Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Red C poll and the challenge for Sinn Féin

Read this letter in An Phoblacht this week and for me it is the crucial challenge for the future of Sinn Féin. We can continue to have great success in the North , but without this being mirrored in the South Sinn Féin will fail to meet its objective of a free, united and just Ireland.


The RedC poll

SINN FÉIN is slipping in the South. The latest RedC poll (showing Sinn Féin down four points to 6%) augurs badly for Sinn Féin at the next general election.

If we keep on with the same hallowed but failed strategy, Sinn Féin will be eclipsed by the Labour Party and no amount of canvassing or leafleting will halt this trend.

We need to come up with a new strategy to appeal to the 26-County electorate. Wishing that Sinn Féin will have seven or more elected TDs is not going to do it – it requires radical action. There is no way that we can expect to increase our Dáil representation through on-the-ground campaigning alone. We must compete at a national level.

There is a widespread view that we are a Northern party – not an all-Ireland party. What we must do is to show the electorate that our public representatives in the South are at the heart of Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin needs to be seen to have a strong Southern leadership. Power can no longer be seen to devolve from the North to the South. We need a new vision of power sharing – within our own party.

I look forward to the publication of this letter and I hope it kick-starts an overdue debate.

In solidarity,



    Perhaps if the party could get off the fence on this issue people might take its leftism seriously.

  2. Here you go Billy.

    Quinn Insurance jobs disaster requires real and sustained Government response – Ó CaoláinApril 30, 2010

    Commenting on the job losses at Quinn Insurance and the wider implications for employment and for the economy, Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:

    “The announcement of the loss of 900 jobs in Quinn Insurance is a devastating blow to the workers and their families and to the communities which depend so much on those jobs.

    “The implications for the local and regional economy in the Border counties, in Blanchardstown and in Navan are extremely serious.

    “For the past number of weeks I have been working closely with the employees and management team of Quinn Insurance and with fellow elected representatives of all parties, and on both sides of the Border, in a sustained and determined effort to save jobs. It is deeply regrettable that despite our efforts the situation has developed where today 900 workers face redundancy.

    “It is also extremely frustrating that the reopening to Quinn Insurance of the motor insurance market in the Six Counties and Britain came after such a protracted period of uncertainty, entailing major financial losses during the period since it was closed. The question arises as to whether this reopening could have been brought about earlier and if more jobs could have been saved.

    “This jobs disaster is so devastating because the Border region is so dependent on the Quinn group for employment. No region should have to depend so much on one employer or one group of companies for so much of its employment. For that situation successive Irish governments must be held responsible, given their disgraceful neglect of the Border region which for decades they have failed to develop in terms of inward investment and targeted assistance for indigenous enterprise.

    “The absence of proper regulation has also played its part in this jobs disaster; its presence may well have helped to ensure that Quinn Insurance and the wider Quinn Group had a sounder financial position and that jobs were in place on a stable basis.

    “This jobs disaster now requires a real and sustained Government response. Every effort must be made to rejuvenate this business where possible, to retain existing jobs in Quinn insurance and the Quinn group and to take targeted action to sustain existing jobs and to create new jobs in the wider economy in the Border region. Meaningless and token task forces are unacceptable. Real investment and real strategies are required, with a hands-on approach by the State and all its relevant agencies

  3. I'd suggest that a socialist party might have a bit more to say about the insane gambling of Sean Quinn and his links with Anglo, the fact that the company is completely non-union and that the 'workers' spokespeople are all actually management. As mentioned before Sean Crowe's speech on this differed greatly from the view put forward by the party in the border region.

  4. how can you have two leaderships. what happens when one disagrees with the other, who wins.

    gerry adams is the stongest asset SF have. bring adams gilmore and kenny in to any town or village in ireland what ever people might say they won't say gerry who, they might with the other two.

    the labour party are not just saying they'll be in the next government there saying they'll lead it. there nailing there colours to the mast, that may or may not come to pass but thats what people are picking up on.

    SF realisticly can't come out and say the same thing (or maybe, labour seem to have got away with it)but what they can nail there colours is tradition folk memory, SF are rebels the people who take on giants, no fear, see the bigger picture, the myths that national myths irish people have about them selves but in a modern context. sf have the sterotype for it.

    don't be to nice, its ok to be bold. think people want you to be.

  5. This is an ongoing tragedy within SF. SF are not getting the message through to the people and there is no doubt that this is a leadership issue. SF are not always heard on the Radio and TV shows why is that and what are they going to do about it. Is it that that RTE and others don't let them on. I think that this is part of it.

    Maybe people are not confident when speaking on behalf of SF. I could speak about politics all day I live it every day.My Mother reared 12 of us and when you come from something like that you don't forget it you fight however small.

    We have good speakers I have heard them now and again, we must give them support, encourage them.

    I Joined SF some few years ago I am 46 now.I then left it as I was doing a lot for SF in my area and I felt let down by others in what they were not doing. Anyway I have got that out of my system now. I have got involved locally again and I love it, the last few weeks we have been out knocking on doors re the Jobs postcard campaign,but more important than that talking to people on the doorsteps,listening to their struggles. In areas like Deansrath, people waiting on the Council to renovate their homes. In Shancastle One young woman complaining about drug dealing right across the road from her house and how nobody is doing anything about.

    I want to pull down everything that is wrong of this Country of Mine and re build it again..There ca be something better that what we have. SF need to know who they represent and feck the rest. The Labour Party won't do that, Gilmore and co make me sick.

    Yesterday we had a small vigil re Bobby Sands anniversary, I didn't enjoy it thought it besmirched the name of the Hunger Strikers. When you read the writings of Bobby and others it can only inspire you. We can commemorate the Hunger Strikes better than this, We can be the voice of the poor, the marginalised,there are many thousands of people who want to be heard .

    Lets stand up for them, lets invest in SF in the 26. Educate our members. One of the greatest women Ireland produced Marie Drumm said that when the physical war is over then the real war begins. She was right

    I was at St Enda;s today( Patrick Pearse home) and it can only inspire you.

    So Gerry and whoever else, but not just them. All of us especially those in the Capital fight the fight win the other war
    Paul Doran

  6. That statement on the Quinn situation is appalling. Complaining about the regulator preventing the company selling into the British market - is Co'C merely the mouthpiece of the Quinn Group?
    Nothing about how Quinn's have aggressively and successfully prevented trade unions from organising in his workforce. Nothing about how Quinn gambled and lost €900 million on CFDs trying to cream Anglo shares and doubled down to lose €4 billion through buying them in the real. Nothing for those Quinn workers who are keen to organise independently. Instead, CO'C competes with the other reps in acting as a cheerleader for Quinn against the regulator; acting for his profits over the interest of workers and policy-holders.
    Note a word of consideration about nationalising the group to safeguard the jobs and the productive capacity. Why is it that SF can agree to nationalising the banks (as evidenced in its support for the bank bailout) but not support the nationalisation of real, productive industries? Sheepishly chasing after an anti-union oligarch does not wash with left-wing politics.

  7. link to unrepented communist blog. not a bad idea.

    might be over estimateing SF in that an idea like this would need a lot of hype to build it up and a lot of people to live up to the hype, which is easier said than done.

    critisism of post card campaign. is it fair. what are the obsejectives of that campaign, is it to raise public awareness is it to focus anger is it to achieve a change in policy. is it meeting its targets. not all outside critisism is bad. if its made in good spirit should be taken in good spirit, maybe its right maybe not.

  8. That was my point on Quinn: Michelle Gildernew (who I respect) sounded just like a Fianna Failer on the issue. Sean Quinn is to blame for his company's troubles and Sin Fein seems scared to say it.

  9. The contrast in fortune between Michell's victory and that poll blip that it might be were striking indeed.

    Anon of 2 am - I agree two leaderships would be problematic. Further we are faced with the issue that a southern leadership will need to be in an elected position or someone demonstrably electable i.e they have been elected nationally or genuinely have a chance at the next outing. Our struggle aint about electoral politics but elections are a clear demonstration of connection with the voters. So if there is a southern leadership tier then ability to be elected past or present must be key.
    I agree Gerry is an outstanding asset for the party as are many of the leadership - well recognised and respected in the south.

    I agree with being bold. The context has changed and the need to prove our respectability (bad word but cant think of another at the mo) has softened considering the crisis. We can be less parliamentary and more direct especially since we do put out decent solid policy work as well.

    Anon 3.12
    " Nothing about how Quinn gambled and lost €900 million on CFDs trying to cream Anglo shares and doubled down to lose €4 billion through buying them in the real."

    But we know this already and so does everyone on the island. Hammering away at the point is more to polish left wing credentials than to actually achieve anything through connecting with voters. We would only be writing press releases for what we wanted to hear ourselves.

    This neither serves workers' interests nor delivers change nor builds the party into a force for change. Plenty of parties left of us writing press releases for their membership and their couple of hundred voters who deliver nothing but have some deadly radical press releases.
    But so what.

  10. Anon of 9.50 - so what ignore Quinn's anti-union stance? tug on their coattails? What is the party doing aside from wringing their hands as the jobs disappear? All because of a fear of mentioning anything more radical than a united ireland (and that's not radical at all because its about as realistic as the sun falling from the sky). The party are busy issuing press releases on pot-holes but not about the need for socialist change?



    To be honest never heard of this lot. Where are they based.

    Do they actually get any votes from working class people or is it just an online effort with no results to show offline?

    Are they full of sound and fury signifying nothing as Shakespeare said. If so then is it not very silly to compare a proper party with them.

  12. Anon of 9.50pm on May 10th
    Maybe while you're busy serving 'workers interests and delivering change' you might take a look at the draft Public Assemblies Bill published jointly by Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson.
    It seeks to outlaw trade union and community protests against cutbacks and for living conditions. In all honesty, Maggie Thatcher wouldn't have implemented this policy!! Party leadership have agreed that workers and local people opposing cutbacks must apply 37 days ahead of their planned protest! What hope anyone who wants to organise a spontaneous picket, a flash protest or just a community who want to come together to oppose the closure of a school or a day care unit?
    This is a fundamental breach of human rights and lets hope it is successfully challenged in the ECJ if we don't stop it locally.
    Sinn Fein are increasingly siding with repressive state forces against workers and even other republicans across the north. With the scale of the coming cutbacks that SF will be administrating, this will become even more pronounced in the future.
    I don't understand a website who, like SFKL, says that they support theoretical left-wing policies simply ignoring the reality of the right-wing policies being administered by SF Ministers in the north. These include crunching public sector worker's pay, accelerating the use of Private Finance across the public sector, agreeing to a cap on domestic rates bills for the very richest in society (mostly Unionists!!) and agreeing to the wholesale privatisation of public amenities through Strategic 2010 (thankfully only stopped by the collapse in the property market).
    Why don't you discuss these matters?

  13. Féilim Ó hAdhmaillMay 19, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Ruadhán is absolutely right. I don't wish to sound pessimistic but I don't see things changing in the forseeable future.