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Sinn Féin meets UK investors in London


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It’s no secret by now that Sinn Féin has been attempting to soothe corporate nerves over the prospect of the party leading the next government. So it’s hardly a shock that deputy leader Pearse Doherty was in London on Friday on a whistle-stop tour to meet city investors.

The meeting, facilitated by a member of Davy Stockbrokers’ research team, took place at a hotel in the UK capital, a spokesman for the firm told Cantillon in a statement.

“Given interest from institutional investors in the UK about Sinn Féin policies in respect of the business and investment environment in Ireland,” he said, “Davy has facilitated an exchange of views between Sinn Féin’s deputy leader and spokesperson on finance… Pearse Doherty and a group of approximately 50 UK investment institutions and asset managers.”

The time when such a meeting might have raised eyebrows is long gone. As The Irish Times reported last year, there has been a concerted effort at the highest levels of the party to court big business, with its leader Mary Lou McDonald even travelling to Silicon Valley to deliver addresses to Ibec and senior party figures increasingly meeting business leaders.

“We’re used to different political parties trying to use the fear factor,” said Doherty at the time. “Sinn Féin are pro-business.”

This rightward drift towards the political mainstream has always been a high-stakes game for the party. It owes much of its popularity with voters, particularly younger ones, to its fierce criticism of the orthodoxy that they believe at fault for the interlinked web of economic and social issues affecting them, from the housing crisis to the management of the health service and everything in between.

Yet, despite the risk of further alienating its base and a series of disappointing polls for the party recently, it seems to be a game Sinn Féin is prepared to play as an election looms just over the horizon.

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