Fine Gael-Fianna Fail deal brings welcome stability to Dublin

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The deal that has been struck to form a minority government in the Republic of Ireland is good news for the island.

It is in no-one’s interests for there to be instability on either side of the border.

Unionists might take an isolationist view and say that what happens in Dublin is of no consequence here.

But that is not so, for a number of reasons.

The rise of Sinn Fein on both sides of the frontier has potentially far-reaching implications for the future direction of the two jurisdictions and relations between them.

It is also the case that some of the trends that were apparent in the Republic’s general election result are apparent in countries across Europe, as well as in North America – dissatisfaction with the established parties and the rise of independent or once fringe voices.

In those circumstances, it seems increasingly untenable for there to be a deep breach between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, whose origins are in the civil war of a century ago but who are otherwise not all that different.

The success or otherwise of Enda Kenny will be watched closely by governments across the EU who have been trying to instil some of the financial discipline which Mr Kenny had, until the election, seemed to implement with a certain amount of success.

These are turbulent times for politics, in places and movements as diverse as Greece (Syriza), France (Front Nationale) or the US (Donald Trump).

If the rise of political insurgents leads to perpetual governmental instability in a host of countries, it will be a dangerous time for the West.

Sinn Fein is dismissive of the FG-FF arrangement. But it is still a growing force in the Republic. Whatever reservations unionists might have about a party such as Fianna Fail, they pale into insignificance compared to the prospect of a triumphalist Sinn Fein holding office on both sides of the border.