Wednesday , April 14 2021

Ireland election: what does Sinn Féin's victory mean for Irish Americans? – The Guardian,

The victory for the party that backed the IRA during the Troubles was focused on bread-and-butter issues, not a united Ireland

() Sinn Féin’s president, Mary Lou McDonald addresses the media in Dublin, as Sinn Féin’s TD David Cullinane looks on, on Monday. Photograph: Niall Carson / PA

Many Irish Americans supported

Sinn Féin when it was the IRA’s political wing during the Troubles, and then during the peace process That helped shepherd the party into the political mainstream. A generation later, Irish Americans did a role in Sinn Féin’s breakthrough in Ireland’s general election?

No. The party won . 5% of the first-preference vote – almost doubling its share from 2255 – by harnessing voter anger at homelessness, soaring rents and fraying public services. The dream of a united Ireland that animates so many Irish Americans, and the Northern (Ireland) peace process once nurtured by Washington, took a backseat.

The election revolved around bread-and-butter topics – the cost of living, insurance premiums, pension reform. Sinn Féin rode a wave of young voters seeking an alternative to the socio-economic status quo

represented by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, centrist rivals that have taken turns ruling Ireland for almost a century. For such voters Sinn Féin’s backing of the IRA during the Troubles was a long time ago in a land far away.

But stepping back in history, Irish America did hinder, then help, Sinn Féin’s electoral rise. In the s and s, Noraid and other US-based republican front groups provided cash and encouragement to a brutal campaign that made Sinn Féin toxic to Irish voters.

In the s the so-called four horsemen of Irish American political influence, Edward Kennedy, Tip O’Neill, Daniel Moynihan and Hugh Carey, helped persuade Bill Clinton to back the peace process and grant the then Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams a US visa, paving the way for the IRA ceasefire and (Good Friday agreement) . This marked the start of Sinn Féin’s gradual electoral ascent.

So Irish America rehabilitated Gerry Adams?

It certainly helped his transition, in the eyes of many Irish voters, from apologist for atrocity to peacemaker. Sinn Fein’s vote share inched up from 2.6% in to 6.5% in , 6.9% in 2016, 9.9% in and 8 % in . Adams was a savvy strategist but limited the party’s expansion. He had a whiff of sulfur, a Belfast accent and patchy grasp of economics south of the border. His stepping down as leader in , and as a TD (MP) in this election, distanced the shadowy past and let Sinn Féin , under (Mary Lou Mc) Donald , an affable Dubliner, pitch a message of change and economic justice that could have been scripted by Bernie Sanders.


McDonald be the darling of the St Patrick’s day parade in (New York) next month?

Tricky. She caused a stink last year after marching behind a banner reading “ England Get Out Of Ireland . The Irish government and unionists branded it offensive, divisive and an embarrassment. Sinn Féin’s support tumbled and McDonald sort-of-apologized.

Should Irish Americans start a countdown to a united Ireland?

Premature. Sinn Fen wants a referendum on unity within five years. But in Northern Ireland that decision rests with the British secretary of state, who can call it only if a majority for unification appears likely. That prospect looks remote, notwithstanding Brexit. However, if Sinn Féin ends up in government in Dublin – after weeks, possibly months of coalition talks – it could use a citizens’ assembly, policy papers and other ways to put the dream on the political agenda.

(Read More)

About support_2ab8

Check Also

financial district san francisco

Financial District San Francisco, hilton

financial district san francisco , hilton Financial District San Francisco is tourist attraction place it is …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *