‘Sinn Féin hasn’t had this strength since 1918’ – Gerry Adams
Interesting times in Ireland again. Time to truly leave “Civil war politics“ in the South and move on?
On Friday it was the local and European elections in Ireland, Sinn Féin have scored massively in local elections, especially in the cities. They are set to be the largest party in Belfast, Dublin, Derry, Cork city councils. The mixed bag of independents and small parties also scored hugely. Sinn Fein are an island wide party, not the only one, as People Before Profit also are island wide and took seats.
The established political system has been given a massive shake up, with ex TD Joe Higgins on RTE radio calling it nothing short of a “democratic revolution for change”. Present Irish Fine Gael minister, Leo Varadkar went as far as saying he could see Sinn Féin leading the next government, something considered impossible only five years ago. No one was expecting such a sea change, who knows what it might lead to further down the line?
Going back to 1918, we remember what huge changes came from little sparks. As it is not the first time that there has been a huge surge in support for Sinn Fein. Soon after the failed rebellion of 1916, after executions and imprisonment of many Irish rebels, the party grew massively all over the island. They formed their own illegal government and fought a war for Irish freedom, the results of which were the half win of a partitioned island that led to a bloody civil war and the party’s demise. But the world took note; a small island nation stood up to the greatest empire the world had ever seen, the took them on and they forced change. Sinn Fein have done it before, might this weekend be the first step in another chapter in that story?