Some thoughts on the Upcoming Election

I am writing this a few days before the General Election. I grew up in a very politically aware household, and all through my life I have taken a great interest in matters political. I believe that as a democracy we have been blessed with a fair degree of stability for the past one hundred years since the foundation of the state.

This current election campaign is probably the strangest, most unexpected, and at the same time enormously interesting, of all the elections I have lived through in my seventy plus years.

I wouldn’t dream of voting for Sinn Fein. I am too old, and remember too much. But I can appreciate why the young generation might be drawn towards them. And that is all right too.

Our two main parties historically, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, both had their origins in violent movement, and both gradually and successfully adapted to democratic methods. In more recent times the official IRA, which had morphed into Democratic Left, also crossed over successfully to the ballot box and government.  Now it seems to be the time for Sinn Fein. 

It had to happen, and now is as good a time as any. They deserve, and need, to get a taste of government, both to have a chance at bring about real change, and learning how difficult it is to actually implement the changes they are crying out for.

If they do manage to get into government, I know it will be difficult for people whose relations, friends, neighbours, were killed or maimed by the IRA. 

But we will all have to get used to this new reality. It is an essential part of bringing about a peaceful island — though there are many complications, and difficult decisions to be made before this will be achieved for all thirty two counties. 

I hope they do not rush to a United Ireland poll, and try to coerce the unionist community. That would certainly not lead to peace; quite the opposite. If Ireland is ever to be fully united, it will be a long, slow and very patient process, in which all the different voices will need to be listened to.

So, come what may next Saturday, we are certainly living in interesting times.