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Sinn Fein and The Presidency September 3, 2011

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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So time is marching on towards the Presidential Election. So far we have  Michael D., Mary Davis, Gay Mitchell and Sean Gallagher. David Norris is gone, Fianna Fail wont be fielding a candidate and assorted celebrities have ruled themselves out….. Which leaves us wondering as to the intentions of Sinn Fein.
I haven’t seen any polls which listed a Sinn Fein candidate, although one presumes that Sinn Fein will have conducted some private polling before they make their decision.
So will they take the plunge and field a candidate or sit the election out?

Personally I think they will, it has its pitfalls but with an outside chance of winning the Presidency its a risk worth taking. Not alone that but were a Sinn Fein candidate to outpoll either Mitchell or Higgins that alone would be a victory of sorts.
There have been names bandied about but if they want to win it has to be Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness or possibly even Bairbre de Brún.
Of the three de Brún is the most easily replaceable as she is an MEP. Adams winning would cause a by election in Louth which would probably end in the loss of a Dail seat and also remove him from the Dail. McGuinness is intriguing in that despite his past he is probably more popular than Adams, yet who would replace him in Stormont? (or maybe its the perfect excuse to have him move on and have a new leadership figure emerge)

I’ve heard non Sinn Fein people say that they would vote for Adams as he is ‘Statesman like’ and he has the experience in meeting World leaders and other seemingly important people. Given the scrutiny he has already been put under its unlikely that there’s much left in the closet to come out (although who knows what various intelligence services haven’t released). He was the subject of a good deal of personalised negative campaigning in Louth (examples here and here) yet still topped the poll with over 15,000 votes. In polls his personal rating is always much higher than Sinn Feins rating , so he is likely to garner considerable support from outside the party. That said further details on the Liam Adams case could damage his campaign.

So McGuinness is probably a better bet. Unlike Adams, there’s no questions as to his involvement in the IRA , hes been fairly straight up with what drove him to join the IRA and that he had a role in it. He is popular , comes across well in interviews and has a jocular side that is quite appealing. He has also through the peace process and his role as Deputy First Minister met many dignitaries and world leaders. Indeed the relationship he developed with Ian Paisley illustrates that he able to get on with almost anyone!  There has been far less bile directed at him over the years than Adams. Again who knows what may come out about him in the course  of the Campaign.

Bairbre de Brún would be a risk in that she is relatively unknown in the Republic, however she is a Dublin native. She also has no ‘baggage’ from the Troubles. In eight weeks could she charm an electorate that at the minute isn’t too enthused by the choices facing them on the ballot paper?

I’m sure some polls at the weekend will have a Sinn Fein candidate listed. Anything over 15% would be a good start to build on….

Comments»

1. WorldbyStorm - September 2, 2011

Wow, Bairbre de Brún, there’s a name I hadn’t thought about. I can’t see an SF candidate winning, but, in the absence of an FF candidate… that too is a victory of sorts.

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Ghandi - September 3, 2011

Too late to reply but if their serious it has to be Adams upcoming Ard Fheis will be interesting on this

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WorldbyStorm - September 3, 2011

Very true.

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Jack Jameson - September 3, 2011

Election broadcasting guidelines will preclude any SF Ard Fheis announcement and, besides, the Ard Chomhairle still has to make the official decision, doesn’t it?

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2. Ciarán - September 3, 2011

Niall O’Dowd is recommending Mary Lou for the job.

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WorldbyStorm - September 3, 2011

Hmmm… it’s interesting. I’m always amazed at the antagonism to MLM from some [and well beyond Republicanism too in many cases]. I’ve seen her at community meetings etc and thought she was pretty good, forceful and clear.

Not sure though about whether that aside her profile is high enough for a Presidential bid.

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3. Tomboktu - September 3, 2011

Could a SF candidate get a nomination? Twenty Oireachtas members or four local authorities … don’t see that happening.

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WorldbyStorm - September 3, 2011

Fourteen TDs, 3 Senators. Hmmm… yes, or would Finian and one or two of the others row in behind them? Possibly yes. But I think that’s a fair point, it’s far from a done deal – unless, unless in the fall out from DN there was a deal done with some of the Indos.

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4. Organized Rage - September 3, 2011

“He was the subject of a good deal of personalised negative campaigning in Louth (examples here and here) yet still topped the poll with over 15,000 votes. In polls his personal rating is always much higher than Sinn Feins rating , so he is likely to garner considerable support from outside the party.”

The writer of the above then goes on to all but say another SF candidate would be more popular, which I find weird. Surely the reason the MSM keep attacking Adams is to lessen his popular appeal, yet no matter what they write it often has the opposite effect, as this writer admits.

I am not sure how he knows the ‘fisherman’ would be more popular than Adams, some might claim the good press he gets is more due to his friends and the stance he has taken as first Minister, which has been pretty craven to say the least.

Whatever SF’s decision, they have played this political ball well and have a lot still to gain.

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WorldbyStorm - September 3, 2011

That’s true, they get all the benefit from publicity without actually doing anything yet.

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5. RepublicanSocialist1798 - September 3, 2011

Martin Ferris confirmed that they’d have a candidate in an interview on Radio Kerry. Tbh they probably have gotten three TD’s at this stage if he’d mention it like that. Another thing is he pointedly added Michelle Gildernew’s name to the list of candidates the interviewer mentioned.

As for the TD’s F. McGrath is probably one of them but I’d be hard pressed to think of who else would back a candidate (did hear that either one or both of Tipperary’s most famous bitch breeder and former Trotskyist could back them.)

As for the candidate’s it’ll probably be someone from the border or the north. Still a victory to D.Higgins. His FPV will drop but he’ll get the bulk of transfers, especially from people who wouldn’t have voted if there was no candidate. The objective should be to get above 15% and to beat the two Indepedent FFer’s.

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Jim Monaghan - September 3, 2011

“did hear that either one or both of Tipperary’s most famous bitch breeder and former Trotskyist could back them.)”
Is this a reference to Seamus Healy ? If is a bit insulting.

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RepublicanSocialist1798 - September 3, 2011

Joke. Seriously though I apologize for any offence. Was in poor taste.

The “bitch-breeder” is M.McGrath, not Healy, just to clarify, just in case.

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6. Dr.Nightdub - September 3, 2011

I’m surprised that SF would seriously consider standing a candidate.

If they were really intent on winning, it’d have to be a “name” who’s currently a real political role (such as Adams / McGuinness / de Brun). That real political position would then be traded off for a figurehead position in the Áras. I’m sure, for example, Adams’ political enemies would love to see him a prisoner in the Park, but I doubt he’d be that naieve.

If it was just for the publicity and the result was immaterial, any candidate would do but why incur the cost in time and money when there’s plenty of easier ways to create PR?

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7. CMK - September 3, 2011

Would this time round not be the best possible time for SF to run a candidate, with Adams the obvious choice? Between 2011 and 2018 there are going to be two developments which SF would be crazy not to want to put it’s stamp on. First, the centenary of the Rising; I’m sure SF wouldn’t sniff at the chance to have Adams on the reviewing stand outside the GPO and the centre of attention. Second, we’re due an election in fours years and a half years time, one in which it’s almost certain that SF will breach the 40 seat barrier and, as a consequence, become attractive coalition partners. SF in government and the Park would consolidate their position immeasurably, even though the former would require implementing IMF policy. There’s also the extent to which a SF President could fight an, eh, guerilla war against the current government by referring bills to the Supreme Court etc. Of course, the IMF austerity programme couldn’t be stopped as it’s part of the Finance Bill mechanisms. The capacity to undermine the current government by a president so minded, shouldn’t be underestimated. I’ll think we’ll see a SF candidate and that it will be Adams himself.

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Chet Carter - September 3, 2011

No way will SF hit 40 seats next election. I reckon they will be happy to consolidate with 20-25 seats. If FF implode over the next three years they will look to be the main opposition to Fine Gael as Labour fall to 15 seats. So all to play for if the ULA can move beyond being a coalition of SP and SWP.

What are the odds on a FG/FG coalition after the next election?

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8. shea - September 4, 2011

would refering bills be that much of a gurrilla action, thaught once the supreame court gives the nod it can never be chalanged again? what are the presidents powers exactly, maybe theres something in what your saying.

think the only reason to do it is publicity. theres a platform for a few weeks if they stick up someone with an army background there going to get more publicity, they’ll get slated but so what some people got worse. thing is what they do with publicity that counts. votes for northeners have a go at the e.u etc if they go to win it, someone with a nice smile not a hope theres people out there that vote for candidates on there hostility to them, more chance of winning the lotto than winning the park but they can hijack the platform.

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9. Tawdy - September 4, 2011

I have been told that David Norris is about to re=enter the presidential campaign next week! I do hope this is true.

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rockroots - September 5, 2011

So do I. I think it would be foolish to make any announcement unless/until he was certain of a nomination though. Maybe Sinn Fein will do the honours, after all he looks like the only credible person who could dent the two government candidates at this stage. I suspect wouldn’t win now (as he was on course to do a matter of weeks ago) because of the damage done and mud sticking and all that, but they and FF TDs might enjoy throwing a cat amongst the pigeons.

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ejh - September 5, 2011

You put a cat. You do not throw one.

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rockroots - September 5, 2011

That depends on the putter/thrower. I stand by my poor phrasing!

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10. Sinn Féin And The Labour Party, Head-To-Head « An Sionnach Fionn - September 7, 2011

[…] Sinn Fein and The Presidency (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) Comhroinn (Share):FacebookTwitterMoreLinkedInStumbleUponDiggRedditEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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11. Justin - September 7, 2011

Q: Why has Adams always denied being in the PIRA?

A: Because he wants to be President.

He might let someone else test the waters this time but he will stand next time round.

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shea - September 11, 2011

think in the early days of the peace process talking to terrorists was sort of a big deal. the IRA didn’t get a place at the negotiation table as the IRA.

also the little thing of jail time and concidering mcgeough price and corry not an unreasonable worry.

if he did want to go for president not as if he’d be the first IRA member to run or even get it.

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12. President Mary Lou Or Gildernew? Sinn Féin’s Options « An Sionnach Fionn - September 7, 2011

[…] Hmmm. This makes for some interesting speculating over on Slugger O’Toole, including the claim by the once upon a time would-be candidate Niall O’Dowd that Mary Lou McDonald is the favoured one from amongst the SF ranks. Placing aside O’Dowd’s strong links to Sinn Féin (or is that former strong links?) I think this is still too hard a decision to call. Sinn Féin know they have a good hand to play with and are going to drag this game out for all its worth but it does seem that this weekend’s Ard-Fheis in Belfast may be one line in the sand, with much media anticipation of some announcement one way or another over the race for the Áras. At the moment though it is till very much a guessing game. […]

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13. ADAMS,”A MIO PARERE LO SINN FEIN DOVREBBE SOSTENERE LA NOMINA DI UN CANDIDATO ALLA PRESIDENZA DI IRLANDA” | The Five Demands - September 11, 2011

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14. Mary Davies an Official Candidate for President | Stephen Spillane - September 12, 2011

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15. irishelectionliterature - September 16, 2011

Looks like McGuinness will be the SF candidate. Due to be on Six One News this evening I gather.
Interesting times ahead.

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16. rockroots - September 16, 2011

I still don’t see that there’s a clear way for a SF candidate though. Someone like McGuinness is going to be fairly devisive – who will be the three Oireachtas members to shore up the numbers? McGrath and his pals? Some FF members?

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17. Mark P - September 16, 2011

I doubt if they’d have announced him this late if they were in serious doubt of the numbers. There will of course be lots of whining and gibbering from right wingers about the fact that he used to be a gunman many moons ago. The correct reason to have contempt for him is that he’s spent the much more recent man as a hatchetman for neo-liberalism and as Ireland’s leading privatiser and advocate for PFI/PPP.

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Mark P - September 16, 2011

“…much more recent PAST…”

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WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2011

Ironic if Halligan made up numbers for an SF nominee – no?

But I think you’re completely right Mark P, if they’re putting someone forward they’re going to be certain they can do it.

Interesting to consider who is left for Norris then. I guess Indo TDs and Senators could do it.

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rockroots - September 16, 2011

The reason I ask is that McGrath and his close colleagues hinted yesterday that if Norris got to about 17, they would support him in the interests of democracy (!) so I wonder if he/they have already come to an arrangement to do exactly that for SF instead and were preparing the ground for their announcement. Be intersting to see who middle Ireland gets more offended by: the letter-writing Senator or the ex-IRA member. Perhaps only one will make it to the election.

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WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2011

It’s funny, I thought McGrath was preparing the ground yesterday to do an about turn on Norris, but as you say it must be McGuinness who’ll get his nod. I could see a couple of FFers voting for McGuinness too.

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18. LO SINN FEIN CONFERMA, MARTIN McGUINNESS IN LIZZA PER LE PRESIDENZIALI IN IRLANDA | The Five Demands - September 16, 2011

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