Unionism New Leader - Zero Leadership
Every week Ciarán Quinn, the Sinn Féin Representative to North American writes a weekly letter from Ireland for our newsletter. Never miss a copy and sign up here.
A Letter from Ireland
Last week I read “Northern Protestants: On Shifting Ground” by Susan McKay. The book is a series of interviews reflecting the diversity of opinions that make up the Protestant community in the North of Ireland. It is an informative and at times challenging read for an Irish Republican. The book reflects on what it means to be a protestant at a time when the old unionist electoral majority no longer exists. A common theme is the complete lack of political leadership within unionism and in particular the role of the DUP in promoting Brexit. The DUP has been falling in the polls. Once the largest party, are now tied for fourth place and trailing behind other unionist rivals. Over the summer the party had two leadership contests and three different leaders within 6 weeks. The eventual winner, Jeffery Donaldson MP has now set the party on a course to collapse the government in the hope of forcing an election and consolidating a hard-line vote. He is demanding the effective scrapping of the Irish Protocol, an international agreement between the British Government and the EU to prevent a hard border across Ireland. It is an essential element of a trade agreement between the EU and Britain following Brexit. In his press conference, he said that either the Protocol goes, or the Good Friday Agreement institutions go. His very lengthy speech did not answer the simple question - What would a collapse of the Good Friday Agreement Institutions achieve? This is more of the same failure of leadership that is writ large in the pages of Susan McKay’s book. It is a strategy to nowhere.
As the Sinn Féin, President Mary Lou McDonald said,
“The position set out by Jeffrey Donaldson and the DUP today is a reckless, irresponsible, and short-sighted election stunt. This is a time for calm and mature political leadership. Sinn Féin will continue to provide that responsible leadership” While Unionism sets unachievable ultimatums and follows a scorched earth policy, we must continue to defend the agreements and build for Irish Unity. Is mise Ciarán
Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Fein Representative to North America