Éamon Ó Cuív – Republican Dissident?

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin in government together? Something surely to send the Seoníní elite at the Irish and Sunday Independent newspapers into a bug-eyed frenzy of outrage and opposition to a new “Pan-Republican Front”. Yet here is Éamon Ó Cuív in the Oirish Mail on Sunday:

“Éamon Ó Cuív has called for Fianna Fáil to consider coalition with Sinn Féin in a move that would reunite the parties split by his grandfather, Éamon de Valera.”

Did Éamon de Valera split the revolutionary era Sinn Féin? I thought it was the Pro-Treaty faction who split from Sinn Féin and formed Cumann na nGaedheal, the forerunner of Fine Gael, in 1923? Oh well. History and journalism in Ireland doesn’t really go together. Er, Irish history that is.

“Mr Ó Cuív insisted that Sinn Féin’s recent history would not be a problem, declaring: ‘They’d be as acceptable as were the Workers’ Party, which now runs the Labour Party.

‘They have a bit of history and one of them is Tánaiste now,’ he said, referring to Éamon Gilmore’s past as a Republican Clubs [Official Sinn Féin/Official IRA] and Workers’ Party member before Democratic Left merged with Labour.

However, Mr Ó Cuív acknowledged that there would be major ideological and policy differences.

Asked if a coalition with Labour remained a possibility, Mr Ó Cuív was dismissive.

‘I don’t think Fianna Fáil are compatible with Labour at all. The one time we were in with them it didn’t last long. I don’t think we’re compatible with Fine Gael either,’ he said.

‘What’s the difference between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin when it comes down to it – except that it took them 70 years to recognise the Dáil? We’re both republican parties and we both come from the same stable.’

Fianna Fáil has 19 seats in the Dáil and Sinn Féin has 14. The Fine Gael-Labour Government has an overwhelming majority.

However, Sinn Féin surged in the most recent polls – to 21% – on the back of its opposition to the water and household charges and the coming referendum.”

Flag flying by Ó Cuív on behalf of the few Republican dissidents left in a political party that has all but divested itself of any pretence of Republicanism? Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin in coalition? Unlikely (and given the ferocity of Micheál Martin’s continued – and increasingly anti-historical – attacks on SF he certainly believes so) but a breakaway faction of FF under Éamon Ó Cuív?

Or is Ó Cuív lining himself up for a tilt at the leadership of Fianna Fáil itself, with an appeal to grassroots that are considerably greener than the party’s elected representatives? He seems to have a vision for the future of FF; and its not just one of crude survival and precious little else.

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2 comments

  1. Is it just me, or were there rumblings about a group of disaffected FFers forming a breakaway party around the time of the last Lisbon referendum?

    1. I think there were vague grassroots rumblings before Lisbon II about the party “going against the people” but very much a minority. Too many had their snouts grubbing in the trough to risk turning it over – even if it was rotting from the inside out.

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