"Vote for the amateur bank robbers, not the professionals" is the suggested bumper sticker for Sinn Fein in the upcoming Irish election by Michael White of the Guardian newspaper.

It's tongue in cheek of course, but the IRA involvement in the bank robbery in 2005 that stole $40 million from Northern Bank pales in comparison to the daylight bank robbery of billions stolen by those in charge of the Irish banks or dispensed to cronies.

Sinn Fein has almost doubled its support form 8 per cent to 15 per cent in the latest Irish Times opinion poll, only two points behind Fianna Fail. That is the equivalent of the Communist party overtaking the Democratic Party in support.

Just a few years back Sinn Fein was at about 1 per cent in the Irish Republic, Fianna Fail in or around 50 per cent. Now they are within hailing distance of each other.

In the process Sinn Fein are taking votes in droves from the Labor Party which has lost eight points in the latest Irish Times poll.

The Labor party had a brief vision of being the largest party after the previous poll showed them ahead but the Sinn Fein surge has put paid to that.

But Sinn Fein may fall victims of their own sudden popularity.

It is no secret that the party in the south has poor candidates compared to their Northern counterparts, most of whom were forged in the white hot cauldron of Northern Irish politics.

In contrast, little attention was paid to the south, where few candidates had any opportunity at being elected and thus,few attractive candidates were nurtured.

Consider that Gerry Adams will run from Louth, a safe seat. he should have been running elsewhere to gain a seat rather than holding one.

In 2011 Sinn Fein were primarily focused on the Northern Ireland assembly elections, but now they find themselves with an extraordinary opportunity in the Irish republic.

They may find themselves, however, unable to fully capitalize on it.