‘A Sinn Fein/Fianna Fail Coalition: A Nation Once Again?’ by Donal Lavery

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We all know that Enda Kenny is soon to exit the front bench theatre of Free State politics, but this rotten Fine Gael-led Government that seems totally  incapable of stepping up to the challenges facing the population is only on life-support at the benevolence of the establishment-wing of Fianna Fáil. The faded flags of the Civil War have been diluted enough to embrace a status quo consensus of: Keep the Shinners/Left Out!

If truth be told, I’m not an opponent of Fianna Fáil. My grandfather’s brother was an Officer in the Irish Defence Forces and among the proudest moments of his life was being part of the Army bagpipers who played regularly for the Taoiseach – Eamon DeValera. Growing up in Belfast, Sean Lemass and Charlie Haughey (during the Arms Crisis) were my heroes. One relative recalls playing Irish music for a group of pro-Gaddafi Libyans in Dublin, back in the days when Haughey was Taoiseach and Semtex was more common on Irish shores than the fish inhabiting them.

There was always a strong Republican wing within Fianna Fáil, particularly with figures like Neil Blaney, Dr. John O’Connell and Kevin Boland. During the Hunger-Strikes, Sile DeValera and other Fianna Fáil figures were among their strongest supporters in the anti-H Block campaign. Indeed, Gerry Kelly and other republicans told of how they regularly stayed in the homes of many prominent Fianna Fáil and even Fine Gael TD’s – that is revealing, it shows that despite mass censorship and Free State militarism, even those in the Establishment recognised they owed a duty to aid fellow Irish people who were leading the fight against Orange terrorism in the Northern counties of the island.

I don’t advocate Sinn Fein going into government with Fianna Fáil as a minority partner, only to be absorbed by the bigger force therein. But an administration which shares the office of Taoiseach and which comes under the scrutiny of a Sinn Fein Finance Minister, could potentially be quite an attractive arrangement in the hearts and minds of the people on this island. As well as a force for peace and reconciliation in the world. A Government with the will and determination behind it to win a referendum on Irish reunification in the South, and to press the Americans and British Government to facilitate the process in the North. But beyond just that, some key tenets of it therein could be;

– Protection of the environment
– The creation of jobs on an all island basis
– Equality for women and minorities
– A massive house building programme
– Leading peace talks in the Middle East
– An end to poverty
– Complete universal health care

Now I don’t know Mr. Martin, but I do know that he is a Teacher and a father. And the question he needs to ask himself is simple – Are you, as leader of a Republican Party, with those who act as an obstacle to the Republic? Or, do you want your children to open the history books and read that their father was a bridge to the Republic as opposed to its antithesis?

Yes many have toyed with the idea that a Sinn Fein/Labour coalition would be the ideal force for change, but numerically it doesn’t add up – Labour are dying. So let’s get real. Coalition with Fine Gael shouldn’t even be an option – it destroyed Sean McBride and his Clan na Poblachta Party in the 40’s.

I watched a documentary on Fianna Fáil and in it the author and former partner of Bertie Ahern, Cecilia Larkin, confirmed what I have long suspected of the rank and file of that party – that they deem Sinn Fein a much more attractive partner in government than Fine Gael. Why? Because there is a strong emotional and sentimental appeal among Irish people for a government which reflects the ethos and values of 1916.

So when Mr. Martin goes to bed at night he has one central question to ruminate over – surely the Republic that was proclaimed in 1916 isn’t too much to ask for? Surely that demand is a noble price for government? The other thing he really must consider is the fact that if he doesn’t facilitate the course of history by giving the Irish people the government they deserve, then his party and the electorate will confine him and his leadership to history.

Reunification is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be prolonged. In the past, it eluded us then and it escapes us now. So Mr. Martin, wake up to the sobering reality that it is either to be a context of two states on one island; or the course of history at a close. Business as usual, or, a nation once again?

7 Responses to ‘A Sinn Fein/Fianna Fail Coalition: A Nation Once Again?’ by Donal Lavery

  1. paddy maguire October 30, 2016 at 8:02 pm #

    A sinn féin/fianna fail government is enviable, the sooner the better. As a sinn féin supporter I would of course prefer it to be the lead but under the current set of circumstances a strong irish republican influence with governmental authority to pursue irish reunification and the full implementation of good Fri/Hillsborough is essential.

  2. Tony October 30, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

    Fianna Fáil owe us in the north at least that. A nation once again instead of Abandon us once again!

  3. Ryan October 30, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

    I really hope Fianna Fail get a few seats at the 2019 Assembly Elections, I will certainly be voting for them to help them do just that.

    Both SF/FF need to stop this current pandering to the like of the DUP/UUP, its futile and only encourages them to behave the way they do.

    “Reunification is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be prolonged”

    I’m 25 years old, so it should definitely happen within my lifetime but lets make it happen as soon as possible. Its important not to be fooled by the Unionist controlled media who try to paint the picture that very few want Irish Unity, that’s nonsense. As commentator Chris Donnelly said: “I’d bet my house that if a border poll was held 3 years ago or even tomorrow morning, that at least 35% would vote for Irish Unity”. I agree with him 100%.

  4. Brian Patterson October 30, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

    I cannot believe I am reading this. Talk about a dog returning to its vomit! SF had a very narrow escape in the early noughties when they were gagging to get into bed with FF under Bertie, and Gerry’s tongue was hanging out at the prospect of being Tanaiste. Suddenly issues of principle such as use of Shannon for rendition and Shell to Sea took a back seat ..Fortunately for them the FF leadership spurned their advances,or they would be now have been consigned to political oblivion in the 26 Counties at least. Modern FF have little in common with Dev, Lemass and Aiken (who at any rate did little to help or support northern nationalists post partition) Haughey was the first to extradite republicans to the the north’s “justice”system, something even FG feared to do.. Albert Reynolds appointed the late Eddie Haughey, a prominent Catholic Unionist and union basher to the Seanad. Ahern appointed rabid anti-republican neo-liberal revisionist Eoghan Harris to the same talking shop. Micheal Martin officiated at the unveiling, in Co. Cork, of a monument to Francis Drake a British privateer who was responsible for the slaughter of 600 men women and children on Rathlin Island. Do SF really belive he gives a damn about northern nationalists? Much less republicans.

  5. Mark October 31, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    Dia duit ar maidin Donal, ta an la deas anseo leis mise mar sin fein.
    This is a matter, and thank you for raising it, which has exercised mine, and others, minds for nigh upon a decade now. I do know Micheal Martin, a good man, a great leader, who often told me the story of his Daddi, a bus driving boxer whom, on a visit to Belfast to fight the RUC, aka, PSnI, rather than stand for the other anthem found he had to tie his boot laces.
    Micheal’s problem is not the membership of his Party, true and Genuine Republicans, in my wide experience, instead, and I often criticised this element, the ‘political science’ grads, aka, failed to get into law school one’s, which exert huge influence in his, and other’s, Parties.
    Such person’s are wholly detached from the ordinary working woman and man in Cork, Kingscourt, Eascie or Thurles, here people want, and need the return to employment, once promised, undelivered, by FG/ILP, but, in their hearts too they yearn for re unification,.
    My opinion of most of the FF leadership was, they are frightened of upsetting the orange, including SDLP, apple cart in those six Ulster counties, which bear in mind, gave rise to the creation of their Party.
    If, for once, Micheal, et. al could listen to their members, in Tipp. or Armagh, institute the Party policy of reunification through peaceful means, Art. One, Coru & Rialiacha Fianna Fail then, support may continue growing for his Party and they could again become the natural Party of government in the twenty six counties.
    Sorry Ryan, for those reasons above, don’t hold your breath, been there, done that, I hope things change positively but, I hoped I’d get hay made too.

  6. michael c October 31, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

    Micheal Martin is one of the most despicable gombeen men in the Dail and he and his party should be shunned at at all costs.

  7. Mark November 1, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I was sitting, outside a shoe shap waiting on herself a short time past thinkinf of this article by Donal, a thought struck me, what have Enda, leader of the government of the Free State and Alasdair, previous leader of the SDLP which ties them?