Last week, elections for all the local councils and for the European Parliament in both parts of Ireland upended the monopoly of the three establishment parties which have dominated Ireland for nine decades. Sinn Féin made huge, dramatic gains, and is now the largest party in Ireland. This sets the stage for the next national parliamentary elections in the Irish Republic, and portends the end of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition government, the second government in a row to ram murderous EU and Troika austerity down the throats of the Irish people. Sinn Féin made opposition to this austerity their major campaign issue, promising to protect the vulnerable and the interests of Ireland, rather than lying down for the Troika. In the wake of his party being virtually obliterated, Deputy PM Tanaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore resigned as head of the Labour Party. In 2011, Labour’s vote was twice that of Sinn Féin’s, but last week, Sinn Féin’s vote was triple that of Labour.
The jailing and 96-hour interrogation of Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams just three weeks before the elections by the Northern Ireland Police, hoped by some to hurt Sinn Féin at the polls, instead, according to Adams, “may have helped” them in the election. That highly-publicized arrest of the Irish parliamentarian was supposedly to investigate allegations about an IRA murder which took place 42 years ago.
Sinn Féin is known, of course, for its historic fight against British rule and its advocacy of Irish national sovereignty and national reunification. Adams, speaking as the vote totals were being announced, emphasized that last week’s election victory surpassed even its previous high-water mark, the Sinn Féin electoral victory led by Arthur Griffith in 1918. That election was held at the beginning of the Irish war of independence from British rule. Griffith, who in recent times has barely been mentioned in Ireland, was the founder of Sinn Féin in 1905, and had detailed plans for the economic development of Ireland based on the policies of List and Henry Carey. See: “The American Roots of Sinn Féin: The Story of Arthur Griffith”
As a result of this election, Sinn Féin, the only party organized in both the South and in the British-ruled North, is now the largest party in Ireland, including in the North. It will now be the largest party in the city councils of both Dublin and Cork in the Republic, and of both Derry and Belfast in the North. The three establishment parties in the Republic combined, won only half of all local council seats, while Sinn Féin, along with various anti-austerity independent candidates and small leftist parties, won the other half. Sinn Féin’s victory in the European Parliament elections was just as stunning, as they gained representation in all four constituencies, both North and South.