Saturday 17 November 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: 'Mary Lou gets in trouble with Sinn Fein's back-room boys'

The disastrous Sinn Fein electoral performance has seriously weakened Mary Lou McDonald, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

UNDER PRESSURE: Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald
UNDER PRESSURE: Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald

So who really runs Sinn Fein? The same people as always, mostly. Despite what seem to be Mary Lou McDonald's occasional attempts to break free of them, those boys from the back room in Sinn Fein's Belfast HQ, Connolly House, ain't going anywhere.

After the fiasco of the presidential election, when she convinced them that Sinn Fein should force an election and would do better than St Martin McGuinness, she's been seriously weakened. Apart from anything else, they'll be mansplaining to her, she should have selected a northerner - as they wanted - instead of a charisma-free southerner, Sinn Fein's new-found progressiveness made no headway with women or the young, and it has cost Sinn Fein €200,000.

The last few weeks have provided more evidence of who - apart from public figures like Gerry Adams and Gerry Kelly - are the SF decision-makers. Last week saw the publication of Adams's The Negotiator's Cookbook - Best Kept Secret of the Irish Peace Process, which, he explains, was written with the help of "culinary master" Ted Howell and "master baker" Padraig Wilson. It can be purchased from the Sinn Fein bookshop in an "Irish Volunteer Apron Bundle".

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