Taoiseach Adams ... the first 100 days
If you're thinking of a Sinn Fein protest vote, you should read the manifesto carefully, says Ruth Dudley Edwards
What Gerry Adams had hoped for was the pulverising of Labour and Fianna Fail, leaving a weakened Fine Gael in hock to a few dodgy Independents and Sinn Fein as the main opposition party with a good chance of bringing down the Government within 12 months. What he got was victory - courtesy of young anti-establishment voters like those flocking to Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders - through the huge increase in seats for Independents, the death of Labour, collapse of Fine Gael and beaching of Fianna Fail: only Sinn Fein could form a government on March 10.
Adams's victory tour had included a triumphalist parade from Belfast to Newry headed by old Provos. While he had to choose his words carefully to avoid annoying southern opinion, a press report of shouts of "Fu*k the Free State" added to the "What-have-we-done?" mood down south. Still, on the whole, Martin McGuinness had kept the euphoric Bobby and the boys under control by warning that Sinn Fein had to play it safe until its feet were well and truly under the government table.
For now, before the horse trading started in earnest, there was time privately with a few old comrades for high-fiving about how Gerry's government would turn the "sensitive and inclusive" 1916 commemorative events into a celebration of killing and dying for Ireland from the 12th Century to 1998 and how enjoyable it would be to force those bastards in the gardai and Irish army to participate in a proper freedom fighters' parade. "When it comes to banners, Bobby Sands and Mairead Farrell will be up there with Pearse and the other martyred dead," promised Adams to wild cheers.