Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cllr Forde jumps ship

Like the Government with TDs, Sinn Féin aren't having the best of luck with their councillors on Dublin City Council. Seven councillors were returned for them at the June elections but after this weekend's announcement that Killian Forde from Donaghmede has left the party they are down to four. He has followed in the footsteps of Louise Minihan (Ballyfermot) and Christy Burke (North Inner City). This isn't overly surprising when you consider that Forde was the Councillor who proposed the 2010 budget at the Council meeting before Christmas taking a position contrary to the other SF councillors.

To my mind this is just the latest sign of a continual downward trend of support for SF south of the border. First they lost Mary Lou McDonald as MEP in the Dublin Constituency. Now SF will argue that with the constituency going from four to three seats that they were always going to be the ones to loose out but this not true. With Eoin Ryan losing his seat and Joe Higgins taking one, it shows that there was a leftish, protest vote in the city and SF were not the party to attract it.

The story was the same in the local elections where nationally SF returned exactly the same number of councillors in spite of the continued collapse of the Fianna Fail vote and the gains of other left leaning groups like Labour and PBP. After June's elections, Toireasa Ferris came out and slammed the party leadership as being too Northern focused and that the party was not suitably set up to contest elections south of the border. She demanded a review of operations and priorities in the south but that seems to have been ignored by the Adams/McGuinness power block in the North.

So where to from here for Sinn Féin? If they continue on their current path the are facing a complete meltdown in the Republic. They are being torn between the traditional, 32 county republicans (mainly rural) and the left wing, community activists (mainly urban) and a jump to either one will loose the other to FF or Lab/PBP. While it would go against everything they stand for, they should separate the party into a Northern and Southern section and let someone like Ferris take over down here. If we have another general election with Adams turning up for leaders' debates and McDonald failing again in Dublin Central, then SF are a spent force this side of the border.

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