Well that was an experience. I always said I could do more from the outside than being an elected representative and until there are enough change makers within government that remains my stance. I wrote a piece about the election from a personal perspective which is in the Clare Champion newspaper this week so I will post it here next week.
Ireland is now at the stage where the elected representatives must try to form a government based on those elected. We had a massive upset to the status quo when the two parties that have dominated government for around 100 years were not poll toppers. Many of the outgoing ministers including the Taoiseach did not top the poll in their area and had to wait while others were elected ahead of them. Meanwhile members of Sinn Fein (Irish for ourselves) passed the quota to get elected at the first count. Sinn Fein received the largest portion of first preference votes.
This is monumental. There has been a massive vote from the electorate that they want change. This was very evident at the doors as I canvassed and is indicative of the growing discontent over the past decade. Unfortunately Sinn Fein have links to the troubles in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republican Army who are responsible for many atrocities. They were on one side of the troubles with many atrocities coming from the other side. There has since been a commitment to peace. Can we believe that the peace process was a fresh start?
I hate everything that preceded it but given the state of Ireland and the world, I am willing to take a leap of faith and offer Sinn Fein this opportunity to prove themselves. That seems to be the position of 25% of the electorate too. My views on Sinn Fein. I share their socialist vision. Housing and healthcare for all. They purport to value everyone in society. However their commitment to climate & biodiversity has been very poor throughout the campaign. Forming an alliance with parties strong on those issues such as People Before Profit and the Green Party could rectify that.
My main concern with SF started back in Laois when I spoke with their representative in 2012 about climate change. He said SF were committed to climate action for all 32 counties. Unity was the priority. Unfortunately we do not have time to delay on climate & biodiversity. My only wish is that SF would realise that there is nothing to unite if we don’t address the environmental destruction.
My leap of faith in their ability to govern will be a major fail if they can’t show that they get our current trajectory towards ecological collapse. In collaboration with other progressive parties there is scope for a well rounded programme for government that addresses the social and environmental crises immediately with unity further down the agenda. Surely they deserve the opportunity to prove themselves?
What has disappointed me most is the absolute opposition to collaboration with Sinn Fein. Locally and nationally. To me this proves that there is a long way to go before we have true change makers in government. To really change we need a new kind of politics. People who chose collaboration. We need a more socialist view. Something James Connolly envisioned which is captured in this Irish Times article, I have chosen People Before Profit as the party best placed to lead that change but Sinn Fein have a similar vision.
There has been an absolute bombardment of negative media against the party since the election. The reaction to the democratic outcome, our electorates vote for change and shift to Sinn Fein reeks of old school politics associated with the parties people are voting out – the Me Fein (Irish for myself) society. You could say the politicians cannot accept that we want a shift from the “myself” society we have become to a collaborative society that considers “ourselves” the core.
February 24th 2020