RNA - As expected Sinn Féin has shunned the other two major Irish political parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
Instead Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, has held talks with the Green Party and People Before Profit about forming a new government.
Sinn Féin topped the first preference poll in the Irish general election, but at 37 seats it received just one fewer seat than Fianna Fáil.
But for reasons that are not entirely clear Sinn Féin only fielded 42 candidates in the general election, fewer than its major rivals. There is speculation that the party fielded relatively few candidates in order to limit its losses.
However, In view of their dramatic success, that cautious approach has proven to be a miscalculation. Indeed, had Sinn Féin fielded more candidates then it would have likely achieved an even more resounding victory.
The hardcore Irish Republican group has reportedly appointed Donegal Teachta Dála (TD – a member of the Dáil Éireann or Irish Parliament), Pearse Doherty, to supervise its negotiating team for the coalition talks.
Speaking to the Irish broadcaster RTÉ yesterday evening, Doherty said Sinn Féin will conduct “conversation” with "like-minded parties", notably the Labour Party, Green Party, Social Democrats and Solidarity People Before Profit.
Meanwhile, Louise O'Reilly, TD for the important Dublin Fingal constituency, said that in addition to focusing on bread and butter issues, like health and housing, Sinn Féin wants a government that will “shift the focus onto Irish unity”.
Louise O'Reilly TD, who is part of the Sinn Féin negotiation team, outlines the Sinn Féin position heading into talks with other parties this week about forming a Government for Change.#GE2020 @loreillysf pic.twitter.com/UDNQzRoPcx
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) February 12, 2020
As the spearhead of the Irish Unity movement, Sinn Féin is loathed by the British establishment, particularly by the ruling Tories.
As the most authentic Irish Republican party – and the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) - Sinn Féin has tremendous disruptive potential in relation to the volatile political situation in Northern Ireland.
To underscore that potential, and in a major challenge to the British regime, Sinn Féin leader, McDonald, has called for an Irish unity poll (referendum) “within five years”.