By all accounts a number of Labour TDs are casting extremely nervous eyes over their shoulders at the Sinn Féin candidates breathing down their necks in a number of constituencies around the country, something which is aptly illustrated by this
free advertisement opinion piece by Labour politico and media darling Anne Ferris published by the Oirish Mirror newspaper:
“I tend to think of Northern Ireland on Fridays. Not because of the Good Friday Agreement, but for the very personal and perhaps selfish reason that on Fridays, for a large part of last year, that the so-called “republican” group eirigi chose to picket the footpath outside my constituency office in Bray, Co Wicklow.
I made it clear to eirigi in no uncertain terms I will not be bullied out of my democratic right to stand before the people of the Wicklow constituency in the next General Election.
The irony, if it could be called that, was that had I been a weaker person and yielded to what I perceived to be threatening demands to vacate my seat, my departure would arguably have been of more benefit to the ambitions of local Sinn Fein than it would have been to any future eirigi candidate for the Dail.
Whether or not they choose to admit it, it may well be a political convenience to Sinn Fein that so-called “republican splinter groups” like eirigi are engaged in the more direct forms of activism, leaving Sinn Fein free to campaign in a the manner of a legitimate democratic party.
…any perception that extreme republican groups are in fact acting as vote-getters for Sinn Fein candidates would be very damaging to a peace process that every right-minded Irish and British person is hoping will succeed.
If Sinn Fein wants to contribute productively to democratic politics in Ireland, North or South, then it needs through actions, words and policies to create a credible distance between its political beliefs and those of republican splinter groups.”
In other words Anne Ferris is desperately searching for a reason, any reason, to persuade a few gullible voters in Wicklow to support her in the next general election and is already lining up some excuses to explain away the possibility of her being kicked out of office (damaging to the peace process? Only in the fervid political imagination of a few Labour Teachtaí Dála). Of course all this, the éirígí protesters and SF’s local electoral challenge, is nothing to do with her membership of a party now widely despised by the Irish electorate or her support for a coalition government inflicting untold misery on the citizens of this republic. No, it is all down to a cabal of Sinn Féin and its biggest rival on the Republican Left, éirígí, conspiring against her.
Yeah, pull the other one, Anne…