Newton Emerson: Under what conditions would FF or FG share power with SF?

The Republic has perhaps one more electoral cycle to normalise Mary Lou McDonald’s party

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald addressing a party meeting in Belfast. Photograph: Sinn Féin/PA Wire

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald addressing a party meeting in Belfast. Photograph: Sinn Féin/PA Wire

Before parties could take part in the talks leading to the Belfast Agreement they had to sign up to the Mitchell Principles, named after talks chair Senator George Mitchell. These included commitments to peace and democracy, the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons and an end to so-called punishment beatings and murders. The principles formed the basis of the Stormont Executive’s pledge of office and ministers can be removed for breaching them. The agreement also set up phased, timetabled processes for decommissioning and recognition of policing, alongside the release of terrorist prisoners.

Sinn Féin suffered a minor split over signing the Mitchell Principles and it abstained from the show of hands that voted through the Belfast Agreement.

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