A party on the move
The main article in the latest edition of the current affairs magazine Magill is titled `Looking Up - The Rise and Rise of Sinn Féin'. The article reflects the fear felt by establishment parties in Leinster House, who are terrified of the potential generated by republican politics. In the past, blanket state censorship, strong-arm garda harassment, and a genuine fear among people of being affected by the armed conflict in the Six Counties helped keep Sinn Féin in check in the 26 Counties. That is no longer the case.
The Sunday Business Post's political correspondent Mark O'Connell wrote last month that ``local politicians from other parties are fazed by Sinn Féin.
``Officially, they play down the threat they pose at the next general election but privately, they admire their application and are bracing themselves for big changes in the political landscape in many constituencies.''
The Magill article predicts that the party could take between three and five seats in Leinster House at the next general election.
Meanwhile in the Six Counties, the prospect that Sinn Féin will supplant the SDLP as the leading nationalist party sooner rather than later is looking more and more probable.
Throughout this country, Sinn Féin is a party on the move. Delegates to a party internal conference last weekend were irate at the way the peace process has been betrayed by the British government at the behest of unionists, but they are translating that anger into positive energy. These people are going back to their constituencies to lead in their communities by example, to show that republican labour politics work for ordinary people, to make sure that Sinn Féin emerges from this phase of struggle as a larger, stronger party, better placed to achieve its objectives.