Sinn Féin, Westminster and Brexit


A chara, – Fintan O’Toole’s cunning plan to prevent a hard Brexit (Opinion & Analysis, August 3rd) focused on the onus being placed upon Sinn Féin to resolve such a doomsday scenario, a scenario which has been wholly created by the British government.

It was a totally unrealistic plan, relying on too many variables and requiring long-time political opponents to agree on the complexities of Fintan O’Toole’s proposal, and it took no account of the predictable backlash from within the British parliament.

Bizarrely your editorial (August 3rd) and some members of the Fine Gael party have agreed with O’Toole’s far-fetched plan.

As a result I have come to the conclusion that there is very little understanding of Sinn Féin’s politics, its voters or even its political mandate at your newspaper.

With this in mind I have put together my own suggestion. I am proposing that Fintan O’Toole and all columnists and editorial staff at The Irish Times resign their roles for a period of one month. For that month, Sinn Féin, in agreement with The Irish Times, would appoint temporary replacement journalists who would write opinion pieces from Sinn Féin’s point of view, highlighting the reasons behind political decisions and the reality of politics in the North.

For one month, readers of The Irish Times would see detailed reasoned opinions and editorials focused on Sinn Féin’s politics, the like of which would never have been seen previously in your newspaper.

After a period of one month, all replacement journalists would automatically stand down to allow O’Toole and his colleagues to resume their roles. While I understand this proposal will be a difficult undertaking for The Irish Times, I believe such valiant self-sacrifice will be rewarded with a much more educated readership when it comes to Sinn Féin and Northern politics. – Is mise,



Dublin 14.

Sir, – In the debate about whether or not Sinn Féin can prevent a no-deal Brexit, simply because of its voting strength, surely the real issue is that, unlike Scotland and Wales, the interests of Northern Ireland and, indeed, the Republic, are not represented at Westminster in terms of reasoned political argument. At this time of national crisis, it might be a good idea for a national party like Sinn Féin to ask its voters, North and South, whether their support is now based solely on a century-old policy of abstentionism. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 12.

Sir, – Since taking office, Boris Johnson and his cabinet have done nothing but steer a course for a no-deal Brexit.

Our only hope now is that the sensible moderate Conservatives will be honourable enough to bring down his administration or, by some miracle, Sinn Féin will do something constructive for once and do something for Ireland by taking its seats in Westminster.

I won’t hold my breath. – Yours, etc,