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Sinn Féin extends its attain to Eire’s South, by Daniel Finn (Le Monde diplomatique


The Northern Eire Meeting election on 5 Might set the seal on a outstanding two years in Sinn Féin’s historical past. It had already turn into the biggest social gathering within the Republic of Eire within the February 2020 common election, shortly earlier than the pandemic hit Europe. Sinn Féin gained the largest vote share and edged previous Superb Gael and Fianna Fáil, the 2 centre-right events which have alternated in energy all through the state’s historical past.

Now Sinn Féin has additionally turn into the main political drive in Northern Eire, overtaking the Democratic Unionist Occasion (DUP). For the primary time since Northern Eire was established a century in the past, a nationalist social gathering has outperformed a unionist one. Underneath the management of two girls — Mary Lou McDonald within the Irish Republic and Michelle O’Neill in Northern Eire, who each joined the social gathering throughout the Nineteen Nineties peace course of — Sinn Féin has modified the face of Irish politics in a approach that appeared inconceivable on the finish of 2019.

To grasp how Sinn Féin obtained to the place it’s at the moment, and the place it could be going subsequent, it’s useful to look again at a second of disaster within the social gathering’s current historical past: the eve of the 2008 monetary crash, when Sinn Féin’s regular progress on either side of the Irish border for the reason that Irish Republican Military (IRA) referred to as a ceasefire in 1994 appeared to have come to a halt.

Within the South, the social gathering had been hoping to make severe beneficial properties on the 2007 common election so it might impose itself as a (needed) coalition associate for Fianna Fáil. As a substitute, it misplaced one among its 5 current seats. Noel Whelan, a conservative columnist for the Irish Occasions, introduced the failure of Sinn Féin’s technique within the South: ‘Whereas in Northern Eire, Sinn Féin is now a catch-all social gathering dominant on the nationalist aspect, within the Republic it has been, and it now seems will proceed to be, a distinct segment social gathering on the far-left, ardent republican finish of the spectrum’.

North of the border

North of the border, 2007 (…)

Full article: 2 523 phrases.

(1Noel Whelan, ‘Predicting election end result a precarious endeavour’, The Irish Occasions, Dublin, 2 June 2007.

(2Kevin Bean, The New Politics of Sinn Féin, Liverpool College Press, 2007.

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