Newton Emerson: If Sinn Féin is good enough for us, it’s good enough for you

Unionists looking at Dublin do not just want republicans kept out of power

Sinn Féin’s electoral politics: under the Belfast Agreement the party could win every seat in the Dáil and still not circumvent the unionist veto. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Sinn Féin’s electoral politics: under the Belfast Agreement the party could win every seat in the Dáil and still not circumvent the unionist veto. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Sinn Féin’s latest rise in the polls makes its participation in the next Irish government look like a mathematical inevitability. The emerging pattern of Fine Gael objections to this train of thought is worth addressing point by point.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Sinn Féin is “a Eurosceptic, high-tax, sectarian party.” Senator Neale Richmond said Sinn Féin is “not fit for government” as a “hard-left party who haven’t come to terms with their past”. Brian Hayes MEP echoed both comments and asked, “How could an Irish government ever again be seen as even handed in its dealings with Northern parties were Sinn Féin to be in government? Our role as a government being one of the guarantors of the Good Friday agreement would be severely undermined.”

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