Sinn Fein have their best Irish election since 1918


Apart from Adams they have the most dynamic young politician in Ireland in Mary Lou McDonald, Deputy Leader, a feisty, committed woman seen as fighting for the little folk, who was described to me as “gold dust on the doorsteps” by a senior Sinn Fein figure.

The party is on the march and these elections once again sound the siren for the eventual path to government in the Republic as well as the North.

There are major issues. As a party of protest they are woefully short of economic insight relying on a dated “soak the rich” approach. They are also straining to keep up with the extraordinary growth in so short a time.

But they keep their eyes on the prize, not just for the local elections but the next two general elections and where they want to be. The discipline and focus is there, just as unrelenting as it was in the peace process. Sinn Fein plays the long game.

Like the old Irish parliamentary Party, the Labour Party appears to be the road kill for this new Sinn Fein juggernaut unless they can muster a dramatic comeback.

Yet the lesson of 1918 should not be forgotten. Sinn Fein never got to exercise that power due to partition, a civil war and splits.

Sinn Fein 2014 will be well aware of the pitfalls and taking nothing for granted.