Sunday 17 December 2017

Sinn Fein's continued rise means the other parties should ignore them at their peril

Liadh Ni Riada (far right) with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and MEPs Lynn Boylan and Martina Anderson
Liadh Ni Riada (far right) with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, Mary Lou McDonald and MEPs Lynn Boylan and Martina Anderson
Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

Sinn Fein's weekend conference of elected representatives contemplated coalition options. The outcome, as always, was ambiguity. If you want to believe they'll radicalise politics inside government or adopt a two election growth strategy in opposition, they simultaneously promote both possibilities. They maintain they aren't a protest party, but a party of government. Either way, they are blessed by being underestimated by opponents.

Establishment figures are consistently complacent about electoral threats Sinn Fein pose. They cite how they underperform in electoral contests. They dismiss European and local elections as incompatible with general elections, because economic policies will prevail. Such casual wishful thinking suits Sinn Fein fine.

Only a fool would dismiss the notion that Sinn Fein were the real winners in last month's poll. They selected three unknown Euro candidates: Monaghan councillor Matt Carthy; Liadh Ni Riada; and Lynn Boylan.

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