Friday, 25 May 2012


WE’RE on the road this weekend as the grandees of Sinn Féin and the party faithful gather in Killarney to discuss…well to discuss what is wrong with the world and what they plan to do to put it right.

As (southern) Ireland thinks about whether to vote yes to a treaty or no to a treaty, as Fianna Fáil gets their knickers in a knot about not being anywhere like an effective opposition, all should seem rosy for Sinn Féin at their Ard Fheis.

But, there is the wee thing about being a partitionist party…what! Says you! Shinners as partitionists? Well sort of, they have to deal with the reality of the border as it is, and get on with things, but it’s the economic policy that is causing the confusion.

With Fianna Fáil floundering, Sinn Féin is perceived to be the effective opposition in the Dáil. Just off Merrion Street SF deputies have the opportunity to slam, lambast and tut loudly about cutbacks. In Northern Ireland/Ulster/the Occupied Six Counties they are one of (the many) parties in “Government” and on occasion have to lay the cold dead hand of cuts and closures on public services.

So, how to deal with this dichotomy…well for a start (and we would not wish to put words into their mouths) they could say that Norn Iron’s economy does not require the drastic slash and burn required, because of the failed banks south of the border. Or they could say that they are statesman-like and deal with the political realities, whether they are in Ballymena, Ballyronan or Brussels.

They could also hope that with barely prayers to stave off despair that the Euro doesn’t go belly up over in Greece. Not because of the perilous state that would leave the south’s economy in, but because the British Government might lose billions resulting in more cuts in Norn Iron.

But while they ponder the problems and debate a way forward the chattering masses in Norn Iron want to know…yes want to know who will be the new Junior Minister in the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

With Martina Anderson heading off to assume MEP duties, who will be the new sidekick and/or partner to Jonathan Bell of the DUP…

In the meantime, we’re packing the sandwiches, revising the briefs our clients have given, pouring cool orange juice into flasks and turning the ignition to head off to Killarney!

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