Date with destiny
I wasn't so much surprised that Fianna Fail are going to organise in the North of Ireland, so much as shocked that it was announced with the context of the suggestion that the SDLP might merge with them.
Of course, all this seems clever. The SDLP have been sidelined by Sinn Fein (after all, the main difference was the question of the armed struggle), and so seem sort ofdoomed in the North. Sinn Fein seem to have been unable to break into the south, but if Fianna Fail comes North, hoovers up the SDLP's votes - it can actually offer the genuine prospect of a united Ireland by being the dominant party both sides of the border - Sinn Fein could be driven back to their council estate fastnesses.
Of course, the SDLP is a Socialist international affiliate, whereas Fianna Fail isa centre right populistparty, but it is the echte natioinalist movement, the original Sinn Fein, the uber republicans. Such is the poison of nationalism.
of course, I reckon such a move would actually split the SDLP, but really, if a left rump refused to go, they'd get hovered up by Sinn Fein. Mark Durkan as president of the replublic? What a prize, and within the gift of the formidable Fianna Fail.