THERE’S a roch win blawin in from across the Irish Sea. But this is not Storm Ciara but the fresh wind of change in Irish politics. Our Celtic cousins have shone a bright green beacon into the darkness of global politics and into the festering narrow and divisive Brexit landscape of the UK. Not for the first time, the Irish are doing it their way, focusing on priorities for their future as a whole nation, not just the welfare of elites, the already selfish rich.

They’re continuing to reject the path chosen by their neighbours across the sea. It started a century ago with independence. It’s continued with the strength of equals in a partnership with the EU and their unwavering stance on Brexit and it carries on in the hopes and dreams of the people of Ireland for a fairer and better nation for all.

The National: Brexit Party, Parliament Square

It’s hard to know where to start in terms of analysing the positivity of this Irish election and Sinn Fein and the left’s gargantuan success.

But let’s start by saying what this result does not represent. Much to the extraordinary surprise and bewilderment of much of the British media, and many journalists who should have known a lot better, this win for Sinn Fein is not about populism. It is the very opposite of that. It’s the ying to Brexit’s yang, it’s the kick-back to the political manoeuvring of Steve Bannon and Trump and Farage and Johnson and their vested self-interest and lack of humanity.

Trumpism and Johnsonism is all about me, me, me. It’s about fear and lowering standards of behaviour, it’s an excuse to batten down the hatches and give up on community and society, to abandon those in need. I’m alright Union Jack, and if your face doesn’t fit internationally then beware the blood spangled banner.

READ MORE: Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh: Brexit 50p's slogan comes with wad of irony

This election result in Ireland is instead a ringing endorsement from the people for change where it matters most, for better housing and tackling homelessness, for improvements in their health service, for secure pensions and job opportunities. It’s about bolstering community, helping the needy, supporting their young people and those new to their shores. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with Britain or Brexit. Ireland’s call is outwards and upwards.

This isn’t some romantic and subjective interpretation of the results from an independentista who is green with envy trapped in our Scottish limbo. This rejection of populism and right-wing agendas is borne out by the vote, by statistics that show less than 2% of the population voted for parties and individuals with a divisive and anti-immigration stance. And a word here for the defeated “old firm” of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

These are decent parties who have produced great figures who have guided the state through good times and bad. I have never seen elections conceded with the civility and grace which was mustered in their many defeated candidates. It bodes well for the future.

In an election poll on issues most important to the voting public in Ireland, housing and homelessness topped the bill, with immigration and Brexit right at the very bottom. In the exit poll, 65% said they wanted more public spending over tax cuts.

Sinn Fein campaigned on a manifesto for welcoming refugees and introducing hate crime laws and they won a quarter of first preference votes. The message is loud and clear – the Irish wish to return social justice into their burgeoning economy and they will not be defined by xenophobia or isolationism.

The National: Sinn Fein supporters

Something else important stands out for me from this election result. And it’s illustrated best from a column in The Irish Times. The headline for journalist Jennifer O’Connell’s analysis read “Pragmatism beat idealism as deeply engaged voters navigated change”.

Ireland has had almost a decade of engagement with a constitutional convention, citizens’ assemblies and increasing voter involvement as a result. The Repeal the 8th and Marriage Equality referendums changed the face of Irish politics and indicated a huge cultural shift from the old ways, a massive rejection of the status quo, writes O’Connell.

Here is another polar opposite of populism, an educated and informed electorate making educated and informed decisions. But the most important point in O’Connell’s article is in the word “conversation”. She contrasts the slogan-heavy message of the British General Election with the deep levels of participation in the Irish one: “You’d ask the (Irish) people what the issues were … and you might as well pull up a stool, because you were going to be some time.”

READ MORE: Get ready to be sick as Boris’s love bomb lands on Scotland

Scotland, does this remind you of anything? Of a referendum back in 2014 where voters became more engaged than ever before?

Once you’re involved like this and you see chinks of light at the end of the tunnel for change, there’s no going back and our voting record proves this point. Triple mandate from the Scottish people for a second independence referendum ring any bells?

We didn’t fall for Brexit in 2016 and we didn’t fall for “get Brexit done” in 2019. We’re operating on a level far deeper than silly slogans and throw away one-liners. Because our future and our desire to build a nation on social justice, with a fairer tax system and economy, and a warm, welcome for new Scots sounds very similar to that now chosen by the Irish people. Let us look to the west and act.

This Irish election result is a clarion call to us Scots. If the Irish can do it, so can we. Because it looks to me like there’s already a bridge between Scotland and Ireland, and it’s got nothing to do with any Boris Johnson vanity project. This bridge is built on something far more solid and meaningful – a belief in a better nation, in a better future, for all.

Or, to quote the greatest Irish writer of them all, “in dreams begin responsibilities”. Our responsibility to welcome a new dawn in the Great Glen of Scotland.