Sir, – Pat Leahy provides some very plausible reasons as to why Sinn Féin support in the South has slumped in the context of the latest opinion poll (“Sinn Féin is facing a strategic conundrum”, Analysis, February, 8th). However, when he says that it is not surprising that the political breakthrough in the North has not yielded a “southern political dividend”, it should not be construed that the “politics of Northern Ireland play a limited role” in the South.
Cliff Taylor recently made a strong and detailed argument that the deal to restore power-sharing in NI, by boosting the so-called Stormont Break on EU legislation, has meant that the opportunity has been lost for the NI economy to take advantage of both the UK market and the EU single market (“Northern Ireland has a chance to insulate itself from the madness of Brexit – the DUP deal puts this at risk”, Opinion & Analysis, February 4th).
While the emphasis has been predominantly on the political stance of the DUP, Sinn Féin has been strangely silent on this important issue for the NI economy, as it has been vague and uncertain on many similar policy areas in the Republic. One could be excused for thinking that the prize of First Minister trumped an insistence on the principle that the economic advantages of the Windsor Framework should have remained unaltered.
Voters in the South would have also noted that the first joint initiative from the Sinn Féin/DUP power sharing executive has been a request for even more money from the UK exchequer, on top of the extra £3 billion already promised and the £15 billion annual UK government subvention.
I would suggest that this would have prompted a wake-up call and a reminder to voters here that the eternal and unanswered question remains: “Who will pay for a united Ireland?” – Yours, etc,