Feeney on Sinn Fein strategy

Brian Feeney, author of Sinn Fein: A Hundred Turbulent Years, has a very useful account of the strategy behind the party’s approach to the Westminster elections in the Sunday Herald today.

The unyielding position of the Irish and British governments since the collapse of last year’s deal and revelations about continuing IRA robberies and money laundering has meant that there is no alternative for republicans but to act unilaterally if they want to reopen negotiations towards a final agreement.

While the timing of the statement will undoubtedly help Sinn Fein in the coming election, it is also arranged to allow an IRA response, followed by sufficient months of IRA inactivity for exploratory talks to begin between the two governments in October.

The likelihood that Gerry Adams call for an IRA initiative will produce a response before the election leaves the SDLP with a serious dilemma, as the Sunday Business Post reports:

A dramatic move by the IRA before polling day could also wipe the SDLP from the political stage.Were Sinn Féin chairman Mitchel McLaughlin to win in Foyle, Mark Durkan’s tenure as SDLP leader would probably be at an end.The party would then face serious questions about its future. The IRA army council is giving ‘due consideration’ to Adams’ speech. McLaughlin has said he anticipates a speedy response.






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