So, it turns out that today’s big announcement by Fianna Fáil of its long-heralded expansion into northern politics is less a case of veni, vidi, vici, and more a case of, “I came, I saw, I bottled it”. Far from unveiling a decision to contest future elections in the Six Counties under its own name or by absorbing the regional Social Democratic and Labour Party, as some hoped or expected, the FF leader Micheál Martin and his counterpart in the SDLP, Colum Eastwood, announced a limited and deliberately vague “partnership” between both parties. One which will keep the Soldiers of Destiny out of the north-east for the foreseeable future. The downbeat nature of the Belfast press conference attended by a handful of TDanna and MLAs from the two organisations was reflected in the lack of stage dressing, with a couple of branded lecterns in front of a brick wall providing the only bit of colour.
Yet again, Fianna Fáil has shown its political cowardice when it comes to recognising the rights and wishes of Irish voters in the north-east of the country, highlighting the directionless mess it has become under the leadership of Micheál Martin. While some in the party will hail the new partnership as a sensibly cautious and incremental approach to moving north, others will see it as just plain embarrassing, an example of small vision politics by a small vision politician.
Meanwhile, via The Irish Times:
Queen’s University Belfast gets a Young Fine Gael branch
Former minister’s son wants to see party run candidates in North within 10 years
(Photo via @oconnellhugh)