I have not been following events anywhere with too much attention. I was intrigued by a short piece in today’s Irish Independent. Apparently the SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) was “buying time” on the prospects of a merger with Fianna Fail.
Apparently Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will today outline plans for Fianna Fail to organise in Northern Ireland, a move that could possibly involve, in the long run, a merger with the SDLP. In reality and the shorter term, it will probably entail closer co-operation between the parties.
Fianna Fail has previously resisted calls to organise in Northern Ireland but the establishment of a government, headed by the DUP and Sinn Fein means the idea of expanding into the North is not as sensitive as it would have been previously. Fianna Fail's success against Sinn Fein in the recent general election has also changed the scene.
This could be interesting. British political parties do not really organise in Northern Ireland (although at one time Unionist MPs took the Tory whip), either have parties from the Republic. Sinn Fein is the only party with representation on both sides of the border. I am not sure how this move will go down in Northern Ireland itself. In the Republic, the Labour Party (the Irish party, not the British one) will probably not be pleased as it sees the SDLP as its sister party.