Saturday, May 30, 2009

why Sinn Féin supporters should vote labour, Green and Socialist Party

This is an article written by Eoin O Broin and published in this weeks An Phoblacht. I agree with its ideas, but living in Dublin I would certainly add the Socialist Party to the list of candidates Sinn Féin supporters should vote for.

Voting for a Left alternative

THERE are nine days left. Seats will be won or lost on the basis of what each of us do and say in the remaining days of the campaign. Every vote is crucial. Including transfers.

For Sinn Féin, securing transfers is vital if we are to make breakthroughs across the country. Enormous thought and energy will be spent on identifying and securing those preferences.
But what of our transfers? How will we vote after placing our initial preferences for Sinn Féin candidates?

For this writer, it’s very simple. I will vote Sinn Féin, Labour and Green.

My reasons for doing so are straightforward. I want a Left alternative government.
I want a Left, republican, green alternative in my local council, in Leinster House and, in time, nationally.

I want a Left alternative that promotes job creation, public services, environmental sustainability, social and economic equality and human rights.

In the 26 Counties, this means that Sinn Féin, Labour and the Green Party must form an alliance to break the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael stranglehold on local and central government.

But haven’t Labour ruled out a coalition of the Left? Isn’t Eamon Gilmore positioning himself to enter government with Fine Gael? Surely a vote for Labour is a vote for Fine Gael?

Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is yes.

But, in order to strengthen the hand of those people inside Labour who are arguing for a Left alliance, we have to demonstrate that the numbers stack up. We have to show that a Left alliance is not just politically desirable but numerically possible.

But aren’t the Greens propping up a Fianna Fáil government? Haven’t Green TDs supported cuts to vital public services and bail-outs for developers and bankers? Did they not pass two Budgets that punished young people, pensioners and those with special needs?

Yes, and the electorate will punish them for all of these decisions.

The Green Party is not the problem; Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are. Building a Left alternative in the 26 Counties will require the involvement of the Green Party, their policies and those people who vote for them. Our objective should not be to punish them but to detach them from Fianna Fáil and engage them in our alternative.
Despite knowing that neither Labour nor the Greens are currently interested in building a Left alliance, I will vote for them anyway.

Some on the Left find it easier to dismiss both Labour and the Greens. But, as always, disunity on the Left benefits only Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
Our job must be to build the Left republican alternative we believe in. It is not enough just to make the political arguments. We have to win them, with other political parties, trade unions, civic society and, crucially, the public.

As with any process of political change, someone has to take the lead. Should it surprise any of us that that someone is Sinn Féin?

Friday, May 29, 2009


I received this article as a comment, to a previous article, on going into coalition with Fine Gael. However, I felt it was good enough to post as a separate piece. I must confess that the view put forward here is certainly one I would support. Please note that I have edited the article slightly, so if the original poster wishes to make changes then please let me know.


How should I respond to the previous post on this site - Fine Gael Sinn Fein Coalition Options? That article put forward the case for Sinn Féin and Fine Gael to consider the benefits of going into coalition. Well, I feel the arguments against such a move have already been made when members of the Labour Party argued against election pacts, and such like, with Fine Gael. One of the main thinkers in opposing such a link up was Mick O’Reilly. I personally would say that Mick O’Reilly put together an argument, which I think, should be the basis of any left wing party’s attitude to coalition with Fine Gael. Mick is a trade union official with UNITE and a member of the labour party. He articulates the politics of the 26 county state best in his summary of the history of the Irish state as being a “one policy state” as opposed to a “one party state”.

He points out that since 1932 every government has been FF for 2 or 3 terms followed by FG lab followed by FF getting back in for 2 3 terms etc etc etc.

In looking at the make up of these two types of government he points out they are basically the same. He argues Fianna Fáil is historically a party made up of a coalition of a number of different socio-economic groups, labourers, trades men, farmers, solicitors etc

The internal coalition within Fianna Fail is matched by the Fine Gael/ labour coalition. Namely the middle upper class nature of Fine Gael and the working class/middle class nature of labour.

This is not an exact match but roughly speaking that would be how the support base of the 3 main parties breaks down. The consequence is that the two power blocks draw support from a wide cross section of society and in trying to satisfy the broad coalitions they represent, they only ever adopt centrist policies. The dominance of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in these two power blocks means that Irish politics has therefore never been able to escape the civil war divide. These factors have therefore combined and prevented a left right split from forming in the politics of the 26 counties.

Mick O’Reilly argued that the way to break this one policy cycle is for the labour party to simply say no and refuse point blank to go in to government with FG. The idea is that FG will always need labour to get in to government. Therefore if labour say no to FG, then they will eventually stop being viewed as a potential party of government.

In the shot term this may mean a jump in support for FF, but in the long-term we can try to create a post centre right v centre right election choice for the electorate by ruling out FG. Sooner or later FF as always will eventually loose an election. This would give Fine Gael its first opportunity to be a party of government with FF and thus hopefully finally killing of civil war politics and creating the first left right divide in Irish politics. Admittedly the Labour Party will be a opposition party in the Dáil, but finally there will be a clear cut left right choice for the electorate. This situation does not automatically mean labour will gain but such a new scenario has the potential for great change.


In post credit crunch Ireland the roles of FF and FG could be reversed. Though FFs base is mixed, and as a result over the long term more robust and less vulnerable, but the theory’s a good one. It’s as relevant to SINN FÉIN as it is/was to labour. Mick’s theory does not appear to have been adhered to in labour, regretfully due to the short term practicalities of electoral politics I presume.

But if people are genuine about creating an alternative then they have to think long term. For SF there’s a hard question in it. The strategy to be in power both sides of the boarder does certainly create a greater opportunity to implement the all Ireland agenda. But as a small left wing party in a FF or FG led government, would we really get the chance? Or would we be squeezed out like other smaller parties before us.

I joined SF with a Brits out mentality but got educated in wider politics, people campaigns and reading classes etc.

For me the very notion of going into government with Fine Gael is wrong. However, this is not because of my gut feeling, but rather I believe that we can make longer-term gains by not doing so. See for me the question is short term gains or long term gains. I’d say hold out but it's easy to say that when it’s not an option this minute. (addition from original author)However, if the party got a chance to imlement the all ireland agrenda, speed up dismantleing the boarder it would be a very tempting option for me. Just like for greens the possibility of implementing a green agenda was extreamly tempting for them. as small parties we will never do it on our own so we need a coalition. We have an ideal coalition in our head but time is passing and what should we do if we only have one offer. Do people marry foor love or for security? We know what they should do but what do they do, though choice.

I hope the leadership is aiming at long term gains and that they will see the merits of the case put forward by Mick O’Reilly. Or is the notion of gaining any form of political power just too attractive for some to resist?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Our shame

I can add nothing to this. In fact I don't want to.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fine gael coalition options. Why labour might best be avoided in favour of Sinn Féin

An article submitted by a SF member supporting coalition with Fine Gael. This is a view I fundamentally disagree with, but it is exactly the kind of open debate that
www. was set up to encourage. Please leave your comments below.

Fine Gael coalition options. Why Labour might be best avoided in favour of Sinn Fein.

Just for idle amusement I though I'd imagine what Enda might be thinking if he had two coalition options necessary to get the majority.

One was labour wins 30 seats and the other was an 11 seat SF and one or two independents.

Assume FG had a stormer for arguments sake.

Enda will be mindful that 30 odd Labour TDs will require a lot of cabinet posts. While a coalition with SF might not be his favourite he will know two things - that SF can and already do work in Govt., and that 10 odd SF TDs will require less cabinet posts than Labour.

But maybe he worries that Labour need to be in so as to avoid FG carrying all the blame for hard choices.

The advantage of having labour on the outside though would be that it would prevent FF from being the main opposition. If FF get 40 odd and Labour have 30 odd then FF can’t really be billed as the opposition. It would do more damage to FF to have Labour outside the govt.

So while FG may not be happiest with the prospects of a SF coalition it would allow them more cabinet seats, it would allow them the prospect of more rewards from any future recovery and most important it would allow them to watch FF wither even further on the opposition benches as Labour became the main opposition. Labour is as serious a threat to FG now as FF and there is no point in boosting Labour further if they want to be the big dog.

For SF it allows them to prove to the southern Irish electorate that they can govern, it ends the transfer repellence issue (although that’s probably gone) and they can prove that they are able to moderate some of FG's more libertarian tendencies. They will also profit from FF being only half the opposition. The risk is Labour solidifies its support but that seems to be happening anyhow. The reward is that SF is in Govt. on the upturn and is seen as standing up for the Irish working class while helping build the economy back up.

Finally as regards negotiations - it ain’t going to be easy for FG with either party so that’s a neutral factor.

For both parties big rewards it seems. And while FG might not be our cup of tea I have to ask are the DUP our cup of tea. FG might be the opposite of what we want. Well you know so are the DUP.

Only be engaging with them can we neutralise and then persuade them. DUP and FG

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


This is an article received from another SF member. If anybody else wished to submit an article please just send it to me as a comment and I will see if I can post it.


The invisible men have been working away in the middle of the night, people of Ireland – there have been reported sightings of gremlins patrolling the country diligently swinging out of poles. And what are these gremlins doing you rightly ask – are they looking out for drug dealers, muggers or even drunk drivers or maybe waiting for visiting aliens?


They are tearing down Sinn Fein election posters!!

Now we know people feel afraid of losing their seats in the elections, but are they so scared that they remove posters and maybe people will think that Sinn Fein are not running any candidates in local and European elections? Are they so afraid that people, angry people, will vote for Sinn Fein, to bring real change to the current government?

Now these gremlins (chose whatever name you feel is appropriate) are being very clever. Not only are they taking down election posters – which is a criminal offence by the way – but they are taking them home with them! Sweet isn’t it? Perhaps it’s because they realise that Sinn Fein is the way to vote and they want to gaze adoringly at the faces of genuine politicians, who have the interests of the people at heart and are not driven by greed. Or maybe they are just being plain devious as by taking away the posters, our dedicated candidates, campaigners and canvassers cannot put them back up again.

But what’s even stranger, is that posters from other parties appear in their place! Is it magic or the work of a witch doctor form Haiti? One wonders who their great leader is to instruct them to act this way.

This does not appear to be a smear campaign, as nobody is saying anything (nothing at all actually, because nobody did it of course) or is it the smell of defeat by other parties that is driving this ridiculous, pathetic grasp at holding their seats.

People are not offended by Sinn Fein posters.

They are offended that their jobs have been lost, their pensions have been wiped out –oops sorry, the enormous pensions of the financial big wigs are still there in full. They are offended that bankers can swindle the country out of millions and don’t get sacked – instead they receive a reward of a hefty bonus along with the pension too of course.

People want a change in government, so changing the poster on a pole won’t diminish their anger or determination to ensure this happens.

Oh, and by the way lads, CCTV is a marvellous thing…

Friday, May 15, 2009

Proud to be a Shinner

Proud to be a Shinner

It is very easy on a blog like this to look only at things in a negative way. However, this is not what this site is meant to be about. For me anyway, this blog is meant to look at things within the party, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Today I’ll look at the good.

I would just like to say that at this time I am very proud to be a shinner and very hopeful for the future of our party. Why you may ask?

Well, to me one of the main strengths of any party is its people and the attitude of the party towards them.

Three reasons I have at this moment to be proud of my connection with SF are the characteristics I see displayed in three different people within the party.

Firstly, I am involved in the election campaign in my area and I have got to know our local candidate very well. In all honestly I could not wish to meet a better man. He works in the care sector, is a family man and genuinely cares for this country and its people. He puts other people first and is in no way involved in an ego trip and I cannot speak highly enough of his wife who supports him in an inspirational manner.

I won’t mention his name because this is not meant to be a “vote for x” exercise, but rather a genuine assessment of a man, his character and the quality of the Sinn Féin candidate in my area. If the party is attracting and selecting people such as him then they are doing something right.

Secondly, I read recently on the Ogra webpage about Ógra Shinn Féin activist Gary McClean who recently spent 3 months as a volunteer worker in Autonomous Rebel Zapatista Territory (Chiapas, Mexico).

For me it is great to see that we have motivated young people involved in Sinn Féin who care enough about world issues to give up their time to work with, and learn from, liberation struggles from other parts of the world.

From reading his article it is clear that he was inspired by what he saw and wishes us to learn from his experience as well.

He wrote
“A movement such as ours has much to learn from the Zapatistas and should be doing everything it can to be a part of this network of international solidarity. We must support the Zapatistas, their cause and their demands, since this also is our cause and these are our demands…”

Once again this says to me Sinn Féin are doing something right in attracting committed young people such as Gary McClean.

Thirdly, I wish to comment on our Dublin South Central election candidate, Shaun Tracey.

I watched him on the Vincent Brown show on TV3 and I was worried about what would happen given that he was up against Lee, the FG candidate with years of Media experience, and White the labour candidate who is a trained barrister.

However, I needn’t to have worried. He handled himself really well and it was great to see that SF had not parachuted in some degree educated, media friendly candidate. What the party did was choose a young vibrant local working class man who is a plumber by trade and a genuine Sinn Fein member who is committed to bringing real improvements to the lives of Dublin people.

In my opinion we need more working class people in the Dáil and I hope it will not be too long before we see Shaun there.

All of these three people in their different roles in the party are an inspiration to me and as I said at the beginning make me proud to be a shinner.

Just hope now three feckers don’t turn up in SF and make me change my opinion!

Friday, May 8, 2009


I would like to know what is going on with our election campaign in the South.

Many Sinn Féin members have been out leafleting and knocking on doors for months now trying to build the Sinn Féin vote in our areas. We have done our best to get the message out locally, but I'm getting the feeling we have no real NATIONAL strategy for victory.

Sinn Féin are clearly not getting the national coverage our policies deserve. Since the beginning of this crisis we have known that the cut and tax policies of this government were a mistake. We knew what the solutions were and we released good documents on how it should be tackled and what the route forward is.

Documents like our Getting Ireland back to work one and our emergency budget submission were excellent.

I also feel we have excellent people standing for election. Mary Lou is working like crazy and the more I see of her the more I respect her hardwork, dedication and analysis. People such as Paul Donnelly, Larry O'Toole and Dessie Eillis are tireless in their work locally and are making progress. The efforts of these people are reflected across the country.

So in my opinion we are saying many of the right things and we have good people saying them.

So why are we not getting masses of people enthusiastically supporting our candidates?

To me the simple answer is;


Why is that?

Well, to me it is clear the media have decided that they will not give much coverage to Sinn Féin. I don't wish here to get into a debate on the reasons for this, but the southern media have never liked republican politics. This means that we will not get much media coverage between now and election day.

But this should be no surprise to anybody and 44 Parnell Square should have known this was going to happen and planned an election campaign accordingly. We need an election campaign that is better than other parties. It needs to be more adventurous, more dynamic and more relevant to real people's lives. We need a campaign that will get people talking about the issues and include Sinn Féin in those discussions.

Instead what have we done?

We've done what everybody else has done. We've got our candidates to smile at a camera and we've spent days sticking up bloody posters of them over over the place.

Don't get me wrong., I like Daithi. he's a great guy with a lovely smile, but come on can we not do better than this? This doesn't make us stand out from the others, it simply shows us to be just like the others.

We should not just conform to what the other parties are doing, we should be different. The media won't let us talk to the people, so let's use our posters. We must not be about smiles and shirts and ties, we must be about issues.

Why is Dublin not covered with posters such as

1) The govt must
Spend to save jobs
Not to keep people
on the dole
To save jobs
Vote Sinn Féin

We said no to Lisbon
We need an MEP who
Vote Mary Lou
Vote Sinn Féin


No to cuts in

Welfare benefit

Vote Sinn Féin


It's not too late for 44 Parnell Square to change the strategy, but it will be soon. If we don't start being more creative in our national campaign we will not make the gains we could have.

In the meantime though there is nothing to stop individual members taking things in their own hands and doing something creative. Go on, do it!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bobby Sands died on 5th may 1981 -

Sometimes extra words are not needed, but Bobby Sands all all of the other fallen must never be forgotten.

The Rhythm Of Time
Bobby Sands
There's an inner thing in every man,
Do you ow this thing my friend?
> It has withstood the blows of a million years,
And will do so to the end.

It was born when time did not exist,
And it grew up out of life,
It cut down evil's strangling vines,
Like a slashing searing knife.

It lit fires when fires were not,
And burnt the mind of man,
Tempering leandened hearts to steel,
From the time that time began.

It wept by the waters of Babylon,
And when all men were a loss,
It screeched in writhing agony,
And it hung bleeding from the Cross.

It died in Rome by lion and sword,
And in defiant cruel array,
When the deathly word was 'Spartacus'
Along the Appian Way.

It marched with Wat the Tyler's poor,
And frightened lord and king,
And it was emblazoned in their deathly stare,
As e'er a living thing.

It smiled in holy innocence,
Before conquistadors of old,
So meek and tame and unaware,
Of the deathly power of gold.

It burst forth through pitiful Paris streets,
And stormed the old Bastille,
And marched upon the serpent's head,
And crushed it 'neath its heel.

It died in blood on Buffalo Plains,
And starved by moons of rain,
Its heart was buried at Wounded Knee,
But it will come to rise again.

It screamed aloud by Kerry lakes,
As it was knelt upon the ground,
And it died in great defiance,
As they coldly shot it down.

It is found in every light of hope,
It knows no bounds nor space
It has risen in red and black and white,
It is there in every race.

It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,
It screams in tyrants' eyes,
It has reached the peak of mountains high,
It comes searing 'cross the skies.

It lights the dark of this prison cell,
It thunders forth its might,
It is 'the undauntable thought',
my friend,
The thought that says 'I'm right!'

Friday, May 1, 2009


OK folks what have you been doing with your weekends this year? Well, if you're like me you've been out every one since January delivering leaflets, knocking on doors and going to fundraisers. OK not every weekend, but it feels that way.

However, now we're told is the time to really get out to work and not just be doing it at weekends, but 7 days a week. Just dropping leaflets is no longer enough and this needs to be replaced by actually knocking on people's doors every single night. We need to disturb people in their homes, who mostly don't want to be disturbed. We have to smile at some people who can be pretty obnoxious. We have to attempt to get our message over again and again and again and again. We have to convince the people to vote Sinn Féin, or do we?

I would like you to ask yourself why you will be out on the doorsteps doing all this work? Why are you giving up time with your family and friends? Why are you doing stuff that most people would never do in a million years? And once you've done that then decide what you will be saying to the people at their doors.

The two main reasons I will be out each night over the next five weeks are:

1) I believe in the value of Irish reunification and the creation of a 32 county republic and I support the only major 32 county political party that is trying to achieve that.

2) I'm not prepared to sit back and wait for the 32 county republic before tackling what is wrong in this country. The working class of the 26 counties are being crucified by Fianna Fáil and people should be able to vote for a party that will fight for the rights of working people now. These rights include the right to a job, the right to decent welfare benefits, the right to a decent health care and education and the right to a decent pension.

For me, at this time, the most important of these reasons is the second. Unemployment in the South has reached 380,000 and increased by over 180,000 in the past year alone. This figure is expected to pass half a million within the next twelve months. The government response is not to try and prevent this catastrophe by fighting to save jobs. No, they choose to attack working people. They failed to protect jobs at SR Techics, Waterford Crystal and Dublin Bus. They fail to have any meaningful policies to help struggling companies get over the crisis without making any of their workers redundant. They cut welfare benefits at Christmas. They tax the workers, whilst allowing the rich to avoid tax. I could go on, but the list is too long. They simply have no real job creation policies! No real job protection policies! No real retraining policies!

So, given the above what am I going to do? Well, I'll do what I think is right. I'll do what I have been doing since Christmas. I will ask people to vote Sinn Féin, but also Labour and Socialist and I'll tell any party official that tries to get me to stop to fxck off!

I will put forward our policies (which are good ones), I'll talk about the qualities of our local candidate and our European one (both really good too) and I'll ask them to vote Sinn Féin. What I will add is that they should also vote for any party that will attempt to tackle the crisis in a positive manner. I will ask them to vote for any party that puts the interests of working people first.

Yes, I know labour and the socialists etc are not perfect, but hey nor are we. However, we are all a lot better that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. This is for me the bottom line. The people of this country cannot afford to be governed by the right wing ideas of the big two parties. The left need to win the argument. we need to convince people there is a way out of the mess created by a free market, deregulated, greed is good economy.

Most of what I hear form Joan Burton I agree with. Most of what I hear from Joe Higgins I agree with. So what if at the moment they don't want anything to do with us. To me the overriding factor must be the interests of the Irish working class.  Therefore, when your speaking with local people consider asking them not just to vote Sinn Féin, but ask them to vote in the interests of all working people.

Ask them to VOTE LEFT whoever that may be.