The referendum campaigns for and against the Lisbon Treaty are in full flow in the Republic of Ireland. The Republic is the only member state holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
Sinn Féin have tried to push themselves forward as the leaders of the ‘anti’ coalition – a position that sits well with their positioning as an ‘anti-establishment’ party. The most high profile person in Sinn Féin’s campaign is Mary Lou McDonald, the MEP for Dublin. Some regard her profile as tacit recognition of Gerry Adams’ failure to relate successfully to the southern electorate. In reality the truth is more mundane. She is a sitting MEP who was elected fourth in a constituency where the number of seats are being reduced from 4 to 3 at the European Parliamentary elections next year.
Sinn Féin have struggled to maintain their profile in the Republic since the General Election last year. The party have less speaking rights in the Dáil than they previously had and this, combined with seeming desire by the media largely to ignore ‘the North’ and simply to laud the achievements of Paisley, Ahern et al, have a negative impact Sinn Féin’s profile and it’s opinion poll ratings.