Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The case of the bearded bar-tender

The most significant story in the Irish press today was Ed Moloney's piece on the main comment page of the Irish Times.

Malcolm suggests it will be something of a surprise if it does not emerge in the wider media over the next day or two. That it isn't hot news already, of course, may be because of the
Times's daft policy of keeping as much as possible back from non-subscribers to its e-edition.

has an analysis of Sinn Féin's long term electoral strategy:
Two parts of Sinn Féin's electoral strategy were well known and never a secret. One was to overtake the SDLP to become the largest party in the North. Another was to become large enough in the South to qualify for partnership in government with Fianna Fáil. If both strategies had been successful then Sinn Féin could have been in office on both sides of the border at the same time.
So far, no surprise.
But according to well-placed sources this would not have been the end of Sinn Féin's strategy. The third part was to seek Gerry Adams's elevation to the presidency - and while it was kept secret outside Sinn Féin's inner councils it was apparently known to both the Irish and British governments during their tortuous dealings with Sinn Féin leading to the new Stormont government.
That suggests to Malcolm that:
  • Someone, perhaps in or of Dublin ("well-placed sources"), has chosen to whisper in Moloney's ear. Malcolm cannot recall Moloney's present whereabouts: he was in NYC not so long back.
  • If there is any substance in this, the Irish and/or the British are (again, no surprise, especially on Moloney's own track-record) clearly still privy to SF's inner circle.
  • And/or, those same "well-placed sources" have decided it's time to do for Beardie.
Your distance, of course, may vary.

Moloney spells out the maths: to be nominated for the presidency, Gerry would need signatures from twenty members of the Oireachtas (that's members of the Seanad and the Dáil, for the benefit of the illiterati). Had SF scored a dozen TDs, and pulled a couple of Seanad spots, they would be "within shouting distance":
Nor, thanks to a lucrative IRA investment portfolio, would Sinn Féin have had any difficulty finding the financial resources to fight the campaign. But Sinn Féin's Dáil tally of just four TDs in May, along with the perception that the party may have peaked in the South, killed off the idea.
Malcolm instantly picks on how Moloney fingers the money men here. He is clearly saying the Armaliters, not the democratic balloteers, are holding the cheque books for the joint-stock company. Interesting, if only repeating the obvious, that.

Which leaves one unspoken matter hanging in the air.

The presidential poll is next up for grabs in 2011. Meanwhile, if the present Dáil runs its full term (and, provided the economics hold up, it won't go quite that far) then Bertie Ahern has a job (tribunals permitting) until 2o12.

The cute wee hoor has already been there in post for a full decade, and in the Dáil for three times that time. At some point, he must get fed-up; and look for a quieter life, especially as he hits the big six-oh.

At the same point, Fianna Fáil will need credible candidates for two job vacancies: An Taoiseach and Uachtarán na hÉireann. Particularly so, if Brian Cowan does not want to sit in the shadows for ever.

So, Malcolm wonders, can anyone think of a suitable short-term tenant, perhaps someone with recent accommodation problems, and looking for a retirement home, for a rather fine property in the Phoenix Park (see right)?

At the moment, Gerry Adams (and SF in the South) can have few political friends, and not a lot of debts to call in. Moloney is putting the boot in, quite neatly, on somebody's behalf.

Malcolm, who learned the skills of coarse rugby too well, knows "thrice armed is he who gets his retaliation in first".

And, once again, Malcolm recalls Dewey Finn's line (with appropriate gesture) in School of Rock: "Read between the lines." Sphere: Related Content

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