South of the border in the Irish Republic support for Sinn Fein has slipped back. The latest poll from Red C, in the Sunday Business Post, puts Sinn Fein on 16%, down from 19% in the previous poll, well behind Fine Gael on 32% and even behind Fianna Fail on 18%. Another Red C poll taken six weeks ago had Sinn Fein at a peak of 21% so the drop in support is actually 5% in the space of just 6 weeks.
Meanwhile north of the border, in Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein has also taken a big hit. It has presented itself as a party committed to 'an Ireland of equals' but it seems that in the world of Sinn Fein, as in George Orwell's Animal Farm, some people are more equal than others. The Fair Employment Tribunal ruled that Regional Development minister, Conor Murphy MLA, had discriminated again a Protestant applicant, Alan Lennon, and appointed Sean Hogan, a Roman Catholic, as chairman of Northern Ireland Water. The tribunal said that Conor Murphy had added new criteria in order to secure the appointment of Sean Hogan.
It also claimed that there was a pattern in the appointments made during the four years that Conor Murphy was in DRD. According to the FET, there was 'a material bias against the appointment of candidates from a Protestant background.' During that period a Roman Catholic applicant was at least twice as likely to be appointed as a Protestant candidate.
Indeed the figures for DRD for 2010-2011 show that 'of 57 Protestant applications for public appointment, only three were appointed. In the same period, nine out of 31 Catholic applicants were appointed.' The success rate for Roman Catholics was 29% and for Protestants just 5%. In that year a Roman Catholic applicant was six times more likely to be appointed than a Protestant and the number of Roman Catholic appointments was three times thenumber of Protestant appointments!
These facts show that while Sinn Fein talks about equality, under Sinn Fein control there was a persistent pattern of anti-Protestant discrimination in DRD. Actions speak louder than words and the actions of the former Sinn Fein minister speak very loudly.