History of Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin (English: "We Ourselves", often mistranslated as "Ourselves Alone") is the name of an Irish political party founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith. It subsequently became a focus for various forms of Irish nationalism and Irish republicanism. Its split during the Irish Civil War in 1922 and during the Troubles in 1969 had dramatic effects on politics in Ireland. Consequently it encompassed varied political philosophies from the left and right, republican and monarchist, theocrats and atheists. Sinn Féin today is a republican, left-wing and secular party.
The ideas that led to Sinn Féin were first propounded by the United Irishman newspaper and its editor, Arthur Griffith. An article by Griffith in that paper in March 1900 called for the creation of an association to bring together the disparate Irish nationalist groups of the time, and as a result Cumann na nGaedheal was formed at the end of 1900. Griffith first put forward his proposal for the abstention of Irish members of parliament from the Westminster parliament at the 1902 Cumann na nGaedheal convention. A second organisation, the National Council, was formed in 1903 by Maud Gonne and others, including Griffith, on the occasion of the visit of King Edward VII to Dublin. Its purpose was to lobby Dublin Corporation not to present an address to the king. The motion to present an address was duly defeated, but the National Council remained in existence as a pressure group with the aim of increasing nationalist representation on local councils.
In 1904 Griffith elaborated his policy in a series of articles in the United Irishman, which outlined how the policy of withdrawing from the imperial parliament and passive resistance had been successfully followed in Hungary, leading to the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and the creation of a dual monarchy, and proposed that Irish MPs should follow the same course. These were published later that year in a booklet entitled The Resurrection of Hungary. Also in 1904 a friend of Griffith's, Mary Ellen Butler, remarked in a conversation that his ideas were "the policy of Sinn Féin, in fact" and Griffith enthusiastically adopted the term. The phrase Sinn Féin ('ourselves' or 'we ourselves') had been in use since the 1880s as an expression of separatist thinking, and was used as a slogan by the Gaelic League in the 1890s.
The first annual convention of the National Council on 28 November 1905 was notable for two things: the decision, by a majority vote (with Griffith dissenting), to open branches and organise on a national basis; and the presentation by Griffith of his 'Hungarian' policy, which was now called the Sinn Féin policy. This meeting is usually taken as the date of the foundation of the Sinn Féin party. In the meantime, a third organisation, the Dungannon Clubs, had been formed in Belfast by Bulmer Hobson, and it also considered itself to be part of 'the Sinn Féin movement'.
By 1907 there was pressure on the three organisations to unite, especially from the US, where John Devoy offered funding, but only to a unified party. The pressure increased when C.J. Dolan, the Irish Parliamentary Party MP for Leitrim North, announced his intention to resign his seat and contest it on a Sinn Féin platform. In April 1907 Cumann na nGaedheal and the Dungannon Clubs merged as the 'Sinn Féin League'. Negotiations continued until August when, at the National Council annual convention, the League and the National Council merged on terms favourable to Grifith. The resulting party was named Sinn Féin, and its foundation was backdated to the National Council convention of November 1905.
In the North Leitrim by-election, 1908, Sinn Féin secured 27% of the vote. Thereafter, both support and membership fell. At the 1910 Ard Fheis (party conference) attendance was poor and there was difficulty finding members willing to take seats on the executive. By 1915 it was, in the words of one of Griffith's colleagues, "on the rocks", so insolvent financially that it could not pay the rent on its party headquarters in Harcourt Street in Dublin. Despite this a number of local councillors were elected running under the party banner in the 1911 UK local elections.
1917 to 1922
The Easter Rising, 1916
Sinn Féin was not involved in the failed Easter Rising, despite being blamed by the British Government for it. The leaders of the Rising were looking for more than the Sinn Féin proposal of a separation stronger than Home Rule under a dual monarchy. Any group that disagreed with mainstream constitutional politics was branded 'Sinn Féin' by British commentators.
Later in 1916, surviving members of the Rising led by Éamon de Valera joined and took control of the party. De Valera replaced Griffith as president. The party nearly split between its monarchist and republican wings at its 1917 Ard Fheis (conference) until, in a compromise motion, it proposed the establishment of an independent republic, after which the people could decide whether they wanted a monarchy or republic, subject to the condition that if they chose a monarchy, no member of the British Royal Family could serve as monarch.
Sinn Féin's status was boosted in public opinion by the anger over Maxwell's execution of Rising leaders even though the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the Irish Independent newspaper (the biggest-selling daily newspaper in Ireland then and now) and many local authorities actually called for the mass execution of Rising leaders. However, this public sympathy did not give Sinn Féin a decisive electoral advantage. It battled with the Irish Parliamentary Party under John Redmond, later John Dillon, with each side winning by-elections. When the British PM David LLoyd George called the Irish Convention in July 1917 in an attempt to reach agreement on introducing all-Ireland Home Rule, Sinn Féin declined the allocated five seats on the grounds that the Convention did not decree for the full independence of Ireland. It was only after the World War I German Spring Offensive in March 1918, when Britain threatened to impose conscription on Ireland to bring its decimated divisions up to strength, that the ensuing Conscription Crisis decisively swung support behind Sinn Féin.
1918 electoral victory
Sinn Féin won 73 of Ireland's 105 seats in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland parliament at the general election in December 1918, twenty-five uncontested. Despite being the largest party in Ireland for forty years, the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) had not fought a general election since 1910. So, in many parts of Ireland the IPP's organisation had decayed and was no longer capable of mounting an electoral challenge. Many other seats were uncontested because of mass support, with other parties deciding that there was no point in challenging Sinn Féin given that it was certain to win.
Contemporary documents also suggest a degree of intimidation of opponents. Piaras Béaslaí recorded one example in a by-election in Longford in 1917 where a Sinn Féin activist put a gun against the head of a Returning Officer and forced him to announce the election of the Sinn Féin candidate even though the IPP candidate had more votes. Potential candidates who were thought of as serious challengers to Sinn Féin candidates were warned against seeking election in some Ulster constituencies and in Munster, though in Cork all the All-for-Ireland Party MPs stood down in favour of Sinn Féin candidates.
In Ulster Unionists won twenty-two (22) seats, Sinn Féin twenty-six (26) and the Irish Parliamentary Party won six (6) (where they were not opposed by Sinn Féin). In the thirty-two counties of Ireland, twenty-four (24) returned only Sinn Féin candidates. In the nine counties of Ulster, the Unionists polled a majority in only four.
Because twenty-five seats were uncontested under dubious circumstances, it has been difficult to determine what the actual support for the party was in the country. Various accounts range from 45% to 80%. Academic analysts at the Northern Ireland demographic institute (ARK) estimate a figure of 53%. Another estimate suggests Sinn Féin had the support of approximately 65% of the electorate (unionists accounting for approximately 20-25% and other nationalists for the remainder). Lastly, emigration was difficult during the war, which meant that tens of thousands of young people were in Ireland who would not have been there under normal circumstances.
On 21 January 1919 twenty-seven Sinn Féin MPs assembled in Dublin's Mansion House and proclaimed themselves the parliament of Ireland, the First Dáil Éireann. They elected an Aireacht (ministry) headed by a Príomh Aire (prime minister). Though the state was declared to be a republic, no provision was made for a head of state. This was rectified in August 1921 when the Príomh Aire (also known as President of Dáil Éireann) was upgraded to President of the Republic, a full head of state.
In the 1920 city council elections, Sinn Féin gained control of ten of the twelve city councils in Ireland. Only Belfast and Derry remained under Unionist and IPP (respectively) control. In the local elections of the same year, Sinn Féin won control of all the county councils except Antrim, Down, Londonderry and Armagh.
The Split over the Anglo-Irish Treaty and Civil War
Following the conclusion of the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations between representatives of the British Government and de Valera's republican government in December 1921 and the narrow approval of the Treaty by Dáil Éireann, a state called the Irish Free State was established. Northern Ireland (a six county region set up under the British Government of Ireland Act 1920) opted out, as the Treaty allowed.
The reasons for the split were various, though partition was not one of them – the IRA did not split in the new Northern Ireland and pro- and anti-treaty republicans there looked to IRA Chief of Staff (and pro-treaty) Michael Collins for leadership (and weapons). The principal reason for the split is usually described as the question of the Oath of Allegiance to the Irish Free State, which members of the new Dáil would be required to take. The Treaty explicitly provided that the Free State would be a Dominion of the British Empire, the Oath also included a statement of fidelity to the King: many republicans found that unacceptable. The pro-treaty forces argued that the treaty gave "freedom to achieve freedom". In the elections of June 1922 in the southern twenty-six counties, de Valera and the anti-treaty Sinn Féin secured 35% of the popular vote. The anti-treaty element of the IRA had formed another Executive that did not consider itself subordinate to the new parliament, while the pro-Treaty element formed the nucleus of the new National Army with the existing IRA Executive becoming its GHQ.
A short, bitter Irish Civil War (June 1922 – April 1923) erupted between the supporters of the Treaty and its opponents. De Valera resigned as President of the Republic and sided with the anti-treatyites. The victorious pro-treaty parties, who amounted to a majority of Sinn Féin TDs and a majority of the voting electorate, became the government and Dáil of the Irish Free State. The pro-treaty Sinn Féin TDs changed the name of the party to Cumann na nGaedheal and were led by W.T. Cosgrave.
After the Civil War, the anti-Treaty IRA stood down ("dumped arms"). In the 1923 general election, Cumann na nGaedheal won 41% of the popular vote and 63 seats; the Anti-Treaty faction (standing as "Republican" and led by Éamonn de Valera) secured 29% of the vote and 44 seats – but applied their abstention policy to the new Dáil Éireann.
1923 to 1932
The party split again with the departure of leader Éamon de Valera who had come to believe that abstentionism was not a workable tactic. In March 1926 the party held its Ard Fheis and de Valera proposed that elected members be allowed to take their seats in the Dáil if and when the controversial oath of allegiance was removed. Mary MacSwiney and Michael O'Flanagan led the abstentionist section opposing the motion. The conference instructed a joint committee of representatives from the two sections to arrange a basis for co-operation. That day it issued a statement declaring "the division within our ranks is a division of Republicans." The next day De Valera's motion narrowly failed by a vote of 223 to 218.
De Valera resigned and formed his own party, Fianna Fáil, on a platform of republicanising the Free State from within. He took the great majority of Sinn Féin support with him along with most of Sinn Féin's financial support from America. The remains of Sinn Féin fielded only 15 candidates and won only six seats in the June election, a level support not seen since pre-1916. In the August 1927 by-election following the death of Constance Markievicz, SF's Cathal Ó Murchadha gained just 2.5% of the vote. Shortly after Vice President and de facto leader MacSwiney announced that the party simply did not have the funds to contest the second general election called that year, declaring "no true Irish citizen can vote for any of the other parties".
John J O'Kelly had been elected president in place of de Valera and remained in this position until 1931 when Brian O'Higgins took over the leadership. The party did not contest the Irish general election, 1932.
1932 to 1946
During the 1930s Sinn Féin did not contest any elections. The relationship with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) soured and during the 1930s the IRA had severed its links with the party. The party lacked a political figurehead and numbers attending the Ard Fheis had dropped to the mid-40s and debates were mainly dominated with issues such as whether members should accept IRA war pensions. Mary MacSwiney left in 1934 when members decided to accept the pensions. Cathal Ó Murchadha led the party from 1935 to 1937. Apathy towards the Official Ceremonial of 30 December 1937, indicated little public interest towards constitutional issues. Margaret Buckley was president from 1937 to 1950.
The party suffered during the 1940s with the introduction of internment. An attempt in the 1940s to access funds which had been put in the care of the High Court led to the Sinn Féin Funds Case, which the party lost and in which the judge ruled that it was not the direct successor of the Sinn Féin of 1917.
1947 to 1969
In 1947 the IRA held its first Army Convention since World War II. The leadership became dominated by three figures, known jokingly as the "three Macs", Tony Magan, Paddy McLogan, and Tomás Óg Mac Curtain. The "three Macs" believed that a political organisation was necessary to help rebuild the IRA. The relationship with Sinn Féin was improved. IRA members were instructed to join the organisation and a newspaper United Irishman was launched. Paddy McLogan served as President of Sinn Féin. The re-organisation yielded fruit during the Border Campaign which was launched on the 12th of December 1956. In the 1957 General Election Sinn Féin fielded 19 abstentionist candidates and won four seats and 6.5% of the popular vote. However the introduction of internment and the establishment of Military Tribunals to try Sinn Féin and IRA members hindered the military campaign and it was called off in 1962. In the 1961 General Election the party won no seats and its vote dropped to 3.2%.
Tomas MacGiolla was elected president in 1962. His presidency marked a significant shift towards the left. The Wolfe Tone Directories were set up in order to encourage debate about policy. The directory attracted many left wing thinkers and people associated with the Communist Party of Ireland such as Roy Johnston. In his analysis, the primary obstacle to Irish unity was the continuing division between the Protestant and Catholic working classes. This they attributed to the 'divide and rule' policies of Capitalism, whose interests a divided working class served. Military activity was seen as counterproductive since its effect was to further entrench the sectarian divisions. If the working classes could be united in class struggle to overthrow their common rulers, a 32 county socialist republic would be the inevitable outcome. The party became involved in the Dublin Housing Action Committee, protests against ground-rent landlordism and the co-operative movement. In one case Joe Clarke, a veteran of the Easter rising was ejected from a function honouring the 1916 rising, as he had interrupted de Valera's speech with criticisms over Fianna Fails poor provision of housing. The party, which ran under the label "Republican Clubs" in the North, became involved with the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, though it never controlled it as a number of Unionist writers have claimed.
However abstentionism was also a dominant feature of debate. Although Sinn Féin had taken seats at council level since the 1950s, many people in the party were becoming in favour of abandoning it while a significant number were still opposed to taking seats in "partitionist parliaments". Matters were not helped by a report from the Garland Commission, a committee led by Sean Garland to investigate and caucus opinion about abstentionism, which favoured ending the policy. Many were concerned about the downplaying of the role of the IRA. Opponents of the move would galvanize around Sean MacStiofain, Seamus Twomey and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.
There were two splits in the Republican Movement in the period 1969 to 1970. One in December 1969 in the IRA, and the other in Sinn Féin in January 1970.
The stated reason for the split in the IRA was ‘partition parliaments’, however, the division was the product of discussions in the 1960s over the merits of political involvement as opposed to a purely military strategy. The political strategy of the leadership was to seek to unite the Protestant and Catholic working classes in class struggle against Capital: it saw the sectarian troubles as fomented to divide and rule the working class. The split, when it finally did come in the December 1969, arose over the playing down of the role of the IRA and its inability in defending the Nationalist population in Northern Ireland in the violent beginning to the Troubles. One section of the Army Council wanted to go down a purely political (Marxist) road, and abandon armed struggle. "IRA" had been dabbed on the walls over the north and was used to disparage the IRA, by writing beside it, "I Ran Away". Those in favour of a purely military strategy accused the leadership of rigging the Army convention, held in December and the vote on abandoning the policy of abstentionism and abandoning the Nationalists.
Traditional republicans and opponents of abstentionism formed the "Provisional" Army Council in December 1969, after the split over abstentionism at the 1969 IRA Army convention held at Knockvicar House in Boyle, County Roscommon. Seán Mac Stiofáin, Dáithí Ó Conaill and Seamus Twomey and others established themselves as a "Provisional Army Council" and refused to go forward for elections to the executive.
The split in the Republican Movement was completed at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis on 10–11 January at the Intercontinental Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin, when the proposal to drop abstention was put before the members. The policy of abandoning abstentionism had to be passed by a two-thirds majority to change the Party’s constitution. Again, there were allegations of malpractice and pro-Goulding supporters casting votes though they were not entitled to cast. In addition, the Leadership had also refused delegate status (voting rights) to a number of Sinn Féin Cumainn (branches), particularly in the north and in Kerry were they knew them to be opposed. The motion was debated all of the second day, and when it was put to a vote at 5.30 p.m. the result was 153:104 in favour of the motion. However it failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority. The Leadership then attempted to propose a motion in support of the (pro Goulding) IRA Army Council, led by Tomás Mac Giolla. This motion would only have required a simple majority. As the (pro Goulding) IRA Army Council had already resolved to drop abstentionism, this was seen by the minority group (led by Sean MacStiofain and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh) as an attempt to subvert the Party's Constitution, and they refused to vote and withdrew from the meeting. Anticipating this move, they had already booked a hall in 44 Parnell square, where they established a "caretaker executive" of Sinn Féin. The Caretaker Executive declared itself opposed to the ending of abstentionism, the drift towards "extreme forms of socialism", the failure of the leadership to defend the nationalist people of Belfast during the 1969 Northern Ireland riots, and the expulsion of traditional republicans by the leadership during the 1960s.
One faction of the Party was referred to as Sinn Féin (Gardiner Place) – the offices of Sinn Féin for many years – and the other as Sinn Féin (Kevin Street), the location of the opposing offices. Both Cathal Goulding's group and Seán Mac Stíofáin's group called themselves the IRA. At the end of 1970 then, the terms 'Official IRA' and 'Regular IRA' were introduced by the press to differentiate Goulding's 'Officials' from Mac Stíofáin's 'Provisionals'. During 1971 the rival Sinn Féins played out their conflict in the press, with the Officials referring to their rivals as the "Provisional Alliance", while the Provisionals referred to the Officials (IRA and Sinn Féin) as the "NLF" [National Liberation Front]. To add to the confusion both groups continued to call their respecitive political organisations in the North the "Republican Clubs".
With an intensification in the conflict the British government made a number of military decisions that had serious political consequences. The Falls Road curfew would boost the "Provos" in Belfast, coupled with internment in August 1971 followed by Bloody Sunday in Derry in January 1972. These events produced an influx into the Provisionals on the military side making them the dominant force and finally eclipsing the Officials everywhere while bringing hundreds into Ó Brádaigh's Sinn Féin. People began to flock to join the "Provos", as they were called, and in an effort to reassert its authority, the Goulding section began to call itself "Official IRA" and "Official Sinn Féin", but to no avail. Within two years the "Provos" had secured control, with the 'Officials' both North and South considered a 'discredited rump' and 'regarded as a faction' by what was now the main body of the movement. Despite the dropping of the word 'provisional' at a convention of the IRA Army Council in September 1970, and becoming the dominant group, they are still known 'to the mild irritation of senior members' as Provisionals, Provos or Provies.
Sinn Féin was given a concrete presence in the community when the IRA declared a ceasefire in 1975. 'Incident centres' were set up to communicate potential confrontations to the British authorities. They were manned by Sinn Féin, which had been legalised the year before by Secretary of State, Merlyn Rees. The party had launched its platform, Éire Nua (a New Ireland) at the 1971 Ard Fheis however, it would be some years before they would develop any political thinking. In the words of Brian Feeney, "Ó Brádaigh would use Sinn Féin ard fheiseanna to announce republican policy, which was, in effect, IRA policy, namely that Britain should leave the North or the 'war' would continue".
After the ending of the truce another issue arose—that of political status for prisoners. Rees released the last of the internees but introduced the Diplock courts, and ended 'special category status' for all prisoners convicted after 1 March 1976. This led first to the blanket protest, and then to the dirty protest . Around the same time, Gerry Adams began writing for Republican News, under the by-line "Brownie" calling for Sinn Féin to become more involved politically and to develop more left-wing policies . The prisoners' protest climaxed with the 1981 hunger strike, during which striker Bobby Sands was elected Member of Parliament for Fermanagh and South Tyrone with the help of the Sinn Féin publicity machine. After his death on hunger strike, his seat was held, with an increased vote, by his election agent, Owen Carron. These successes convinced republicans that they should contest every election. Danny Morrison expressed the mood at the 1981 Ard Fheis when he said:
- "Who here really believes we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in this hand and an Armalite in the other, we take power in Ireland?".
1983 to present
Under Adams's leadership electoral politics became increasingly important. In 1983 Alex Maskey was elected to Belfast City Council, the first Sinn Féin member to sit on that body. Sinn Féin polled over 100,000 votes in the Westminster elections that year, with Adams winning the West Belfast seat previously held by the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). In the 1985 local elections it won fifty-nine seats on seventeen of the twenty-six Northern Ireland councils, including seven on Belfast City Council.
The party began a reappraisal of the policy of abstention from the Dáil. At the 1983 Ard Fheis the constitution was amended to remove the ban on the discussion of abstentionism, so as to allow Sinn Féin to run a candidate in the forthcoming European elections, although in his address Adams said, "We are an abstentionist party. It is not my intention to advocate change in this situation.”" A motion to permit entry into the Dáil was allowed at the 1985 Ard Fheis, but without the active support of the leadership, and Adams did not speak. The motion failed narrowly. By October of the following year an IRA Convention had indicated its support for elected Sinn Féin Teachtaí Dála (TDs) taking their seats. Thus, when the motion to end abstention was put to the Ard Fheis on 1 November 1986, it was clear that there would not be a split in the IRA as there had been in 1970. The motion was passed with a two-thirds majority. Ó Brádaigh and about twenty other delegates walked out, and met in a Dublin hotel to form a new party, Republican Sinn Féin.
What would become known as the Northern Ireland peace process began in 1986 when Father Alec Reid, of the Clonard monastery in north Belfast, wrote to SDLP leader John Hume and to the Irish opposition leader Charles Haughey, to try to initiate direct talks between Sinn Féin and the other nationalist parties, north and south. On becoming Taoiseach in 1987, Haughey authorised face-to-face discussions between Martin Mansergh, Head of Research for Fianna Fáil, and Sinn Féin representatives Adams, Pat Doherty and Mitchel McLaughlin. Meetings between the SDLP and Sinn Féin began in January 1988 and continued during the year. Sinn Féin aimed at forming an alliance of Irish nationalist parties for the purpose of achieving self-determination for the whole of Ireland, but the SDLP insisted that this could only happen in the context of an end to IRA violence and the dropping of the demand for immediate British withdrawal. The talks broke up in September 1988 without any agreement being reached. In November 1991 Peter Brooke, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced multi-party talks involving the SDLP, Ulster Unionist Party, Democratic Unionist Party and Alliance Party. Sinn Féin was excluded from these talks; however, talks between John Hume and Gerry Adams resumed about this time, and led to the 'Hume-Adams' document of April 1993. This was the basis of the Downing Street Declaration, agreed between the British and Irish governments in December 1993.
- Edward Martyn (1905–1908)
- John Sweetman (1908)
- Arthur Griffith (1908–1917)
- Éamon de Valera (1917–26)
- In 1923, a substantial portion of the membership became Cumann na nGaedheal
- In 1926, de Valera resigned from Sinn Féin and launched Fianna Fáil
- John J. O'Kelly (Sceilg) (1926–1931)
- Brian O'Higgins (1931–1933)
- Fr. Michael O'Flanagan (1933–1935)
- Cathal Ó Murchadha (1935–1937)
- Margaret Buckley (1937–1950)
- Paddy McLogan (1950–1952)
- Tomás Ó Dubhghaill (1952–1954)
- Paddy McLogan (1954–1962)
- Tomás Mac Giolla (1962–1970)
- In 1970, there was a split within the party, the resultant parties being referred to as
- Sinn Féin (Gardiner Place) also referred to by the media as Official Sinn Féin. Led by Tomás Mac Giolla. The party renamed itself Sinn Féin the Workers Party (1977), and later the Workers' Party of Ireland (1982).
- Sinn Féin (Kevin Street), also referred to by the media as Provisional Sinn Féin. By 1983 it was generally known simply as Sinn Féin.[dubious ] Despite the dropping of the word 'provisional' at a convention of the IRA Army Council in September 1970, and becoming the dominant group, they were still known 'to the mild irritation of senior members' as Provisionals, Provos or Provies.
- Ruairí Ó Brádaigh (1970–1983)
- In 1986, Ó Brádaigh left and set up Republican Sinn Féin.
- Gerry Adams (1983–present)
Summary of splits and mergers
This is a summary of the splits and mergers from the initial Sinn Féin party and the IRA and their successors.
|1905||Sinn Féin Convention in November.|
|1907||Merged with Cumann na nGaedheal and the Dungannon Clubs.|
|1917||Reorganised after the Easter Rising.|
|1922||Pro-Treaty members left Sinn Féin to form Cumann na nGaedheal, and left the IRA to found the National Army.|
|1926||After a vote confirmed the Sinn Féin policy of abstention from Dáil Éireann, Éamon de Valera and his supporters left to form Fianna Fáil.|
|1933||Cumann na nGaedheal merged with the National Centre Party and the National Guard to form Fine Gael.|
|1969||Defenders of abstentionism left the IRA to form the Provisional Army Council; the group which remained became known as the 'Official' IRA.|
|1970||The split in the IRA was followed by a split in Sinn Féin: Sinn Féin (Gardiner Place) or 'Official' Sinn Féin, and Sinn Féin (Kevin Street) or 'Provisional' Sinn Féin.|
|1974||The Irish National Liberation Army (ILNA) split from the 'Official' IRA with a corresponding split of the Irish Republican Socialist Party from 'Official' Sinn Féin.|
|1977||'Official' Sinn Féin is renamed Sinn Féin The Workers' Party.|
|1982||Sinn Féin The Workers' Party is renamed the Workers' Party.|
|1986||'Provisional' Sinn Féin (now generally known simply as Sinn Féin) ends the policy of abstention from Dáil Éireann; opponents under Ruairí Ó Brádaigh left to form Republican Sinn Féin.|
|1992||Leader of the Workers' Party, Proinsias De Rossa, left with 6 of their 7 TDs. Later that year they formed Democratic Left.|
|1996||The Continuity IRA emerged as the paramilitary wing of Republican Sinn Féin.|
|1997||The 32 County Sovereignty Movement split from Sinn Féin in response to engagement in the Peace Talks, with the Real IRA as their paramilitary wing.|
|1999||Democratic Left merged into the Labour Party.|
- O'Hegarty, P.S. (1952). A History of Ireland under the Union, 1801 to 1922. London: Methuen. p. 634.
- Davis, Richard P. (1974). Arthur Griffith and non-violent Sinn Féin. Dublin: Anvil Books. p. 21.
- Jackson, Alvin (1999). Ireland 1798-1998: Politics and War. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 186.
- Feeney, Brian (2002). Sinn Féin: a Hundred Turbulent Years. Dublin: The O'Brien Press. pp. 32–3.
- Ward, Margaret (1995). In their own Voice: Women and Irish Nationalism. Dublin: Attic Press. pp. 14–5.
- Feeney (2002). p. 19.
- Davis (1974), pp. 23-4
- Maye, Brian (1997). Arthur Griffith. Dublin: Griffith College Publications. p. 101.
- Laffan, Michael (1999). The Resurrection of Ireland: the Sinn Féin Party, 1916-1923. Cambridge University Press. pp. 21–2.
- Maye (1997). p. 103.
- Laffan (1999). p. 25.
- Laffan (1999). p. 26.
- Feeney (2002). pp. 49-50.
- Feeney (2002). pp. 52-4.
- Kee, Robert (1976). The Green Flag: The Bold Fenian men. London: Quartet Books. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-7043-3096-2.
- The wording was "having achieved that status the Irish people may by referendum freely choose their own form of Government".
- MacDonagh, Michael: The Life of William O'Brien, the Irish Nationalist, p.234, Ernst Benn London (1928)
- MacDonncha (2005), p.63
- ARK - Social and Political Information on Northern Ireland, in association with Queens University and the University of Ulster
- ARK:The Irish Election of 1918
- Timothy Shanahan (2009). The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 133, 205. ISBN 0-7486-3530-0.
- The Fourth Dail ElectionsIreland.org
- The Times, Irish Republican Split. Search For Basis Of Cooperation 13 March 1926
- Tim Pat Coogan, The IRA, pp. 77-8
- The Times, Southern Irish Elections, 6 June 1927
- The Times, 350 Candidates For 152 Seats, 2 June 1927
- Michael Laffan, The resurrection of Ireland: the Sinn Féin Party, 1916-1923, p. 443
- The Times, Mr. Cosgrave And The Oath, 30 August 1927
- Maria Luddy, ‘MacSwiney, Mary Margaret (1872–1942)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
- Laffan, p. 450
- The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party, Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, ISBN 1-84488-120-2, pp. 3
- The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party, Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, ISBN 1-84488-120-2, pp. 20
- The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party, Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, ISBN 1-84488-120-2, pp. 29
- The Secret Army: The IRA, J Bowyer Bell, Poolbeg Press Ltd. Ireland 1997 (revised Third Edition), ISBN 1-85371-813-0 pg.366-1, Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years, Brian Feeney, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-695-9 pg. 250-1, Sinn Féin: A Century of Struggle, Parnell Publications, Mícheál MacDonncha, 2005, ISBN 0-9542946-2-9 pg.131-2, The I.R.A., Tim Pat Coogan, HarperCollins Publishers London 2000 (Fully Revised & Updated), ISBN 0-00-653155-5 pg.337-8, Northern Ireland: A Chronology of the Troubles 1968-1993, Paul Bew & Gordon Gillespie, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin 1993, ISBN 0-7171-2081-3 pg.24-5,
- The I.R.A., Tim Pat Coogan, HarperCollins Publishers London 2000 (Fully Revised & Updated), ISBN 0-00-653155-5 pg.337-8
- The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000, Diarmaid Ferriter, Profile Books, London 2005, ISBN 978-1-86197-443-3 pg.624
- Northern Ireland: A Chronology of the Troubles 1968-1993, Paul Bew & Gordon Gillespie, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin 1993, ISBN 0-7171-2081-3 pg.24-5, Ireland: A History, Robert Kee, Abacus, London (Revised Edition 2005), ISBN 0-349-11676-8 pg.237, Eyewitness to Irish History, Peter Berresford Ellis, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Canada 2004, ISBN 0-471-26633-7 pg.281, The Secret Army: The IRA, J Bowyer Bell, Poolbeg Press Ltd. Ireland 1997 (revised Third Edition), ISBN 1-85371-813-0 pg.366-1, Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years, Brian Feeney, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-695-9 pg. 249-50, Sinn Féin: A Century of Struggle, Parnell Publications, Mícheál MacDonncha, 2005, ISBN 0-9542946-2-9 pg.131-2
- Ireland: A History, Robert Kee, Abacus, London (Revised Edition 2005), ISBN 0-349-11676-8 pg.237, Eyewitness to Irish History, Peter Berresford Ellis, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Canada 2004, ISBN 0-471-26633-7 pg.281, The I.R.A., Tim Pat Coogan, HarperCollins Publishers London 2000 (Fully Revised & Updated), ISBN 0-00-653155-5 pg.337-8
- Ireland: A History, Robert Kee, Abacus, London (Revised Edition 2005), ISBN 0-349-11676-8 pg.237, Eyewitness to Irish History, Peter Berresford Ellis, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Canada 2004, ISBN 0-471-26633-7 pg.281
- The Secret Army: The IRA, J Bowyer Bell, Poolbeg Press Ltd. Ireland 1997 (revised Third Edition), ISBN 1-85371-813-0 pg.363, Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years, Brian Feeney, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-695-9 pg. 250-1, Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA, Brendan Anderson, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-674-6, pg.186
- God and the Gun: The Church and Irish Terrorism by Martin Dillon (ISBN 978-0415923637), page 7
- Political Parties in the Republic of Ireland by Michael Gallagher (ISBN 978-0719017421), page 95
- The Lost Revolution - the story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar pg 145
- Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA, Brendan Anderson, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-674-6, pg.184
- Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA, Brendan Anderson, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-674-6, pg.186
- J. Bowyer Bell, The Secret Army: The IRA, p. 367
- Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years, Brian Feeney, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-695-9 pg. 250-1, Sinn Féin: A Century of Struggle, Parnell Publications, Mícheál MacDonncha, 2005, ISBN 0-9542946-2-9 pg.131-2, Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA, Brendan Anderson, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-674-6, pg.186
- The Lost Revolution - the story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar pg 146
- The Secret Army: The IRA, J. Bowyer Bell, Poolbeg Press Ltd. Ireland 1997 (revised 3rd ed.), ISBN 1-85371-813-0 pg.366-1, Sinn Féin: A Century of Struggle, Parnell Publications, Mícheál MacDonncha, 2005, ISBN 0-9542946-2-9 pg.131-2, Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA, Brendan Anderson, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-674-6, pg.186
- The Secret Army: The IRA, J Bowyer Bell, Poolbeg Press Ltd. Ireland 1997 (revised Third Edition), ISBN 1-85371-813-0 pg.367, Sinn Féin: A Century of Struggle, Parnell Publications, Mícheál MacDonncha, 2005, ISBN 0-9542946-2-9 pg.131-2, Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA, Brendan Anderson, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-674-6, pg.186, The I.R.A., Tim Pat Coogan, HarperCollins Publishers London 2000 (Fully Revised & Updated), ISBN 0-00-653155-5 pg.337-8
- J. Bowyer Bell, The Secret Army: The IRA, pp. 366-8
- The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party, Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, Penguin Ireland (2009), ISBN 1-84488-120-2 p.149
- The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party, Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, Penguin Ireland (2009), ISBN 1-84488-120-2 p.202
- Feeney, p. 270-71
- Eyewitness to Irish History, Peter Berresford Ellis, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Canada 2004, ISBN 0-471-26633-7 pg.281
- Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years, Brian Feeney, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-695-9 pg. 252, The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000, Diarmaid Ferriter, Profile Books, London 2005, ISBN 978-1-86197-443-3 pg.624
- Northern Ireland: A Chronology of the Troubles 1968-1993, Paul Bew & Gordon Gillespie, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin 1993, ISBN 0-7171-2081-3 pg.24-5 cite.’ Two leading commentators on the Provisionals noted: ‘The nomenclature, with its echoes of the 1916 rebels’ provisional government of the Irish Republic, reflected the delegates’ belief that the irregularities surrounding the extraordinary convention rendered it null and void. Any decisions it took were revokable. They proposed to call another convention within twelve months to ‘resolve the leadership of the movement. Until this happened they regarded themselves as a provisional organisation. Ten months later, after the September 1970 Army Council meeting, a statement was issued declaring that the "provisional" period was now officially over, but by then the, name had stuck fast.’ (Bishop and Mallie, p.137)
- Feeney, p. 444
- Taylor pp. 184, 165
- Taylor, p. 104
- Michael Gallagher, Political parties in the Republic of Ireland, Manchester University Press ND, 1985, ISBN 978-0-7190-1742-1 p.95
- Feeney, p. 272
- Feeney pp. 277-9
- Feeney p. 275
- Feeney 290-1
- Taylor (1997), pp.281-2
- Feeney p. 321
- Murray, Gerard; Tonge, Jonathan (2005). Sinn Féin and the SDLP: From Alienation to Participation. Dublin: The O'Brien Press. p. 153. ISBN 0-86278-918-4.
- Murray and Tonge (2005), p. 155.
- Feeney (2002), p. 326.
- Feeney (2002), p. 328.
- Feeney (2002), p. 331.
- Feeney (2002), p. 333.
- Rafter, Kevin (2005). Sinn Féin 1905-2005: In the Shadow of Gunmen. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. p. 177. ISBN 0-7171-3992-1.
- Rafter (2005), pp. 178-9.
- Murray and Tonge (2005), p. 166.
- Murray and Tonge (2005), p. 170.
- Murray and Tonge (2005), pp. 182-3.
- J. Coakley and M. Gallagher (1999), Politics in the Republic of Ireland: Third Edition. London: Routledge, pp. 340-341
- The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party, Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, Penguin Ireland (2009) ISBN 1-84488-120-2 p.149
- Walker, Clive (September 1988). "Political Violence and Democracy in Northern Ireland". Modern Law Review (Blackwell Publishing) 51 (5): 605-622. http://www.jstor.org/page/termsConfirm.jsp?redirectUri=/stable/pdfplus/1096216.pdf.
- Michael Gallagher (1985), Political parties in the Republic of Ireland. Manchester University Press
- Aodh de Blácam, What Sinn Féin Stands For, Dublin, Mellifont Press, 1921.
- Mícheál MacDonncha, ed (2005). Sinn Féin: A Century of Struggle, Parnell Publications (Dublin) ISBN 0-9542946-2-9,
- Timothy Shanahan, The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2009) ISBN 0-7486-3530-0.
- J Bowyer Bell, The Secret Army: The IRA, Poolbeg Press Ltd. Ireland 1997 (revised Third Edition), ISBN 1-85371-813-0
- Brian Feeney, Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-695-9
- Tim Pat Coogan, The I.R.A., HarperCollins Publishers London 2000 ((Fully Revised & Updated), ISBN 0-00-653155-5
- Paul Bew & Gordon Gillespie, Northern Ireland: A Chronology of the Troubles 1968-1993, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin 1993, ISBN 0-7171-2081-3
- Diarmaid Ferriter, The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000, Profile Books, London 2005, ISBN 978-1-86197-443-3
- Robert Kee, Ireland: A History, Abacus, London (Revised Edition 2005), ISBN 0-349-11676-8
- Peter Berresford Ellis, Eyewitness to Irish History, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Canada 2004, ISBN 0-471-26633-7
- Brendan Anderson, Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 0-86278-674-6
- Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party, Penguin Ireland (2009) ISBN 1-84488-120-2
- J. Coakley and M. Gallagher, Politics in the Republic of Ireland, Third Edition, Routledge, London (1999).
- Michael Gallagher, Political parties in the Republic of Ireland, Manchester University Press ND, 1985, ISBN 978-0-7190-1742-1