EU diplomats are 'scenario planning' for a Sinn Féin government

Party has met with major tech firms operating in Dublin
EU diplomats are 'scenario planning' for a Sinn Féin government

Diplomatic sources said governments have started exploring the likely implications of Mary Lou McDonald’s party taking power on key matters.

Diplomats from other European countries have already begun “scenario planning” the likelihood of Sinn Féin winning the next election, sources have said.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, diplomatic sources said they have started exploring the likely implications of Mary Lou McDonald’s party taking power on key matters such as Anglo-Irish relations, the future of Northern Ireland, Ireland’s place in the EU, and the future of Ireland's foreign direct investment programme.

Spurred on by a succession of recent opinion polls which have shown Sinn Féin as the most popular party in the State, it is clear that governments throughout Europe now consider Sinn Féin in government to be a realistic possibility.

It is seen as significant that such planning has been undertaken with no immediate threat of a general election here, but one source did express a view that the current Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Green Party coalition is “not as secure” as may appear.
As a result, such forward planning is important.

Some EU sources have said given the extent of time spent on the Brexit issue since 2016, governments are keen to have an understanding of what impact Sinn Fein in government would have on the long-term stability of Northern Ireland, or how vigorously the issue of unification would be pursued.

There is also some concern that with Sinn Féin in government, relations between Dublin and London could become even more strained than they have been by the Brexit process.

Diplomats are understood to be seeking out the views of Irish officials and other politicians to get a full perspective of just how Sinn Féin operates as a party under Ms McDonald, its potential performance in government, and its likely coalition partners.

Sinn Féin representatives have held “occasional meetings” with some global tech companies headquartered in Dublin since the 2020 general election on matters relating to “public policy”.

In a statement, the party said its representatives “engage with many people in the course of their work; details of which are available in the lobbying register”.

“We have on occasion met with tech companies to discuss workers’ rights and matters of public policy,” a party spokeswoman said.

There has been a tangible warming up of the political and industry establishment toward Sinn Féin since the 2020 general election, with many industry bodies now saying “we will have to work with them in a couple of years”.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, senior industry sources have said there is unlikely to be any overt criticism of Sinn Féin from industry.

Sinn Féin currently has 37 seats in Dáil Eireann but has outpolled Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil by more than 10 points in a number of recent opinion polls.

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