Colum Eastwood’s massive victory in Derry/Londonderry over Sinn Féin and its controlling IRA Army Council strategists shows – among other things – a desire among many constitutional nationalists to throw off the yoke of Sinn Féin abstentionism and the IRA’s sectarian and violence-glorifying influence in favour of some ‘normal’ politics and representation.

Who would have imagined that Northern Ireland’s second city would ever give the Social Democratic and Labour Party a gigantic majority of 17,000 votes in the former IRA Brigade area of Martin McGuinness? The most that pundits were offering during the night of the post-election count was a possible majority of 4,000 votes.

The SDLP’s primary arguments were both simple and forceful:

  • Sinn Féin’s lazy abstention robs voters of action and influence
  • Democratically elected politicians need to represent voters by engaging
  • Voters deserve better
  • The SDLP would turn up if voters themselves turned up and voted – and so they did.

Colum’s initial claim that the election in Northern Ireland “was all about Brexit” was quickly shown to be nonsense as the crisis in health services in Northern Ireland and nurses’ pay parity became possibly bigger issues than Brexit.

The same Colum Eastwood who gave the citizens of Derry/Londonderry an option to kick off the dead weight of Sinn Féin abstentionism and outdated IRA influence was the same Colum Eastwood who denied that same option to citizens of North Belfast, where the despised Sinn Féin abstentionists were granted all voters practically as hostages.

Virtually all pundits declared that Colum Eastwood agreed a secretive pact with Sinn Féin and its hidden strategists – a pact that in North Belfast enthroned a bitter sectarian divide – green versus orange, us versus them and Sinn Féin/IRA versus Protestant Unionism/Loyalists.

North Belfast allowed Colum Eastwood to perfectly recreate the sectarian headcount – a sectarian pact previously rejected by Colum Eastwood in 2017.

Sectarian pact rejected in 2017 but agreed in 2019

All of Colum Eastwood’s denials of a deal with SFIRA were not convincing seasoned and respected political pundits.

Will Colum ever tell the truth about The Pact?

Colum Eastwood danced with Wolves – Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s phrase for Sinn Féiners and their secretive backroom masters – and now North Belfast has an abstentionist non-representative Wolf who is pictured almost always guided by the IRA likes of Gerry Kelly, Gerry Adams and Caroline Cullen.


Colum Eastwood’s astonishing ability to deny The Pact, his casual betrayal of voters who – as in Derry/Londonderry – did not want to vote for Sinn Féin and its barely invisible backroom strategist boyos – and his argument that Abstentionism is Really Bad For You, but that North Belfast voters must just suck it up regardless – these contradictions will not just go away.

Colum believes that voters in Derry/Londonderry will now benefit from SDLP representation – while he also believes that voters in North Belfast will now benefit from No Representation Whatsoever.

Colum has proven to be a magician, pulling a rabbit out of a hat for voters in Derry/Londonderry, while his abstentionist elephant creation squats suffocatingly atop voters in North Belfast who now go unrepresented.


The sweet scent of SDLP victory in Derry/Londonderry must be tainted by the sour stench of SDLP pactsentionism in North Belfast – it’s your concoction Colum, own it.

Are you, Colum, ever a man to be trusted?


A tale of John Finucane and the IRA’s disappeared Human Rights’ recordhere.