Sudden Times in Stranorlar
Deaglán de Bréadún
Sinn Fein has received a great boost with its byelection win in Donegal South-West. The other parties are correspondingly deflated: tough business, this politics. Donegal is a great Fianna Fail stronghold. The party had 51% in the last general election. Now it is gone down to 21% but the line was that, under the circumstances, this wasn’t too bad.
Labour got less than 3% in 2007 and has gone up to 9.8% this time. Nevertheless the party will be displeased to have come second to the Independent and former Sinn Feiner, Thomas Pringle.
Fine Gael’s vote went down from 23% to 19% but can take comfort from passing out FF’s candidate on the fourth count.
It was interesting to see the Sinn Fein people at the Stranorlar count cheering their man to the echo – winner of a democratic contest that the Government was obliged to hold by a court case the republicans took under a Constitution and a legal system they once reviled.
A Sinn Fein activist said it was their first Dail seat in Donegal since 1923, and I think he is probably right.
Changed times: sudden times.