Saturday 16 December 2017

Sinn Féin missed its chance to usurp Fianna Fáil - now it faces serious challenges south of the Border

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams (centre) with, from left, party TDs Mary Lou McDonald, David Cullinane, Pearse Doherty and Aengus Ó Snodaigh. Many SF figures still find it very difficult to countenance life without Adams at the top Photo: Tom Burke
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams (centre) with, from left, party TDs Mary Lou McDonald, David Cullinane, Pearse Doherty and Aengus Ó Snodaigh. Many SF figures still find it very difficult to countenance life without Adams at the top Photo: Tom Burke
Shane Coleman

Shane Coleman

It's been overshadowed by Fine Gael's woes, but the weekend opinion polls will also have set alarm bells ringing within Sinn Féin.

It's obviously very early days in the new Dáil, but the two polls showed the party at just 13-14pc. Okay, that's still roughly what it got in the General Election. But we know Sinn Féin seriously overperforms in opinion polls relative to its actual performance on election day, so the poll results appear to signal a significant drop in support since the election.

It's hardly surprising. It has been completely outmanoeuvred since the election by a rejuvenated Fianna Fáil. That's reflected in the 16-point lead Fianna Fáil enjoys over Sinn Féin in both polls. Fianna Fáil is the clear leader of the opposition, but is seen by many voters as also calling the shots in Government. It's the best of both worlds, completely over-shadowing Gerry Adams and co.

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