Time for SF to do the unthinkable?

Keith-M

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Looking at today's election result, one thing is clear. While the parties of the left have generally had a good day, SF are likely to lose their only MEP in this country and will be very lucky to hold the council seats that they won five years ago. This comes at a time when the electorate is looking for any alternative to FF. The very gradual decline seen in the 2007 election now continues and it's hard to see SF ever regaining the momentum that they had up to five years ago.

Is the party tainted for the Republic's electorate by the SF leadership's role in the IRA terrorist campaign, that sullied the name of Ireland for decades? Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the party is likely to top a poll for the first time (thanks in no small part to Unionist apathy). Has the time come for SF to do the unthinkable, and split into two parties? One that can go in Northern Ireland, where the electorate is a lot less squeamish and one that can find a leadership, born and raised in the Republic, with no blood on their hands?
 


factual

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Looking at today's election result, one thing is clear. While the parties of the left have generally had a good day, SF are likely to lose their only MEP in this country and will be very lucky to hold the council seats that they won five years ago. This comes at a time when the electorate is looking for any alternative to FF. The very gradual decline seen in the 2007 election now continues and it's hard to see SF ever regaining the momentum that they had up to five years ago.

Is the party tainted for the Republic's electorate by the SF leadership's role in the IRA terrorist campaign, that sullied the name of Ireland for decades? Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the party is likely to top a poll for the first time (thanks in no small part to Unionist apathy). Has the time come for SF to do the unthinkable, and split into two parties? One that can go in Northern Ireland, where the electorate is a lot less squeamish and one that can find a leadership, born and raised in the Republic, with no blood on their hands?
No.

1. First off, you are too gloomy. Sinn Féin have held up their vote and we have yet to see what the totals are-the exit polls show Sinn Féin growing its vote share from 2004 in each election (Euro and locals). This is an amazing achievement because it means that Sinn Féin has grown its vote share at each and every like for like election in the 26 counties since the 1980s!

2. The issue of the MEP is not yet determined, we will have to wait and see but Mary Lou still stands a good chance-that's an amazing achievement because remember that only a few weeks ago it was assumed by even the most enthusiastic Sinn Féin supporter that the FACT that Dublin constituency had gone from 4 to 3 seats would make the MEP seat impossible to retain.

3. Sinn Fein is not looking for unsustainably fast growth, like the here today gone tomorrow growth of FG. Rather the aim is steady sustainable growth, little by little. Republicans take a long term view.
 
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Halo

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Looking at today's election result, one thing is clear. While the parties of the left have generally had a good day, SF are likely to lose their only MEP in this country and will be very lucky to hold the council seats that they won five years ago. This comes at a time when the electorate is looking for any alternative to FF. The very gradual decline seen in the 2007 election now continues and it's hard to see SF ever regaining the momentum that they had up to five years ago.

Is the party tainted for the Republic's electorate by the SF leadership's role in the IRA terrorist campaign, that sullied the name of Ireland for decades? Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the party is likely to top a poll for the first time (thanks in no small part to Unionist apathy). Has the time come for SF to do the unthinkable, and split into two parties? One that can go in Northern Ireland, where the electorate is a lot less squeamish and one that can find a leadership, born and raised in the Republic, with no blood on their hands?
i dont think its the past. i believe its the lack of good candidates, [ sinn fein will poll better in the euros because of the quality of the candidates] outdated and authoritarian leadership, failure to address mass immigration amongst other things.
Remember there was the likes of frank aiken and many other men that ended up td's that had blood on their hands and not just the ole clean ambush a few tans blood, yet they remained in power for years.
 

midlander12

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About as much chance as Ian Paisley converting to Catholicism. However your point is a valid one - SF is basically seen as a Northern party with a Northern agenda, largely divorced from the everyday realities down South. However the North is their raison d'etre, without it they might as well be a better-funded versi.on of the Labour Party.
 

asset test

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I think those who would never vote SF, will still never vote for them whether they are rebranded as "New SF" in the South or not. Many are still not convinced that paramilitary links have completely ceased, and that associations with criminality no longer exist. The money laundering for the Northern Bank comes to mind and other dodgy goings on on the part of SF/IRA supporters. The continued reluctance of Toireasa Ferris to condemn the Adare murders is a case in point. As long as that ambivalence to violence and murder continues, ordinary voters will avoid them like the plague.
 

Eorna

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i dont think its the past. i believe its the lack of good candidates, [ sinn fein will poll better in the euros because of the quality of the candidates] outdated and authoritarian leadership, failure to address mass immigration amongst other things.
Remember there was the likes of frank aiken and many other men that ended up td's that had blood on their hands and not just the ole clean ambush a few tans blood, yet they remained in power for years.
Remember Cosgrave in the 70's, it didn't do him any harm
 

TheLastPaddy

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I have to say - looking at many of the local counts in - I am surprised how poorly SF did. Take Clare for example - total in the entire council elections 161 votes.
Are you sure? I thought that I heard a report on radio today that some SF candidate in Clare had done very well getting 11% of the vote. I don't recall his name.
 

HughinBandon

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I think those who would never vote SF, will still never vote for them whether they are rebranded as "New SF" in the South or not. Many are still not convinced that paramilitary links have completely ceased, and that associations with criminality no longer exist. The money laundering for the Northern Bank comes to mind and other dodgy goings on on the part of SF/IRA supporters. The continued reluctance of Toireasa Ferris to condemn the Adare murders is a case in point. As long as that ambivalence to violence and murder continues, ordinary voters will avoid them like the plague.
That's about the size of it.
 

JollyRedGiant

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Are you sure? I thought that I heard a report on radio today that some SF candidate in Clare had done very well getting 11% of the vote. I don't recall his name.
Possibly on Ennis Town Council - but not the County Council
Sinn Fein won back a seat on Shannon Town Council they lost when the previous councillor left the party (but this in a town that was populated with people from the North)

Ennis East - no candidate
Ennis West - Sean Hayes 161 votes
Ennistymon - no candidate
Killaloe - no candidate
Kilrush - no candidate
Shannon - no candidate (incredible that they didn't run one here)
 

TradCat

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I think candidate quality has a lot to do with it. Ferris is doing very well. Mary-Lou is in the running and that was always going to be tough with the reduction to three seats

Sinn Fein is slowly bringing people through and they need to keep doing it. Panic is certainly not the answer.

What they should do is face up to the fact that the armed struggle was a mistake and should have been ended years before it was. They should also make sure that we all understand as a fact that Sinn Fein stands alone and that the IRA no longer exists or operates in any way shape or form.
 

Thoreau

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Has the time come for SF to do the unthinkable, and split into two parties?
If you leave aside the hard work of individual candidates on the ground, Sinn Féin has only one selling point: it is the all-Ireland party - the only party with a significant and viable organisation in both jurisdictions.

Take that away, and there would be nothing left to distinguish them. They might as well shut up shop.

But as things are at present, they neatly expose the hypocrisy of those southern parties which claim to working for a united Ireland but which restrict their activities to the 26 counties.
 

HughinBandon

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I think candidate quality has a lot to do with it. Ferris is doing very well. Mary-Lou is in the running and that was always going to be tough with the reduction to three seats

Sinn Fein is slowly bringing people through and they need to keep doing it. Panic is certainly not the answer.

What they should do is face up to the fact that the armed struggle was a mistake and should have been ended years before it was. They should also make sure that we all understand as a fact that Sinn Fein stands alone and that the IRA no longer exists or operates in any way shape or form.
Personally I don't think candidate quality has much to do with the issue at all. I voted for Ferris in the Euros, but only as a protest to Lisbon2 and a distinct lack of alternatives.

I also wouldn't agree that the armed struggle was a mistake. I personally believe in a united Ireland. That it should have ended long before it did and the connections to criminal activity I have to agree with.

The problem for SF is how to prove to the electorate that they are in fact on the straight and narrow.
 

Cato

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But as things are at present, they neatly expose the hypocrisy of those southern parties which claim to working for a united Ireland but which restrict their activities to the 26 counties.
Sad as it may be, but do you ever think that there may be more people north of the border that care about that than south of it? And I'm talking about absolute numbers here.

On a side issue, slightly related to the above; as anti-SF as I am, I believe that MPs elected in the North should be given speaking rights in the Seanad. Currently most on this side of the border know little about the issues in the north, and it only makes the news when something violent happens. There voices, as members of the Irish nation, need to be heard, as a right, in at least the Seanad. It should be open to MPs from both sides to speak.
 

JollyRedGiant

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Sinn Fein is slowly bringing people through and they need to keep doing it.
Who candidates are does not determine political success - adopting the right policies and doing the donkey work on the ground is the key - something I would suggest SF have been off the mark on.

What they should do is face up to the fact that the armed struggle was a mistake and should have been ended years before it was.
this is true - but nothing can get away from the fact that SF is a nationalist party and that territory is a little crowded in this country.
 

TradCat

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I also wouldn't agree that the armed struggle was a mistake. I personally believe in a united Ireland.
So do I but armed struggle won't bring it about. In fairness that's a lot more obvious now than it was in 1970. But we should not pretend that we don't know what we know now.
 

Donegal55

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I think those who would never vote SF, will still never vote for them whether they are rebranded as "New SF" in the South or not. Many are still not convinced that paramilitary links have completely ceased, and that associations with criminality no longer exist. The money laundering for the Northern Bank comes to mind and other dodgy goings on on the part of SF/IRA supporters. The continued reluctance of Toireasa Ferris to condemn the Adare murders is a case in point. As long as that ambivalence to violence and murder continues, ordinary voters will avoid them like the plague.
Should get a prize for clarity of thought with no histrionics: well put.
 

HughinBandon

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So do I but armed struggle won't bring it about.
Of course not, but the armed struggled eventually led to dialogue between the warring factions. Now is the time for politics. That requires a lot more intelligence.
 


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