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OPINION – Sinners fail to see blind spots

by Jimmy Rhatigan

Sinn Féin has developed bad habits in recent times.

Woefully weak habits that may destroy the political party unless it distances itself from the horribly weak meanderings  pronto.

Leader Mary Lou McDonald and her fellow Sinners  have had a super cautious approach to politics particularly in Covid times and that has led to a series of own goals that has seen SF topple from top of the polls to a rather wobbly position pre and post county council elections.

The Sinners may not have realized it at the time. In its innocence it continued to walk with extreme caution at a time when the public was sizing it up with a view to supporting the Republican Party in the council, MEP elections and perhaps later in the General Election.

Such was the disgust with the public of FF and FG in particular that it longed to see how Sinn Féin would perform in Government.

The general consensus was that the Sinners were on public trial and sadly for the wanna-bee Government Party it failed the test miserably.

Its lack of action as an Opposition Party had rebounded and bit it on the arse. 

Hence the poor performance of SF in the council elections.

FF, FG and even The Greens had reason to celebrate elections but the Sinners were left to lick their wounds.

The only saving grace may be that they are forewarned before the big one, The General Election.

But can the party recover from a cruel blow in the battle of what I call the small time big shots of Irish politics.

A cagey campaign in the run-up to the council elections in which there was an obvious decision not to rock any boats led to a drop in support for the party and gave the nod to FF, FG and Greens to continue with their obvious plans to continue to court the wealthy and to Hell or to Connacht with the rest of us.

Government was given a carte blanche to give the Government trinity lots of room to do as it felt without any fear of harassment from powder puff Sinn Féin.

For instance for the recent referenda SF was unsure whether to pee or simply jump off the pot. It was non-committal, sitting on a fence. We all know what happened. 

Leo Varadkar and his team was left with egg on its face as it wanted a yes, yes vote but it got a no, no slap in the face from voters and the big SF error of apathy, laziness, call it what you will, was exposed.

The big one was that SF sheepishly made no real attempt to outline its policies on the ‘extra deaths’ in relation to Covid, vaccines etc. That, in my view is the rock that it perished on.

Voters, so often sadly apathetic in our country spotted the weaknesses and SF is now faced by a conundrum as the General Election edges to whenever.

So will Mary Lou be allowed the privilege of more errors, including how many candidates to run in various electoral areas? I suspect she may not.

A call on Government to do the right thing and instigate a proper investigation into the handling of Covid and in particular on why there are so many ‘extra deaths’ during and following Covid would have been real Opposition Party politics.

But alas, in a country where our so-called media has accepted censorship, silence was again golden and once more the Sinners showed a lack of courage and conviction. 

Not a peep, another sad time for Ireland and yet another huge own goal by SF.

It could well be that leader Mary Lou will be thanked for her years and be ‘promoted’ to the upper lounge to be replaced by Pearse Doherty, Melissa O’Neill or a  tandem of both before the General Election campaign is kicked off.

Should the party faithful stay loyal to Mary Lou that may be understandable to some or even many in SF but it may lead to yet another thumbs down to a party that appeared to be headed for Government Benches but is now dithering on a seat, or seats even, of uncertainty. 

Its fate in the battle of the big boys and girls of Irish politics is now in Limbo with the present Government as many people’s favourites to stay in power.

For once our apathetic voters have swung the axe. SF now has gargantuan decisions to make in an attempt to win back the disenchanted and unless it makes the right ones it will be curtains for a party that has a blind spot in its planning department.

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