Thursday 23 February 2017

Sinn Fein searching for soft coalition partners

Eoghan Harris

Eoghan Harris

Illustration by Jim Cogan
Illustration by Jim Cogan
Mary Lou McDonald with party leader Gerry Adams

By and large I had a good election. At the micro level, apart from Ivan Yates, I was the only pundit to categorically predict Nessa Childers would win a seat. At a macro level, Sinn Fein's success means I am no longer a lone voice crying wolf.

For years I have argued that the combination of a leaky consensus against armed nationalism, and public anger about austerity, would aid the rise of a nationalist-populist party like Sinn Fein. But now that the Sinn Fein wolf is within the fold I believe it offers a better target than when it was hiding in the woods.

First, the scale of Sinn Fein's success poses more problems for the party than a partial breakthrough would have done. From a party of protest they have become a potential partner in government. This is causing the first faint shadows of a future breach between Platonists and pragmatists to fall across the Project.

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