Letter in today’s Irish Times accurately outlining the political choice facing Sinn Fein.
Sinn Féin’s options
I firmly believe that in the current political climate, Sinn Féin has a realistic chance of forming the next government, if (and it’s a very big if) it nudges Gerry Adams toward stepping down as party leader as soon as feasibly possible. It has two potential replacements in Pearse Doherty and Mary Lou McDonald, either of whom is capable of leading the party into the next election.
Gerry Adams, on the other hand has become a political liability as he has far too many skeletons that come clattering out of the closet at random and unexpected intervals. This achieves nothing but to hastily cordon off any inroads Sinn Féin has made with the middle-aged and middle-class electorate in the south.
It’s clear that a substantial number of these voters have grown weary of the centre-right and are looking for a viable alternative. However, they tend to squirm uncomfortably when reminded of Sinn Féin’s past.
For me, the party has a clear and simple choice; either strongly suggest to Mr Adams that he resigns as leader, then achieve substantial and tangible political success, or accommodate the man’s ego, let him continue to lead the party into the centenary year of the Easter Rising, and subsequently leave the door ajar for the formation of yet another centre-right coalition, in whatever form it takes.