I am old. Not quite old enough to be offered seats on public transport, but old enough to have finished secondary school in the last millennium. At 35 it seems I'm at the opening stages of middle age. There is much to recommend it.
One part of growing up in the eighties and nineties is memories of what we euphemistically called 'the troubles'. Bombings. Punishment beatings. Attacks that killed children. Kangaroo courts convicting mothers of being informants and not even allowing their children the dignity of a burial. The protection of pederasts. This was the context in which I learned of Sinn Féin and it has left me with something of a bias.
But a bias is not a thing to celebrate. In the comfortable safety of Dublin I was never directly affected by terrorist groups in Northern Ireland, and I recognise that many who suffered greatly have chosen to prioritise their region's future and work with former enemies. I admire their strength.
Calling this to mind I'm trying to evaluate Sinn Féin on the commitments made in the flyer I received from their canvasser and his wider comments. I'm fortunate in that I need only look north to see how Sinn Féin perform in government. I'll be contrasting their pledges for the Republic with their performance in Stormont to decide what preference to give them.
Below I write their commitments in bold and follow with comparisons to outcomes in Northern Ireland.
Increase the minimum wage to €9.65 an hour. By contrast the minimum wage in Northern Ireland is £6.70, or €8.67 at time of writing. The minimum wage in the Republic is €9.15, noticeably higher than up north.
End zero hour contracts. They have not done so in Northern Ireland. They did try.
Move to cap childcare fees by increasing creche capitation rates. Here it's instructive to contrast how Sinn Féin in government compares to England, Scotland and Wales. There's a full survey folks will likely find interesting, but a key table is worth including here. You'll find it on page 22. All regions receive comparable funding but by any measure Northern Ireland is the worst performer.