The success of Sinn Féin in the 1999 local elections brought the party from the margins to the political mainstream. This report by Cathy Herbert looks at their performance in Dublin, where five new Sinn Féin councillors were elected. In Dublin City Council, their sole representative had been Christy Burke, who was now joined by Dessie Ellis, Larry O’Toole and Nicky Kehoe. For the first time ever, Sinn Féin now had two councillors in South Dublin, Seán Crowe and Mark Daly.
Cathy Herbert meets Dessie Ellis, a former IRA prisoner who was elected on the first count in Finglas. Fianna Fáil's Pat Carey is not surprised by Sinn Féin's success. Labour TD Pat Rabbitte is highly critical of the party's methods, saying they go out in balaclavas at night to deal with drug pushers and "you can't run civil society on that basis". Seán Crowe insists that he himself is opposed to vigilantes.
This report was broadcast on 'The Week in Politics' on 19 June 1999.