Shane Coleman: Sanctimonious and populist Social Democrats yet to prove they are ready for power

Leader Holly Cairns is electorally untested but her party could well hold the balance of power after next election

Social Democrats leader and Cork South-West TD Holly Cairns: Much will depend on how Cairns performs in that election campaign. Picture: John Allen

Getting a handle on the Social Democrats is no easy matter.

Despite being around for the best part of a decade, they are currently the shiny new thing in Irish politics. They’re liberal (and at times a bit sanctimonious), but with a distinctly populist bent. Simon Harris may be the Tik-Tok Taoiseach but the Soc-Dems, with their ‘Sex, drugs and public services’ branded mugs, are surely the Tik-Tok party.

Their voters tend to be middle ...