Sinn Féin and government
Sir, – Since last February’s election, Sinn Féin spokespersons have frequently, and usually at considerable length, waxed indignant about their “exclusion” from the process of Government formation by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
Sinn Féin’s own attempt failed for lack of sufficient support. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil stuck to their pre-election undertakings not to enter coalition with Sinn Féin, decisions which Sinn Féin criticises. Yet Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland makes a virtue of sticking to its pre-election pledge not to take seats in Westminster. What makes Sinn Féin pre-election pledges more sacred than those of other parties? Sinn Féin complaints about the “domination” of politics in the Republic by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael for the last century ring rather hollow when we recall that the the Sinn Féin policy of abstentionism ended only in 1986, so that we (perhaps luckily) have no means of judging how that party might have performed in government. – Yours, etc,