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Northern Invasion

Political journalist and Revolutionary Unionist Dr John Coulter outlines how the Shinners could hold the balance of power in the South after next year's expected Dail elections when he predicts the party could pick up about 15 seats.


Dr John Coulter • 28 October 2006

Move your big Northern guns into the South – that's how the Shinners will stand any chance of notching up between a dozen to 15 seats in 2007's Dail elections.

One of the latest significant opinion polls in the Republic has Bertie Ahern's Fianna Fail coalition with the Progressive Democrats at 46 per cent.

The same poll has the so-called Rainbow Coalition of Fine Gael, Labour, the Greens and Independents also at a combined total of 46 per cent. The Sinn Fein tally at this point is 8 per cent – potentially enough to guarantee Ahern another term if he dumped the PD's in favour of the Shinners.

And changing the Shinners' choice of nominee for Northern Deputy First Minister from Martin McGuinness to the 'squeaky clean' – in Provo terms – Mitchel McLaughlin will surely wipe the eye of the Paisley camp over the allegiance oath on policing – as well as win additional middle class Catholic voters in the South.

Then again, if the Shinners do swear an oath to support law and order, the cops and the Policing Board, why not go the whole hog and take the oath of allegiance at Westminster and take their five Commons seats?

If the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, the SDLP, as well as the anti-monarchists and republicans within Labour can take their seats, why can't Sinn Fein take the politically moral step and take a Commons oath? It would fend off criticism the republican party is being hypocritical for taking Commons expenses, but not its seats.

However, the problem with McGuinness as Deputy nominee at Stormont is not his skills as a Sinn Fein negotiator, but that he was once the self-confessed second in command of the Provos in Derry. Then there's all the as yet unproven and unfounded allegations of the Mid Ulster MP being a British agent like the former – and now murdered – Sinn Fein Stormont chief Denis Donaldson.

In Unionists eyes, McLaughlin has no track records with the IRA. In Sinn Fein eyes, where does this senior Shinner go now that SDLP boss Mark Durkan has firmly secured the Foyle Westminster seat – especially if the SDLP does the smart thing and merges with Fianna Fail?

There's been a lot of gossip – especially in dissident republican circles – that South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane – another 'squeaky clean' Shinner – could also be a replacement nominee for McGuinness.

But that would leave a massive gap in South Down where Ruane has been building a fairly impressive power base waiting for SDLP stalwart Eddie McGrady to retire.

Once Auld Eddie hands in his political chips, the Commons seat is bound to slip into the Shinners' paws just as Connor Murphy snatched neighbouring Newry and Armagh when former SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon retired.

Mind you, don't rule out the bold Connor as a dark horse nominee for Deputy should the Sinn Fein leadership decide to 'retire' Martin from the race to save the St Andrews Agreement.

But the last thing the Shinners want is to fight two elections on the island next year – the Dail General Election and an Assembly election. That would prove an enormous drain on Sinn Fein's funds.

The Shinners have five Dail seats, but apart from parachuting MEP Mary Lou McDonald into Dublin Central, the party badly needs the use of some Northern cannons to even pass the 10-seat mark, let alone chalk up 15.

With 15 seats, the Shinners could be in a strong bargaining position to negotiate with Taioseach Ahern about forming a coalition government with Fianna Fail, and persuading Bertie to dump the Progressive Democrats.

Assuming the five existing Sinn Fein TD's all hold their seats, it would be logical to send the following Westminster MPs into battle – McGuinness in Donegal South West; Pat Doherty into Sligo/Leitrim,

Murphy into Tipperary North; Michelle Gildernew into Tipperary South, and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams into Galway West.

The remaining five seats would come from Southern locals. As well as McDonald in Dublin Central, my dosh would be on Padraig MacLochlainn in Donegal North East; Sean McManus in Sligo/Leitrim; Jonathan O'Brien in Cork North Central, and Gerry Murray in Mayo.



  1. Caoimhghin O Caolain TD, Cavan/Monaghan;
  2. Arthur Morgan TD, Louth;
  3. Aengus O Snodaigh TD, Dublin South Central;
  4. Sean Crowe TD, Dublin South West;
  5. Martin Ferris TD, Kerry;
  6. Padraig MacLochlainn, Donegal county councillor and Buncrana Town councillor in Donegal North East;
  7. Martin McGuinness MP MLA, Donegal South West;
  8. Mary Lou McDonald MEP, Dublin Central;
  9. Sean McManus, Sligo Borough councillor in Sligo/Leitrim;
  10. Pat Doherty MP MLA in Sligo/Leitrim;
  11. Conor Murphy MP MLA in Tipperary North;
  12. Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, Tipperary South;
  13. Gerry Adams MP MLA, Galway West;
  14. Jonathan O'Brien, councillor, Cork North Central;
  15. Gerry Murray, councillor, Mayo.





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Index: Current Articles

30 October 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Granny Josie
Anthony McIntyre

Guardians of Perjury
Martin Galvin

Writing on the Wall
John Kennedy

The Litmus Test of Republicanism
Charlie Clarke

Monkey Business
Anthony McIntyre

Northern Invasion
Dr John Coulter

Eamon McGuire: The Life of an Undercover IRA Activist
William Hughes

Deal Will Underline Delusions
David Adams

Blood in the Water
Dr John Coulter

Muslims = Terrorists
M. Shahid Alam

Nothing Could Be More Offensive!
Maryam Namazie

25 October 2006

From Up the Ra to Up the Rozzers
Anthony McIntyre

Just Say No
Martin Galvin

Whither Irish Republicanism
Mick Hall

The Three Stooges
John Kennedy

Jockeying For Position
Dr John Coulter

An Irish Agreement
Liam O Comain

Up the Garden Path
John Kennedy

A Gaelic Experiement
Nathan Dowds

Preventing Prejudice
Anthony McIntyre



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