All eyes now on how the
alliances will be formed

Tomas Sharkey elected in  Dundalk South
Sinn Fein of course means “Ourselves Alone” and the question now being asked is whether Sinn Fein will go it alone or form an alliance that will see them with an overall majority on the new council.

Sinn Fein of course means “Ourselves Alone” and the question now being asked is whether Sinn Fein will go it alone or form an alliance that will see them with an overall majority on the new council.

With 10 seats on the council they will form the largest block, but it all depends then on what other alliances are formed.

Ever since the party has been growing from the roots established by Arthur Morgan, Sinn Fein have been strong critics of the pacts formed by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.

This political formation seemed designed to keep Sinn Fein from holding the chair and the resentment ran deep.

But even with 10 seats Sinn Fein will need support if a group is formed to block them.

The numbers are everything in politics. People of strange persuasions - remember Charlie Haughey and Des O’Malley - even enemies will come together if it’s in their own interest.

But it might also be in the interest of the traditional parties to let Sinn Fein step up to the mark and prove themselves.

It is easier to criticise than it is to make decisions, so many Fianna Fail and Fine Gael councillors and others could decide it is time for Sinn Fein to step up to the mark and prove themselves.

Sinn Fein may look for support from independents, but that is never an easy task.

On Saturday, as the swing was going strongly in favour of Sinn Fein, party leader and local Dail Deputy Gerry Adams made an appeal to those who had jumped in the Sinn Fein direction.

“It is clear increasing numbers of citizens are seeking a new kind of politics,” Mr Adams said.

“Some combination of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil has been in government since the foundation of the southern state. The old way of doing politics, as practiced by these parties has failed. People want change.

“Sinn Féin is involved in a historically unprecedented effort to build genuine republican politics in both states on this island. Building capacity and resources and membership is a big task for us and we will continue to grow.

“I would appeal today, to citizens to join Sinn Fein in building a citizen-centered, rights based republic on this island.”

It may be more difficult to win over the opposition and different political philosophies.

Fianna Fail’s Declan Breathnach said the challenge for councillors is to do their best with budgets that are available.

Sinn Fein don’t even vote to support the budgets so there may be a temptation to let them take responsibility for seeing that the council has a budget with which to operate.

Declan Breathnach said he looks forward to working with all parties and independents who have a positive contribution to make.

Sinn Fein has always been very critical of what they call the ‘junket culture’.

Edel Corrigan who topped the poll has hit out at this ‘junket culture’ which she said is prevalent in councils across the country.

“Sinn Féin have consistently spoken out on the issue of ‘junkets’,” she said.

“I have previously proposed that the four chairs of the SPCs no longer accept their €6,000 tax free payment as it is an insult to those who continue to suffer at the hands of the current Government’s austerity measures. This money could be put to better use.”

It is a view that would be shared by many people.

But not all councillors have agreed with the spin Sinn Fein has put on the expenses issue and feel it is all too easy to raise emotive issues that will gain popularity but harder to deal with the confines of a department budget.

Mr Adams said: “Sinn Féin will use the mandate that people have given to us wisely.

“We will keep the commitments we made to the electorate.”

The mandate that the people always give is: get on with it. Do something.