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Editorial: 'SF's seductive slogans no proof it can bring 'change''

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Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Collins

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Collins

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Collins

A void has to exist to create room for the new. The crash created just such a space; it upended the political landscape, to what extent is rapidly becoming apparent.

The contours of our new political paradigm demand attention. We know the days of single-party government are likely gone.

If opinion polls are correct, we are heading towards a scenario where slightly more than 50pc of voters will not be voting for either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael: a watershed moment.

Sinn Féin, Labour, parties of the left, and Independents are a major force.

Democracy has many faces: all have a place; providing we can see them clearly and no one is hiding behind a mask. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald was on the stumps yesterday, insisting: "It is also clear that the day of Fianna Fáíl and Fine Gael domination of Irish politics is over."

Change is the word of the moment.

Sinn Féin's mandate will be respected. But if it is serious about being in government its stewardship of the economy will be questioned.

It has served up what was viewed by some as the most radical shake-up of State funds in recent history. Political parties tend to pump their promises on steroids mid-election, yet Sinn Féin's appear to be of a different order of magnitude.

They include an eye-popping €12bn in tax cuts through axing the property tax, and the abolition of USC for income under €30,000.

The party speaks of change, that is one hell of a chunk of change, by any reckoning.

Labour too has an ambitious €16bn building plan. All parties will be scrutinised.

Leo Varadkar's Government consistently failed to deal with the housing crisis, or engage with 'Generation Rent' with the degree of urgency required.

It will face a backlash, but anger is a blunt political instrument.

Too many were left out of the picture; parties like Sinn Féin, Labour, and the left have done a fine job pointing this out.

Providing convincing evidence they can do better is a sterner challenge.

There may be a fairer way of managing standards of living and bridging the chasm between the haves, the haves not, and the never hads.

But we have a massive public debt and face tough economic tests. The Confidence and Supply arrangement was far from perfect, but we are in surplus and a hard Border has been avoided.

It might be remembered when someone needed to step up after the 2016 election, Sinn Féin stepped backwards. When things got hot and heavy in Stormont, it also walked away leaving the North in a political vacuum for three years. Sloganising and seductive soundbites are no substitute for performance.

Trust comes after parties have been tested.

True, the established parties have been tried and found to be sometimes wanting; but Sinn Féin has so far managed to talk the talk without having to be tested.

Irish Independent