Murphy case sits right on the North-South faultline for Sinn Féin and its leader
We can expect to be in the teeth of a general election campaign when Thomas 'Slab' Murphy comes up for sentence on February 12.
Be sure that Sinn Féin's opponents will not miss an opportunity to say: "When you vote Sinn Féin, who will be the real influence on them in Leinster House or even in Government Buildings? Will it be people like Murphy and his associates?"
That is not good news for Sinn Féin, which hopes this coming election will bring a big breakthrough for the party. But the reality is that this case sits right on the faultline of the party's anomalous position in Irish politics and relates directly to the legacy of the "Armalite and the ballot box strategy" which stretches right back to 1981.