Just 30 years ago the IRA was bombing Downing Street, launching three mortar bombs at No 10 while John Major presided over a cabinet meeting.
In 2021, Sinn Féin, the political party associated with the IRA for much of the Troubles, has moved into pole position to lead the Irish government in what could be the biggest shake-up of the state’s politics since its foundation 100 years ago.
Ireland is three years out from the next general election and a victory for Sinn Féin or any other party is far from assured, but the slow seismic shift in Irish politics has barely merited a mention outside the country despite the change in dynamics it is already creating.
“It is not a question of if, it’s when Sinn Féin will be in power,” said one prominent businessman who did not want to be named.
Such is their transformation south of the border and the continued courting of the middle classes, that it is creating tensions over the party identity north of the…