‘Fianna Fáil & The Provisional IRA’ by Donal Lavery

I’m sure I am not the only person in Ireland who believes that Mr Martin lacks the qualities to be a successful leader of Fianna Fáil. This after all, has been the natural party of government in the south of Ireland for almost a century – only a handful of times has that not been the case. One of the things which troubles Mr Martin is the short-sided nature of his memory, which I will allude to later. During the last General Election to the Dail, he displayed a certain ambiguity at times about a potential coalition with Sinn Fein, playing the proverbial “poker face” with each interview.

Now I believe that a coalition with Fine Gael would be a disaster, for obvious reasons – they care nothing about Irish unity or peace in the North, while possessing monetarist economic policies. But it is my view that inevitably a national unity government between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Fein will emerge when both parties have a similar number of seats. A government which rotates the office of Taoiseach and shares all Ministerial departments fairly. But such an arrangement would only be possible by way of returning to Keynesian economic methods and by efforts regarding the resolution of the Northern question once and for all. Otherwise, it will end up with the larger party absorbing the smaller, whoever that might be.

Such a government, with a Sinn Fein Finance Minister, would be a popular sell to the hearts and expressed needs of the Irish people. Both parties, when they go to the White House for Saint Patrick’s day, commend the vision of Irish-American patriots in waging revolution against the British on the fields of the former colonies across the Atlantic. So surely it isn’t much to ask that Mr Martin acknowledges Irishmen and women who waged revolution on the streets of Belfast and Derry against the very same foe.

After all, it was his party in the 1970’s which tried to arm the IRA while in government. It was members, Senators and TD’s from his party (and even Fine Gael) who provided refuge to Irish men and women on the run, sheltering exiled patriots during the conflict. Remember folks that when Fianna Fáil say they will never go into government with Sinn Fein, Fianna Fáil also stated at one point that they would never take their seats in Dáil Éireann. Indeed, brave men and women within Fianna Fáil, like Sean Lemass, entered the Irish Parliament for the very first time with loaded guns in their coat pockets – fearing the Cosgrave government would stage a coup d’etat with the Free State Army. They never gave up weapons for decades later, even after periods in government.

So if Mr Martin is going to keep raining on the idea of a government that could meet the wishes of the Irish people, then maybe Fianna Fáil need to rain down on Mr Martin. Their former Deputy Leader, Mr O’Cuiv, has already outlined his preference for coalition with Sinn Fein over Fine Gael. Now this current minority government isn’t going to last a full parliamentary term, everyone knows that. But if the arithmetic adds up after the final votes are counted next time, then the question facing Mr Martin is a simple one – A Nation Once Again?



2 Responses to ‘Fianna Fáil & The Provisional IRA’ by Donal Lavery

  1. Mark Petticrew May 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    Fianna Fáil’s problem is that – unlike Clann na Poblachta – Sinn Féin isn’t going away you know, it having made gradual inroads since 1997, before firmly imprinting itself on the Irish political landscape in 2011 with its identifiable brand of left republicanism.

    Undoubtedly, there those within Fianna Fáil who’re hostile to working with Sinn Féin, but such hostility will one day be met by a rich dose of realpolitik, as suggested by Michael O’Regan in a tweet back in February: “Stephen Donnelly U-turn in joining FF not unusual in Irish politics. There will come a day when FG and FF do a deal with SF if numbers ordain”.

    Éamon Ó Cuív’s previous description of the “continuity of the electorate” between Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin is also indicative of the fact that, aside from the idea of dealing with Sinn Féin because they have to, there are Fianna Fáilers that will work with Sinn Féin because they want to, or at least they are that bit more inclined to co-operation with Sinn Féin than they are with Fine Gael.

    Indeed, it is this “continuity” between the two parties which may well lead to a republican coalition of the willing, and one day the creation of an Irish government made up of both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil.

  2. Mark May 12, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

    Frankly, Micheal has done sterling work as Uachtaráin Fianna Fáil since his election (which almost didn’t happen) in 2011.
    His move against the then incumbent, Brian Cowen, a very decent man, saved that party several Dáil seats in the forthcoming general election. Subsequent to this he has built strongly, in the Saor Stat, on their latent support.
    His main attraction for blame, in the Saor Stat media is always the Health Service Executive, located at the bottom of Steven’s Lane across from Heuston Station. This was though a genius move, designed to improve quality of health care by better directing resources to where they were required.
    Problem, as always, feckless, lazy, underworked civil servants.
    In essence, if he can get his underlings to carry out the role they’re paid for, he could make an excellent Taoiseach, and yes, they will willingly go into government with Sinn Féin, they’re already propping up the remnants of one of the most unpopular governments in the history of an Saor Stat.