Anybody But Sinn Fein
Is the political situation in Derry symbolic of the problems facing contemporary republicans?
At the mouth of Christmas, every four years or so, a number of hopefuls announce their candidacies for local DEA elections usually held in May.
In 2014, a number of republicans who opposed Good Friday & rejected the lure of compromise that came with the peace process took seats in the North-West - between Derry & Strabane.
Thinking back to that time, I expected a similar return with a number of independent candidates announcing their plans to take a seat.
The only candidate announcement I have seen to date is that of an independent in Derry. Ex-SDLP member Emmet Doyle. I thought this was very mundane & barely paid attention to an ex-Stoop shaking off the party shackles that were clearly inhibiting his political & career ambitions.
Largely uninteresting, until I seen the outpouring of republican support for this candidate in the form of well wishes, good lucks & even some declaring they will give him a vote.
Some of those ‘republicans’ included the heretics of pure republicanism & the high-priests of abstentionism.
You won’t have to look far to see them decry everything as anti-republican. Yet, seemingly, have no problem displaying support for a pro-peace process, pro-GFA, pro-PSNI & pro-Stormont candidate.
No doubt they will attempt to justify this on two fronts:
These elections are only local council elections - ignoring they are political arenas devolved from Stormont
He does great community work - so we should ignore all their other political leanings so long as they clean graffiti off the walls. Then hopefully we are never faced with the quandary of a hard-working Shinner.
Maybe this is indicative of modern republicanism. Anybody but Sinn Fein.
Or is it much worse?
Has their been an internal republican coup, where non-republican types have displaced republican ideologues?
⏩ Liam O'Muileann is an Independent commentator and political activist from Strabane.