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SF will need to cross democratic red lines

Dan O'Brien


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Reactionary impulses remain alive: Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane, who cried 'up the Ra' after being elected, addresses the media alongside party leader Mary Lou McDonald in Dublin on Monday. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Reactionary impulses remain alive: Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane, who cried 'up the Ra' after being elected, addresses the media alongside party leader Mary Lou McDonald in Dublin on Monday. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Reactionary impulses remain alive: Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane, who cried 'up the Ra' after being elected, addresses the media alongside party leader Mary Lou McDonald in Dublin on Monday. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

As some in Ireland now consider Sinn Féin to be just another political party, most of those involved in politics know differently. Those who see how it operates know it is not a fully democratic party.

It has evolved over the quarter of century since the peace process began, but that evolution has been far too slow - a military culture of top-down control and command continues to pervade the movement, the IRA's army council still exists and it is unclear who is really in charge.

The old reactionary impulses remain alive, as Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane's cries of "up the Ra" last weekend demonstrate, as did his colleague's claim that "we broke the Free State" at the same meeting. Its authoritarian impulses were evident yesterday when Enda Fanning, an ard chomhairle member, tweeted in reaction to a radio show he didn't like that the next government should set up "a proper monitoring authority with powers to prevent such political bias".