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ireland, irish, ulster, ireland, irish, ulster, Sinn Féin, Irish America

Bring back Direct Rule for summer

(John Coulter, Irish Daily Star)

Suspend Stormont until September to get the North through the marching season and kick-start the Haass peace agenda.

Even the most enthusiastic supporter of the peace process must recognise that the Assembly is in serious trouble and in urgent need of repair.

Gone are the famous 'Chuckle Brothers' days when Paisley senior and McGuinness could settle any crisis with a simple, cordial chat.

Stormont has now descended into a battle a day between Robbo's Dupes and Marty's Shinners.

The only workable solution is suspension with London coming back with temporary Direct Rule to ensure the welfare reform bill is implemented.

The sticking point is that the DUP wants it; the Shinners don't!

Unionists remain puzzled as to why Sinn Féin wants to put the brakes on welfare reform given the benefits it will bring to hundreds of thousands of Northern citizens – and that includes republicans!

Is it a case of the Shinners just being pig-headed and wanting to prove a point?

Maybe the Shinners just want to mark the DUP's cards by letting Robbo's party know Sinn Féin is still an important a cog in the Executive.

The real truth is that Sinn Féin is scared of the impact which agreeing to welfare reform will have on its chances of becoming a Dáil partner in the next coalition government in Dublin.

The Shinners have the North sewn up. If Unionist voter apathy and splits continue, Sinn Féin will be the largest party at Stormont by 2016 and ex-IRA commander Marty will be First Minister.

While the Shinners now stress that the posts of First and Deputy First Minister are equal, you can rest assured if Sinn Féin wins the 2016 Assembly poll, the rules will be changed to ensure that the First Minister's throne is the main seat of power.

Sinn Féin will aim to be in power on both sides of the Irish border by the time republicans are commemorating the centenary of the doomed Easter Rising in two years' time.

To pull off this stunt, it must purge the party of the influence of all ex-IRA jailbirds. Sinn Féin must rebrand itself as a sensible centre Left movement which believes passionately in the concept of 'The Caring Republicans'.

Speaking of 'caring', the Shinners don't give a crap what happens to the election-battered Stoops.

If the European and super council bandwagon can be maintained, Sinn Féin could emerge from next year's Westminster General Election with eight MPs, adding Foyle, South Down and East Derry to its current tally of five.

The Stoops are supporting the Shinners over welfare reform as the former badly needs the latter's transfers to remain a force at Stormont.

Stoops boss Big Al McDonnell may soon be facing a leadership coup after the party's disastrous European outing.

Marty recently met Queen Bess for a private chit-chat. Is a deal underway to get the Shinners to agree an oath wording and their Commons seats?

The DUP and Stoops have representatives who take seats at Stormont and Westminster. With a hung Commons on the cards for 2015, Sinn Féin should be at the heart of the action.

July 1, 2014
________________

This article appeared in the June 30, 2014 edition of the Irish Daily Star.

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