Sinn Fein gains

Submitted by AWL on 3 June, 2014 - 5:59

The European elections in Ireland saw Sinn Fein top the poll in Northern Ireland and pick up three seats in the Republic.

In the North, it is cementing its position as the leading party in the nationalist community, putting yet more distance between itself and the beleaguered SDLP which continued its downward trend in the polls.

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) also dipped below its 2009 European and 2011 Assembly totals, leaving the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) as the largest unionist party, despite a strong showing for the hard-line Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV).

In the Republic of Ireland, Sinn Fein has been the main beneficiary of increasing anti-austerity sentiment, opportunistically positioning itself to the left despite its record of implementing cuts in the Assembly in Stormont.

The election in the south was a disaster for the Irish Labour Party, as voters punished it for maintaining a coalition with the right-wing Fine Gael party. Labour lost 8.6% of its vote from the last European elections, losing its 3 MEPs and polling fewer than 7,000 ahead of the Green Party.

Labour’s deputy prime minister, Eamon Gilmore, has now resigned and will most probably be replaced by the party’s deputy leaders, Joan Burton.

On the left, sitting Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy scored 8.5% ND lost his seat. This wasn’t helped by the SWP-backed People Before Profit (PBP), who stood against Murphy and picked up 6.8%.

The local elections were better for the far-left, where pacts delivered 14 seats each to PBP and the Socialist Party’s Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA), and a slew of left-wing independents.

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