Richard North, 15/06/2004  

While everyone is getting excited about UKIP or the Vlaams Blok (see previous posting), little attention has been paid to the fact that Sinn Fein, who have not broken their links with the IRA, a terrorist organization that has refused to disarm, despite allegedly accepting the democratic process, now have two seats in the European Parliament.

In Northern Ireland, it came second in the vote after the Democratic Unionist Party, with the once mighty Ulster Unionist Party trailing in at a miserable third and the SDLP far behind them. It is not the job of this blog to analyze the politics of Northern Ireland but one can say that the political revolution that came out of the highly unsatisfactory Belfast Agreement has been completed – the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP have given way to the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Another seat has gone to Sinn Fein in Ireland, where the ruling Fianna Fail party suffered as did most governments around the EU, its vote going down to 28.8 per cent. They will have four seats.

The opposition Fine Gael party scored 26.5 per cent and will have 3 seats. The Labour Party with 11.5 per cent will have 2 seats and Sinn Fein, coming in very close with 11.4 per cent, will have 1 seat, as will the Green Party.

The odd thing about Sinn Fein is that, although a cross-border Irish party, it has no cross-border policies on the EU. In Ireland it sides with the eurosceptics, much to their annoyance, and campaigned in both referendums for a no vote. In Northern Ireland, it is a europhile party, its thinking possibly influenced by the amount of EU money that pours into that province for various projects.

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