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Fianna Fail chiefs eyed all-Ireland election bid

By Elaine Loughlin

A WikiLeaks cable sent by the Irish ambassador to Dublin has revealed that Fianna Fail had plans to start contesting elections in Northern Ireland as far back as 2005.

The cable was sent by James Kenny on February 4, 2005, after a meeting with a senior Irish official.

In it Mr Kenny revealed that Fianna Fail believed the best way of confronting Sinn Fein in the Republic would be to move into Northern Ireland and become an all-island party.

Mr Kenny wrote: “Some think doing so could also give nationalists in the north an alternative to Sinn Fein, given the SDLP's waning fortunes.”

He said that a former special adviser to the Taoiseach on Northern Ireland, Martin Mansergh, said he “did not see this as a short-term prospect” mainly due to the fact that the SDLP had not yet shown interest in merging with the party.

But in the same cable, Mr Kenny said that others in the party |differed in opinion.

“Derek Mooney, Fianna Fail's political adviser to the Defence Minister, says the opposite,” he wrote.

“He said the (Northern Bank) robbery is rapidly changing the prospective and it is the right time for Fianna Fail to move north.

“He noted that most of SDLP's former voters are not voting at |all, and only a small percentage shifted to Sinn Fein.

“This, he said, leaves space for a nationalist party with a vision for the future, a space Mooney thinks SDLP will never regain because it is seen only as a peace process party,” the cable stated.

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