At what cost ? – Sinn Fein and Marian Price


The resignation of Anita Cavlan as broke by the Irish News today was more than a little unexpected, rarely do we see Sinn Fein elected representatives breaking rank (and party affiliation) over a topic so active in the public domain. The continued Detainment of Marian Price has seen some of the best and worst of local politics in Recent years with parties reverting to form and others being lost somewhere in the wilderness as Sinn Fein have been. It has already been widely commentated on that it is beyond unusual that a party who are synonymous with republican communities and who claim to be defenders of civil rights, are so completely apathetic towards the plight of Marian Price.

Whatever your view on Price and her previous acts, it is hard to argue with the grounds on which the SDLP have campaigned for her release, those being the entitlement to Due process and the right to choose your own council as well as compassionate grounds. The SDLP would be asking for the release of any person under the same circumstances who are so clearly are deprived of their civil rights.

The resignation of Cavlan reveals more than meets the eye; for one it demonstrates that the issue of  Price is a divisive issue within the Party. This comes as no great surprise, what is more surprising however is that it is now apparent that Sinn Fein have actively tried to prevent it from becoming a talking point internally, all this while toeing a fairly wishy-washy line publically. Dark green republicans within the Sinn Fein ranks must be scratching their head wondering precisely why a topic such as prisoners’ rights is being so enthusiastically swept under the political carpet, and it must being left wondering exactly what is going on within the upper echelons of Sinn Fein.

All this comes at a time when Sinn Fein decision making has left a lot to be desired. Sinn Fein have run a less than credible “NO” campaign in the south, while admitting defeat in Foyle by shipping Martina Anderson off to Brussels. The truth of the matter remains that the big ticket political projects north of the border still require DUP approval, Girdwood demonstrates the bartering that takes place between the OFMDFM war lords, so was the cost of allowing them to support Price simply too great…even for a political millionaire like Sinn Fein?




  1. I agree but I would make one further point. It may not be dark green republicans within Sinn Féin who are getting nervous.
    A year ago SF were very confident and it led to arrogance and the arrogance has led to carelessness. They are making mistakes. And Marian Price is a big mistake to make. Incidently SF has scored a major own goal in this constituency this weekend….and if handled well, they are in for an embarrassment when they all come home after their weekend in Kerry.
    Basically Dr Joe Hendron was absolutely right last month. The issues are all out there. And they will find the SDLP. Marion Price is an example.
    To some extent the media have all fallen for the lie that SF will simply mop up every republican vote in the future. But they are starting to look tired, “too political”. I still believe that a lot of mainstream nationalists/republicans have loaned their vote to SF because rightly or wrongly they believed SF would compromise less than SDLP. I hold my hands up here…….largely on the basis of a personal dispute I voted SF from 1993-2009. My wife never voted for anyone else other than SDLP so we were basically a pan nationalist family. But certainly now SF seems more interested in power itself than actually doing anything……which leaves those people who loaned their votes in a bit of difficulty. Marion Price or McGuinness using the “L” word is ok for the Sinn Féin core……..but voters may be a bit unsure.
    The thing about political mistakes is that it leads to more anxiety and more mistakes.
    But it needs the SDLP to be totally ruthless in exposing mistakes.

    • very interesting analysis, i think something which is really beginning to hit home is the bi-polar nature of SF north and south, they cant keep it up…aslo the difference between SF at stormont and on the ground remains two very different things, the grandstanding around talking to senior protestants and unionists about reconciliation is complete dribble whenever grassroots its decades behind the leadership…recently on the doorsteps i’ve had alot of people commenting on the complacency between DUP and SF and this “right to rule” that they have leaving alot of local work undone and people left feeling very annoyed

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