Cahill affair has dented image of party on an inevitable rise

For some advisers the party needs another election cycle before entering government

Gerry Adams TD with from left Mary Lou McDonald TD, MEPs Liadh Ní Riada, Martina Anderson and Lynne Boylan, and  Martin McGuinness. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Gerry Adams TD with from left Mary Lou McDonald TD, MEPs Liadh Ní Riada, Martina Anderson and Lynne Boylan, and Martin McGuinness. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

For reporters based in Leinster House, a routine assignment is to find out what happened at the weekly parliamentary party meetings. These are meetings of TDs and Senators, which are supposed to be private. They are anything but. The upshot is every juicy detail (and it usually involves copious whingeing) finds its way into print.

There is one exception. Sinn Féin holds a weekly meeting involving not only its 17 TDs and Senators but also its 60 or so staff in Leinster House. Yet, nothing escapes. Not enough for a haiku, let alone a 500- word report. It is all hermetically sealed.

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