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Joining a cumann
Most people affiliated with an Irish nationalist or republican political party join its local unit. Among those who wish to run for office either nationally, locally, or internally within the party, membership of a cumann is expected.
Structure of Sinn Féin
In Sinn Féin, the principle unit of the party are the cumainn, the Comhairle Ceantair (area council), which made of elected members from the area's cumainn. The Comhairle Ceantair is a form of district unit covering a number of cumainn over a geographic area (usually a County Council constituency). The Ard Comhairle functions as the Sinn Féin national committee and executive which is composed of elected board members on an all-Ireland basis.
Structure of Fianna Fáil
In Fianna Fáil the structure is similar to Sinn Féin's, the elementary units of the party are the cumann, the Comhairle Ceantair (area council) and the Comhairle Dáil Cheantair (constituency council). The Comhairle Ceantair is a form of district unit covering a number of Cumainn over a geographic area (usually a County Council constituency), while the Comhairle Dáil Cheantair is a collection of all the cumainn or all the Comhairlí Ceantair in a Dáil (parliamentary) constituency.
- Basil Chubb, The Government and Politics of Ireland