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Hugh O'Connell

Sinn Fein machine jumps on Coalition 'train wreck'

Hugh O'Connell


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Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Brian Lawless/PA)

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (Brian Lawless/PA)

This time last year Sinn Fein was still licking its wounds from a dismal local and European election campaign and trying to figure it out where it all went wrong.

The party lost nearly half of its local authority seats - 78 in total - and all but one of its MEPs in the South. The disastrous result was a wake-up call for a party that was suddenly staring into an uncertain future and questions about whether Mary Lou McDonald was the right choice to succeed Gerry Adams.

Twelve months later, all has changed. Sinn Fein is now the second largest political party in the Dail and the main Opposition party, leading to the sort of media exposure that will make more of its TDs household names.