Liam Clarke seems to think that Sinn Fein are going to win seven seats in the Dail election, but he's being overly optimistic.
It is true that the Left are gaining ground, but few Leftists support Irish reunification, which is one of SF's cherished goals. The partitionist mentality is pervasive all over the south, which most TDs call Ireland, as if the north were foreign territory. North-south co-operation is beneficial to all of Ireland, also to GB. Reunification is a valid aspiration, but SF's Leftism isn't helping that desirable goal. But it wasn't SF that ran the Irish state so deeply in debt and persuaded the electorate to surrender much of its sovereignty to the EU.
SF are pretty good at sticking it to The Man, which will play well in this election. It won't count for much, though, when they find in government The 'Man' is Angela Merkel and she'll want her money back. As a former east German, I doubt she'll be impressed by Left-wing economic know-nothings.
Liam, once again you are right on the mark. My concern is the last thing the Republic requires now is answers from a Left-wing party like Sinn Fein. In the north of Ireland, on the other hand, all parties are on the Left when it comes to economic matters (handouts and more handouts from the public purse) and I await a party on the fiscal Right to come into being and field serious candidates.
I have no problem with reformed terrorists being elected. That is democracy. However, it cannot be right for Ireland to move towards the far Left.
Unionists will become accustomed to a Sinn Fein First Minister, just as they became accustomed to Sinn Fein in government. When Martin McGuinness demonstrates that republican government is responsible government, perhaps unionists will see how little they have to fear from republicanism and, eventually, from reunion with the 26-county government.