Terry Prone: Sinn Féin’s stale predictability leaves it as cutting edge as a butter knife

The chronic outrage, the same old faces on the front bench, and Mary Lou McDonald's portentous tone are leaving floating voters cold.

15th Apr 2024
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Originally published in the Irish Examiner.

It'll take a few weeks before our brains adjust. Before, on hearing “The Taoiseach, today…” on radio, those brains stop providing us, instantly, with a picture of Leo Varadkar. It’ll also take a few weeks before our brain cells get used to the new faces at Cabinet and in the minister of state ranks.

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, for different reasons, handed their party a gift not to be underestimated. The gift of visual refreshment.

No offence to either man, but refreshment is an inevitable outcome of their departure from the front bench.

It’s not just being slightly startled when it’s Simon Harris we see with world leaders. It’s also the introduction of a new voice and face as minister for something or other, that causes an instinctive reaction amounting to a new willingness to listen, even if motivated only by the desire to then condemn.

All in all, Fine Gael looks and sounds slightly different, which — given that boredom with an ever-present party will inevitably inform voting patterns in the locals and European elections — is a good thing for them. An advantage over Sinn Féin’s same old, same old.

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