Daniel Murray on the campaign trail: It’s make-or-break for unionism as Sinn Féin closes in on top prize

If the opinion polls are accurate, and Sinn Féin qualifies for the position of First Minister after the Northern Assembly elections, can the DUP be brought back to the table to form an executive?

Sinn Féin candidate Conor Murphy with James Short in Crossmaglen: ‘Even though Sinn Féin, and indeed the SDLP, have served as Deputy First Ministers to a unionist First Minister for the entirety of the Good Friday Agreement period, the DUP, UUP and TUV have not been able to declare if they will do the same.’ Picture: Pacemaker

When Margaret Thatcher visited the Republican stronghold of Crossmaglen as British prime minister in 1979, she committed the cardinal sin of not stopping into Short’s Bar, a local institution.

Asked at the time by the BBC what he thought of Thatcher’s visit, publican Paddy Short quipped: “If she wasn’t in Short’s, she wasn’t in Crossmaglen.”

Conor Murphy was adamant that the Business Post’s trip to the border town in the Newry/Armagh constituency wouldn’t be similarly ...