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Sinn Fein tried to pull a stunt by taking a last minute challenge to information provided by the Referendum Commission and it’s backfired on them rather badly. That wouldn’t cause me too much upset but it may also have set back the No side and that’s a lot more serious.

While they are undoubtedly the most cynical party in the Dail, they’re hardly idiots. They would have known that their challenge hadn’t a hope of success so why did they take it?

Headlines? Probably not. As the only semi-coherent voice on the No side they were already getting huge media exposure so they didn’t need a high-risk stunt. More likely, I think, is that they were hoping that there would be just enough leeway in the judgement to allow them to claim some sort of victory. By delaying the case until the cusp of the moratorium they ensured that any such claim wouldn’t be challenged until after polling and that would allow them to exaggerate their role in the campaign in much the same way as they hype the result of the Doherty by-election case. Unfortunately for them, the judge wasn’t playing.

The comprehensive rejection of their claim by the courts left Simple Simon Coveney with an open goal on News at One earlier today. He oozed smugness as he forced home all the FG tosh about why we should vote Yes. Mary Lou McDonald was left spluttering about the meaning of the word ‘opinion’ in the manner of a creationist saying ‘It’s just a theory’.

The moratorium that might have worked in their favour suddenly serves the Yes side and voters were left with the impression that the entire No position is without merit.

The problem with stunt politics is you can’t leave anything to chance . SF forgot that and did the country a grave disservice in the process.