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Sinn Fein in power in Northern Ireland and Republic suddenly a very real possibility

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If Sinn Fein becomes the largest party in the Dail, the immediate effect on the north will be a morale boost to republicans and a demoralisation of unionists.

It is likely that, by then, Sinn Fein will already be the largest party in Stormont and be entitled to hold the office of First Minister.

That might not happen. Unionist voters might rally to prevent it. They have the numbers, but are fragmented for now so that seems unlikely.

Another prospect is that Stormont will have collapsed before the next Dail election.

That, in itself, might affect that election. There will be arguments that Sinn Fein is a victim of discrimination and needs southern support to restore its rightful position in a functioning, rights-centred Executive in Belfast.

There might also be the counter-argument that Sinn Fein, having lost Stormont yet again, cannot be trusted with the Dail; that the less the Republic has to do with that shambles up there, the better.

A Stormont collapse is most likely to happen because of the unionist refusal of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Brexit agreement.

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