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Alex Kane

Yes, Sinn Fein would have preferred to be in coalition government, but opposition comes with enormous challenges… and risks

Alex Kane


The party will have to prove it can land significant blows on the Fianna Fail/Fine Gael/Green troika, and that means setting out a clear, popular alternative of its own, writes Alex Kane

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Mary Lou McDonald after the vote on Saturday in Dublin

Mary Lou McDonald after the vote on Saturday in Dublin

PA

Micheal Martin, the new Taoiseach

Micheal Martin, the new Taoiseach

Mary Lou McDonald after the vote on Saturday in Dublin

Listening to Mary Lou McDonald over the weekend, it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that not being a mandatory component in the Irish Government had come as a bit of a shock to Sinn Fein: "It was absolutely wrong and flew in the face of the democratic choice of the people to deliberately exclude Sinn Fein."

Fair enough, Sinn Fein had a very good election in February - much, much better than even it expected - but McDonald wasn't able to build a majority during a series of negotiations with other parties and independent TDs.

That failure to build her own coalition left the door open for others to try. And that's precisely what Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens did.