cent each.

Significantly, the 16 per cent collapse in the FG vote from 36 per cent means that the civil war parties of FG and FF would not win enough seats to form a government.

The extent of voter alienation from these parties is such that at their current support ratings, FF and FG would struggle to win 60 seats between them.

SF could win 26 per cent and the new national structure of "professional councillors'' would win more than 50 seats.

This set of factors allied to the Green Party-style ongoing annihilation of Labour means that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael would find themselves competing to be Sinn Fein's junior partners.

The strength of support for Independents means, however, that a Sinn Fein, Socialist Party, and Independent coalition cannot be ruled out either.

Sunday Independent

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