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

Shinners all set to rock the vote

(John Coulter, Irish Daily Star)

Former Sinn Féin leader Eamon de Valera must be spinning in his grave with laughter at the thought of his party laying the foundations for another 1918 election landslide.

Yes, you read correct. I said 1918. World War One had just ended the previous month and the United Kingdom went from war footing to election mode.

Sinn Féin was only 13 years old and the Irish Volunteers had really screwed up their Rising of two years previous.

Ireland was one nation under the British Empire and had 105 seats in the Westminster House of Commons.

De Valera survived 1916's executions and arrests which propelled Sinn Féin from the butt of Dublin Catholic venom in 1916 to the largest political movement in Ireland two years later.

That 1918 election saw Sinn Féin capture a massive 47% of the entire vote across the island, giving it 73 of those 105 seats.

Until then, Irish nationalism was represented for decades by the Irish Parliamentary Party, but 1918 saw it all but wiped.

The British and Irish governments have created another de Valera with the arrest, questioning and release of Sinn Féin president and Louth TD Gerry Adams.

A sympathy vote for Adams could see the Shinners winning seats they could only dream about last month.

When Sinn Féin entered the Stormont power-sharing Executive with Paisley's DUP in 2007, it must have realised the Northern Assembly would be a very unstable institution.

Maybe the Shinners were reading the Bible, and the 'Good Book's' warning about what happens to those who build their homes on sand, rather than on solid rock?

A united Ireland will not be achieved through victory at Stormont; it will be brought about by being part of a Dáil government.

Look at the Scottish lesson. Scottish nationalists did not gain their referendum on independence by winning seats in London.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond's SNP is one step away from quitting the Union by winning seats – and becoming the majority party – in the Scottish devolved government in Edinburgh.

Likewise, Martin McGuinness becoming First Minister at Stormont in 2016 with Sinn Féin as the largest Assembly party will not guarantee Irish unity.

Sinn Féin must win Dáil seats. The Adams arrest could well position the party to at least becoming a minority government partner in the next Dail.

That could never happen, you sneer! Leinster House currently has a Right-wing Fine Gael coalition with a Left-wing Labour partner.

In Britain, the Tories share power with the Liberal Democrats, so why not a Fianna Fáil/Sinn Féin coalition as the next Dail, with Adams – or Mary Lou – as Tanaiste?

But the scars of the Irish Civil War in the 1920s run deep. There are many nationalists across Ireland who never want the Shinners to be in power again, especially in the South.

For this brand of Southern nationalism, it's all very well Sinn Féin winning Stormont and Westminster seats. This makes Sinn Féin a Brit problem!

But when the TDs start stacking up in Leinster House, the alarm bells begin ringing and the ghosts of 1918 return to haunt Irish politics.

If the Irish and Brit grey suits thought attacking Adams would derail the Shinners, they badly misfired long-term.

If Alex Salmond can lead the SNP from the political fringes to government at Holyrood, Adams can take Sinn Féin to becoming the majority partner in a Dáil coalition.

In the meantime, Marty McG must become Stormont First Minister and the Shinners need to take their Commons seats.

What will block Irish unity are the Tories and UKIP merging with Nigel Farage as Prime Minister! Don't laugh, English politics is the art of the totally weird!

May 13, 2014

This article appeared in the May 12, 2014 edition of the Irish Daily Star.



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