Sinn Féin is not a conventional democratic party – this is undeniable

Michael McDowell: SF must ditch sway of unelected officials and focus on Dublin

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald: Party could change to become less of a threat to ordinary parliamentary democracy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald: Party could change to become less of a threat to ordinary parliamentary democracy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

That next Saturday’s general election is happening in mid-winter when many people’s finances have yet to recover from the Christmas season, when days are dark and cold, when swathes of the electorate start and end their commute to work in the dark, and spirits are generally low, underlines the folly of those who chose this date.

The public humour on housing, health and the issues of climate change and their personal finances is at a low point in late January. Leo Varadkar passed up any opportunity he had to hold a November election in the afterglow of his Brexit negotiations and before Sinn Féin had a chance to mend their hand by restoring power sharing in Stormont.

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