|President||Gerry Adams TD|
|Vice-President||Mary Lou McDonald TD|
|Assembly Group Leader||Raymond McCartney MLA|
|Slogan||"Building an Ireland of Equals"|
|Founded||Original: 28 November 1905
|Headquarters||44 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, Ireland|
|Youth wing||Sinn Féin Republican Youth|
|European Parliament group||European United Left–Nordic Green Left|
|House of Commons
|European Parliament (Republic of Ireland)|
|European Parliament (Northern Ireland)|
|Northern Ireland Assembly|
|Local government in the Republic of Ireland|
|Local government in Northern Ireland|
|Politics of the Republic of Ireland
Politics of Northern Ireland
Sinn Féin (/ / shin-FAYN) is an Irish republican political party active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970 after a split within the party (the other party is the Workers' Party of Ireland), and has been associated with the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Gerry Adams has been party president since 1983.
Sinn Féin is currently the second-largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly, where it has four ministerial posts in the power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive, and the fourth-largest party in the Oireachtas, the parliament of the Republic. Sinn Féin also received a plurality of Northern Ireland votes in the 2010 United Kingdom general election, although the Democratic Unionist Party won more seats.
- 1 History
- 2 Links with the IRA
- 3 Policy and ideology
- 4 Organisational structure
- 5 Leadership history
- 6 Ministers and spokespeople
- 7 Election results and governments
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Sinn Féin was founded on 28 November 1905, when, at the first annual Convention of the National Council, Arthur Griffith outlined the Sinn Féin policy. That policy was "to establish in Ireland's capital a national legislature endowed with the moral authority of the Irish nation". Sinn Féin contested the Leitrim North by-election of 1908 and secured 27% of the vote. Thereafter, both support and membership fell. At the 1910 Ard Fheis (party conference) the attendance was poor and there was difficulty finding members willing to take seats on the executive.
In 1914, Sinn Féin members, including Griffith, joined the anti-Redmond Irish Volunteers, which was referred to by Redmondites and others as the "Sinn Féin Volunteers". Although Griffith himself did not take part in the Easter Rising of 1916, many Sinn Féin members, who were also members of both the Volunteers and the Irish Republican Brotherhood, did. Government and newspapers dubbed the Rising "the Sinn Féin Rising". After the Rising, republicans came together under the banner of Sinn Féin, and at the 1917 Ard Fheis the party committed itself for the first time to the establishment of an Irish Republic. In the 1918 general election, Sinn Féin won 73 of Ireland's 105 seats, and in January 1919, its MPs assembled in Dublin and proclaimed themselves Dáil Éireann, the parliament of Ireland. The party supported the Irish Republican Army during the War of Independence, and members of the Dáil government negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty with the British Government in 1921. In the Dáil debates that followed, the party divided on the Treaty. Anti-Treaty members led by Éamon de Valera walked out, and pro- and anti-Treaty members took opposite sides in the ensuing Civil War.
Pro-Treaty Dáil deputies and other Treaty supporters formed a new party, Cumann na nGaedheal, on 27 April 1923 at a meeting in Dublin where delegates agreed on a constitution and political programme. Cumann na nGaedheal governed the new Irish Free State for ten years. It merged with two other organisations to form Fine Gael in 1933. Anti-Treaty Sinn Féin members continued to boycott the Dáil. At a special Ard Fheis in March 1926 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. When his motion was defeated, de Valera resigned from Sinn Féin and on 16 May 1926 founded his own party, Fianna Fáil, which was dedicated to republicanising the Free State from within. He took most Sinn Féin TDs with him. De Valera's resignation meant also the loss of financial support from America. The Sinn Féin party could field no more than fifteen candidates, and won only six seats in the June election, a level support not seen since pre-1916. Vice-President and de facto leader Mary MacSwiney announced that the party simply did not have the funds to contest the second election called that year, declaring "no true Irish citizen can vote for any of the other parties".
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. At the Westminister 1959 general election, the Sinn Féin vote dropped almost 60% from the 1955 number 152,000 to 63,000. In the 1960s, Sinn Féin moved to the left. It became involved in campaigns over the provision of housing and social services during the sixties. It also adopted a "National Liberation Strategy" which was the brainchild of Roy Johnston. In 1967 the Garland commission was set up to investigate the possibility of ending abstentionism. Its report angered many within the party, notably Seán Mac Stíofáin and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.
The Sinn Féin party split in two at the beginning of 1970. At the party's Ard Fheis on 11 January the proposal to end abstentionism and take seats, if elected, in the Dáil, the Parliament of Northern Ireland and the Parliament of the United Kingdom was put before the members. A similar motion had been adopted at an IRA convention the previous month, leading to the formation of a Provisional Army Council by Mac Stíofáin and other members opposed to the leadership. When the motion was put to the Ard Fheis, it failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority. The Executive attempted to circumvent this by introducing a motion in support of IRA policy, at which point the dissenting delegates walked out of the meeting. These members reconvened at another place, appointed a Caretaker Executive and pledged allegiance to the Provisional Army Council. 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. At the October 1970 Ard Fheis delegates were informed that an IRA convention had been held and had regularised its structure, bringing to an end the 'provisional' period. By then, however, the label "Provisional" or "Provo" was already being applied to them by the media. The opposing, anti-abstentionist party became known as "Official Sinn Féin". It changed its name in 1977 to "Sinn Féin, the Workers' Party", and in 1982 to "The Workers' Party".
Initially, because the "Provisionals" were committed to military rather than political action, Sinn Féin's membership was largely confined, in Danny Morrison's words, to people "over military age or women". A Belfast Sinn Féin organiser of the time described the party's role as "agitation and publicity". New cumainn (branches) were established in Belfast, and a new newspaper, Republican News, was published. Sinn Féin took off as a protest movement after the introduction of internment in August 1971, organising marches and pickets. The party launched its platform, Éire Nua (a New Ireland) at the 1971 Ard Fheis. In general, however, the party lacked a distinct political philosophy. 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". 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.
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, calling for Sinn Féin to become more involved politically . The prisoners' protest climaxed with the 1981 hunger strike, during which striker Bobby Sands was elected Member of Parliament for Fermanagh and South Tyrone as an Anti H-Block candidate. 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?".
Under Adams' 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). By 1985 it had 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 Republican Sinn Féin.
Multi-party negotiations began in 1994 in Northern Ireland, without Sinn Féin. The Provisional IRA declared a ceasefire in the autumn of 1994. The John Major-led Conservative government had asked that the IRA decommission all of their weapons before Sinn Féin be admitted to the talks, but the Labour government of Tony Blair later let them in on the basis of the ceasefire.
The talks led to the Good Friday Agreement of 10 April 1998 (officially known as the Belfast Agreement), which set up an inclusive devolved government in the North, and altered the Southern government's constitutional claim to the whole island in Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Ireland. Republicans opposed to the direction taken by Sinn Féin in the peace process formed the 32 County Sovereignty Movement in the late 1990s.
The party expelled Denis Donaldson, a party official, in December 2005, with him stating publicly that he had been in the employ of the British government as an agent since the 1980s. Mr. Donaldson told reporters that the British security agencies who employed him were behind the collapse of the Assembly and set up Sinn Féin to take the blame for it, a claim disputed by the British Government. Donaldson was found fatally shot in his home in County Donegal on 4 April 2006, and a murder inquiry was launched. In April 2009, the Real IRA released a statement taking responsibility for the killing.
When Sinn Féin and the DUP became the largest parties, it was clear that no deal could be made without the support of both parties. They nearly reached a deal in November 2004, but the DUP had a requirement for visible evidence that decommissioning had been carried out.
On 2 September 2006 Martin McGuinness publicly stated that Sinn Féin would refuse to participate in a shadow assembly at Stormont, asserting that his party would only take part in negotiations that were aimed at restoring a power-sharing government within Northern Ireland. This development follows a decision on the part of members of Sinn Féin to refrain from participating in debates since the Assembly's recall this past May. The relevant parties to these talks were given a deadline of 24 November 2006 to decide upon whether or not they would ultimately form the executive.
The 86-year Sinn Féin boycott of policing in Northern Ireland ended on 28 January 2007 when the Ard Fheis voted overwhelmingly to support the PSNI. Sinn Féin members will sit on Policing Boards and District Policing Partnerships. There has been some opposition to this decision from people such as former IRA prisoner Gerry McGeough, who stood in the 2007 Assembly Elections against Sinn Féin in the assembly constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone.
Links with the IRA
Sinn Féin is the largest group in the Republican wing of Irish nationalism and is closely associated with the Provisional IRA, with the Irish Government alleging that senior members of Sinn Féin have held posts on the IRA Army Council. However, the SF leadership has denied these claims. The US Government also alleged that Sinn Féin and the IRA were linked.
A republican document of the early 1980s states, "Both Sinn Féin and the IRA play different but converging roles in the war of national liberation. The Irish Republican Army wages an armed campaign... Sinn Féin maintains the propaganda war and is the public and political voice of the movement".
The British Government stated in 2005 that "we had always said all the way through we believed that Sinn Féin and the IRA were inextricably linked and that had obvious implications at leadership level".
The robbery of £26.5 million from the Northern Bank in Belfast in December 2004 further scuppered chances of a deal. The IRA were blamed for the robbery though Sinn Féin denied this and stated that party officials had not known of the robbery nor sanctioned it. Because of the timing of the robbery, it is considered that the plans for the robbery must have been laid whilst Sinn Féin was engaged in talks about a possible peace settlement. This undermined confidence within the unionist community about the sincerity of republicans towards reaching agreement. In the aftermath of the row over the robbery, a further controversy erupted when, on RTÉ's Questions and Answers programme, the chairman of Sinn Féin, Mitchel McLaughlin, insisted that the IRA's controversial killing of a mother of ten young children, Jean McConville, in the early 1970s though "wrong", was not a crime, as it had taken place in the context of the political conflict. Politicians from the Republic, along with the Irish media strongly attacked McLaughlin's comments.
On 10 February 2005, the government-appointed Independent Monitoring Commission reported that it firmly supported the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Garda assessments that the IRA was responsible for the Northern Bank robbery and that certain senior members of Sinn Féin were also senior members of the IRA and would have had knowledge of and given approval to the carrying out of the robbery. Sinn Féin have argued that the IMC is not independent and the inclusion of former Alliance Party Leader John Alderdice and a British security head was proof of this. The IMC recommended further financial sanctions against Sinn Féin members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The British government responded by saying it would ask MPs to vote to withdraw the parliamentary allowances of the four Sinn Féin MPs elected in 2001.
On 20 February 2005, Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Michael McDowell publicly accused three of the Sinn Féin leadership, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Martin Ferris (TD for Kerry North) of being on the seven-man IRA Army Council which they later denied.
On 27 February 2005, a demonstration against the murder of Robert McCartney on 30 January 2005 was held in East Belfast. Alex Maskey, a former Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Belfast, was told by relatives of McCartney to demand that Maskey "hand over the 12" IRA members involved. The McCartney family, though formerly Sinn Féin voters themselves, urged witnesses to the crime to contact the PSNI. Three IRA men were expelled from the organisation, and a man was charged with McCartney's murder.
Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern subsequently called Sinn Féin and the IRA "both sides of the same coin". The ostracism of Sinn Féin was shown in February 2005 when Dáil Éireann passed a motion condemning the party's alleged involvement in illegal activity. US President George W. Bush and Senator Edward Kennedy refused to meet Gerry Adams while meeting the family of Robert McCartney.
On 10 March 2005, the British House of Commons in London passed a motion placed by the British Government to withdraw the allowances of the four Sinn Féin MPs for one year in response to the Northern Bank Robbery without significant opposition. This measure cost the party approximately £400,000. However, the debate prior to the vote mainly surrounded the more recent events connected with the murder of Robert McCartney. Conservatives and Unionists put down amendments to have the Sinn Féin MPs evicted from their offices at the House of Commons but these were defeated.
In March 2005, Mitchell Reiss, the United States special envoy to Northern Ireland, condemned the party's links to the IRA, saying "it is hard to understand how a European country in the year 2005 can have a private army associated with a political party".
Policy and ideology
Most of the party's policies are intended to be implemented on an 'all-Ireland' basis which further emphasises their central aim of creating a united Ireland.
Sinn Féin is considered a democratic socialist or left-wing party. In the European parliament, the party aligns itself with the European United Left–Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) parliamentary group. The party pledges support for minority rights, migrants' rights, and eradicating poverty. Although it is not in favour of the extension of legalised abortion (British 1967 Act) to Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin state they are opposed to the attitudes in society which "pressurise women" to have abortions and "criminalise" women who make this decision. The party does state that in cases of incest, rape, sexual abuse, or when a woman's life and health are at risk or in danger that the final decision must rest with the woman.
Social and cultural
Sinn Féin's main political goal is a united Ireland. Other key policies from their most recent election manifesto are listed below:
- The 18 Northern Ireland MPs that sit in the Parliament of the United Kingdom to be allowed to sit in the Dáil Éireann as full Deputies as well,
- Ending academic selection within the education system,
- Support for a 'Minister for Children',
- Diplomatic pressure to close Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant (in Britain),
- Sinn Féin proposes a draft Irish Language Bill for the North (Northern Ireland), a Bill that would give the Irish Language the same status that the Welsh language has in Wales,
- 'Plastic bag levy' to be extended to Northern Ireland,
- To further Irish language teaching in Northern Ireland,
- It supports same-sex marriage and thus wants to see an end of the ban preventing this.
- Increase in Capital Gains tax and DIRT,
- A cap of public sector pay at three times the Average worker's wage,
- A cap of the salaries of TDs and government ministers,
- Standardisation of discretionary tax reliefs,
- Greater state investment in the economy,
- Abolishing mortgage interest tax relief for landlords and property based tax reliefs,
- Establishment of a government fund to aid small and medium enterprises,
- An 'all-Ireland' economy with a common currency and one tax policy,
- Greater investment for those who are disabled.
- An 'All-Ireland-Health-Service' akin to the National Health Service of the United Kingdom,
- Cap on consultants pay,
- Abolishment of prescription charges for Medical card patients,
- Expansion of primary care centres,
- Gradual removal of subsidies of private practice in public hospitals and the introduction of a charge for practitioners for the use of public equipment and staff in their private practice,
- Free breast screening (to check for breast cancer) of all women over forty—presumably in both Northern Ireland and the Republic,
Sinn Féin supports the creation of a 'Minister for Europe' – likely to be used in the Dáil. They support the independence of the Basque Country from Spain and France. The party opposes the US blockade of Cuba. Sinn Féin support the Palestinians in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Sinn Féin is organised throughout Ireland, and membership is open to all Irish residents over the age of 16. The party is organised hierarchically into cumainn (branches), comhairle ceantair (district executives), cúigí (regional executives). At national level, the Coiste Seasta (Standing Committee) oversees the day-to-day running of Sinn Féin. It is an eight-member body nominated by the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle (National Executive) and also includes the chairperson of each cúige. The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle meets at least once a month. It directs the overall implementation of Sinn Féin policy and activities of the party.
The Ard Chomhairle also oversees the operation of various departments of Sinn Féin, viz Administration, Finance, National Organiser, Campaigns, Sinn Féin Republican Youth, Women's Forum, Culture, Publicity and International Affairs. It is made up of the following: Officer Board and nine other members, all of whom are elected by delegates to the Ard Fheis, fifteen representing the five Cúige regions (three delegates each). The Ard Chomhairle can co-opt eight members for specific posts and additional members can be co-opted, if necessary, to ensure that at least thirty per cent of Ard Chomhairle members are women.
The Ardfheis (national delegate conference) is the ultimate policy-making body of the party where delegates – directly elected by members of cumainn – can decide on and implement policy. It is held at least once a year but a special Ard Fheis can be called by the Ard Chomhairle or the membership under special circumstances.
Ard Chomhairle (National Executive) Officer Board
- President: Gerry Adams
- Vice-President: Mary Lou McDonald
- Chairperson: Declan Kearney
- general secretary: Dawn Doyle
- Director of Publicity: Sean Mac Brádaigh
- Treasurers: Rita O'Hare and Maurice Quinlivan
Ard Chomhairle (Sinn Féin Leadership) Members elected at the Ard Fhéis 2012
|Éamon de Valera||1917–1926||Resigned from Sinn Féin and formed Fianna Fáil in 1926|
|John J. O'Kelly (Sceilg)||1926–1931|
|Fr. Michael O'Flanagan||1933–1935|
|Cathal Ó Murchadha||1935–1937|
|Tomás Ó Dubhghaill||1952–1954|
|Tomás Mac Giolla||1962–1970||From 1970 was president of Official Sinn Féin, renamed The Workers' Party in 1982|
|Ruairí Ó Brádaigh||1970–1983|
Ministers and spokespeople
Northern Ireland Assembly
- See also: Executive of the 4th Northern Ireland Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly, Members of the 4th Northern Ireland Assembly
|Assembly Group Leader||Raymond McCartney MLA|
|Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland||Martin McGuinness MLA|
|Junior Minister at Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister||Jennifer McCann MLA|
|Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development||Michelle O'Neill MLA|
|Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure||Carál Ní Chuilín MLA|
|Minister of Education||John O'Dowd MLA|
|Seanad Group Leader
Trade Union Outreach/Workers Rights and Political Reform
Junior Spokesperson for Jobs and Enterprise
|David Cullinane Senator|
|Gaeltacht, Irish Language and Rural Affairs
Junior Spokesperson for Justice, Equality and Defence
|Trevor Ó Clochartaigh Senator|
|Youth Affairs, European Affairs and All-Ireland Economy||Kathryn Reilly Senator|
- See also: Eighth European Parliament, European Parliament, Members of the European Parliament, 2014–19
|European Parliamentary Group Leader
Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs; Relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council
|Martina Anderson MEP|
|Environment, Public Health and Food||Lynn Boylan MEP|
|Agriculture and Rural Development; Relations with the United States||Matt Carthy MEP|
|Budgets; Fisheries; Relations with the People's Republic of China||Liadh Ní Riada MEP|
Election results and governments
Devolved Legislature elections
|Election||Body||First Preference Vote||Vote %||Seats||Government|
|1921||1st Parliament||104,917||20.5%||Ulster Unionist Party|
|1998||1st Assembly||142,858||16.7%||UUP–SDLP–DUP–Sinn Féin|
|2007||3rd Assembly||180,573||26.2%||DUP–Sinn Féin–SDLP–UUP–Alliance|
|2011||4th Assembly||178,224||26.9%||DUP–Sinn Féin–UUP–SDLP–Alliance|
Note: Sinn Féin elected members did not take their seats in any body except the post-1998 Assembly.
|Election||House of Commons||Votes||Vote %||Seats||Government|
|1924||34th||34,181||0.2% (in UK)||Conservative Party|
|1950||39th||23,362||0.1% (in UK)||Labour Party|
|1955||41st||152,310||0.6% (in UK)||Conservative Party|
|1959||42nd||63,415||0.2% (in UK)||Conservative Party|
|1983||49th||102,701||13.4% (in NI)
0.3% (in UK)
|1987||50th||83,389||11.4% (in NI)
0.3% (in UK)
|1992||51st||78,291||10.0% (in NI)
0.2% (in UK)
|1997||52nd||126,921||16.1% (in NI)
0.4% (in UK)
|2001||53rd||175,933||21.7% (in NI)
0.7% (in UK)
|2005||54th||174,530||24.3% (in NI)
0.6% (in UK)
|2010||55th||171,942||25.5% (in NI)
0.6% (in UK)
|Conservative Party–Liberal Democrats|
Sinn Féin returned to Northern Ireland politics at the 1982 Assembly elections, winning five seats with 64,191 votes (10.1%). The party narrowly missed winning additional seats in Belfast North and Fermanagh and South Tyrone. In the 1983 Westminster elections eight months later Sinn Féin increased its support, breaking the hundred thousand vote barrier for the first time by polling 102,701 votes (13.4%). Gerry Adams won the Belfast West constituency with Danny Morrison only 78 votes short of victory in Mid Ulster.
By the beginning of 1985 Sinn Féin had won their first representation on local councils due to three by-election wins in Omagh (Seamus Kerr, May 1983) and Belfast (Alex Maskey in June 1983 and Sean McKnight in March 1984). Three sitting councillors also defected to Sinn Féin in Dungannon, Fermanagh and Derry (the last defecting from the SDLP). Sinn Féin succeeded in winning 59 seats in the 1985 local government elections. Originally the party had predicted winning only 40 seats. However the results continued to show a decline from the peak of 1983 as the party won 75,686 votes (11.8%). The party failed to gain any seats in the 1986 by-elections caused by the resignation of Unionist MPs in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement, partly this was due to an electoral pact between Unionist candidates, however the SF vote fell in the four constituencies they contested.
In the 1987 election Gerry Adams held his Belfast West seat but the party elsewhere failed to make breakthroughs and overall polled 83,389 votes (11.4%). The same year saw the party contest the Dáil election in the Republic of Ireland, however they failed to win any seats and polled less than 2%.
The 1989 local government elections saw a drop in support for Sinn Féin. Defending 58 seats (the 59 won in 1985 plus two 1987 by-election gains in West Belfast minus three councillors who had defected to Republican Sinn Féin in 1986) the party lost 15 seats. In the aftermath of the election Mitchell McLaughlin admitted that recent IRA activity had affected the Sinn Féin vote.
In the 1989 European elections, candidate Danny Morrison again failed to win a seat, polling at 48,914 votes (9%).
The nadir for SF in this period came in 1992, with Gerry Adams losing his Belfast West seat to the SDLP and the SF vote falling in the other constituencies that they had contested relative to 1987.
In the 1997 British General Election, Gerry Adams regained his Belfast West seat. Martin McGuinness also won a seat in Mid Ulster. In Irish elections the same year the party won its first seat since the 1957 elections with Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin gaining a seat in the Cavan-Monaghan constituency. In the Irish local elections in 1999 the party increased its number of councillors from 7 to 23.
The party overtook its nationalist rival, the Social Democratic and Labour Party as the largest nationalist party in the 2001 Westminster general election and local elections, winning four Westminster seats to the SDLP's three. The party continues to subscribe, however, to an abstentionist policy towards the Westminster British parliament, on account of opposing that parliament's jurisdiction in Northern Ireland, as well as its oath to the Queen.
Sinn Féin increased its share of the nationalist vote in the 2003, 2007, and 2011 Assembly elections, with Martin McGuinness, former Minister for Education, taking the post of deputy First Minister in the Northern Ireland power-sharing Executive Committee. The party has three ministers in the Executive Committee.
In the 2010 General Election, the party retained its five seats, and for the first time topped the poll at a Westminster Election in Northern Ireland, winning 25.5% of the vote. All Sinn Féin MPs increased their share of the vote and with the exception of Fermanagh and South Tyrone, increased their majorities. In Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Unionist parties agreed a joint candidate, this resulted in the closest contest of the election, with Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew holding her seat by 4 votes after 3 recounts and an election petition challenging the result.
Republic of Ireland
|Border Region Council Seats|
|Dublin Region Council Seats|
|Mid-East Region Council Seats|
|Mid-West Region Council Seats|
|Limerick City and County|
|Midland Region Council Seats|
|South-East Region Council Seats|
|Waterford City and County|
|South-West Region Council Seats|
|West Region Council Seats|
Dáil Éireann elections
|Election||Dáil||First Preference Vote||Vote %||Seats||Government|
|Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin (1922-1923)
Cumann na nGaedheal (1923)
|1923||4th||288,794||27.4%||Cumann na nGaedheal|
|1927 (Jun)||5th||41,401||3.6%||Cumann na nGaedheal|
|1954||15th||1,990||0.1%||Fine Gael–Labour Party–Clann na Talmhan|
|1982 (Feb)||23rd||16,894||1.0%||Fianna Fáil|
|1989||26th||20,003||1.2%||Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats|
|1992||27th||27,809||1.6%||Fianna Fáil–Labour Party (1993–94)
Fine Gael–Labour Party–Democratic Left (1994–97)[A]
|1997||28th||45,614||2.5%||Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats|
|2002||29th||121,020||6.5%||Fianna Fáil–Progressive Democrats|
|2007||30th||143,410||6.9%||Fianna Fáil–Green Party-Progressive Democrats|
|2011||31st||220,661||9.9%||Fine Gael–Labour Party|
A In December 1994, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Democratic Left entered into government without a general election being called.
The party had five TDs elected in the 2002 Republic general election, an increase of four from the previous election. At the general election in 2007 the party had expectations of substantial gains, with poll predictions that they would gain five to ten seats. However, the party lost one of its seats to Fine Gael. Seán Crowe, who had topped the poll in Dublin South–West fell to fifth place, with his first preference vote reduced from 20.28% to 12.16%.
On 26 November 2010, Pearse Doherty won a seat in the Donegal South–West by-election. It was the party's first by-election victory in the Republic of Ireland since 1925. After negotiations with the left wing Independent TDs Finian McGrath and Maureen O'Sullivan, a Technical Group was formed in the Dáil to give its members more speaking time.
In the 2011 Irish General Election the party made gains. All its sitting TDs were returned with Seán Crowe regaining the seat in Dublin South–West he lost in 2007. In addition to winning long time targeted seats such as Dublin Central and Dublin North–West the party gained unexpected seats in Cork East and Sligo–North Leitrim. It ultimately won 14 seats, the best performance for the party's current incarnation. The party went on to win three seats in the Seanad election which followed their success at the General Election.
Seanad Éireann elections
|Election||Seanad||Share of seats||Seats|
|Election||Candidate||First Preference Vote||Vote %||Result||Winning Candidate|
|2011||Martin McGuinness||243,030||13.7%||Defeated||Michael D. Higgins
Local Government elections
|Election||Country||First Preference Vote||Vote %||Seats|
|1974||Republic of Ireland||–||–|
|1979||Republic of Ireland||–||–|
|1985||Republic of Ireland||46,391||3.3%||–|
|1991||Republic of Ireland||29,054||2.1%|
|1999||Republic of Ireland||49,192||3.5%|
|2004||Republic of Ireland||146,391||8.0%|
|2009||Republic of Ireland||138,405||7.4%|
|2014||Republic of Ireland||258,650||15.2%|
Sinn Féin is represented on most county and city councils. It made large gains in the local elections of 2004, increasing its number of councillors from 21 to 54, and replacing the Progressive Democrats as the fourth-largest party in local government. At the local elections of June 2009, the party's vote fell by 0.95% to 7.34%, with no change in the number of seats. Losses in Dublin and urban areas were balanced by gains in areas such as Limerick, Wicklow, Cork, Tipperary and Kilkenny and the border counties . However three of Sinn Féin's seven representatives on Dublin City Council resigned within six months of the June 2009 elections, one of them defecting to the Labour Party.
|Election||Country||First Preference Vote||Vote %||Seats|
|Republic of Ireland||54,672||4.9%|
|Republic of Ireland||35,923||2.2%|
|Republic of Ireland||33,823||3.0%|
|Republic of Ireland||88,165||6.3%|
|Republic of Ireland||197,715||11.1%|
|Republic of Ireland||205,613||11.2%|
|Republic of Ireland||323,300||19.5%|
In the 2004 European Parliament election, Bairbre de Brún won Sinn Féin's first seat in the European Parliament, at the expense of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). She came in second behind Jim Allister, then of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). In the 2009 election, de Brún was re-elected with 126,184 first preference votes, the only candidate to reach the quota on the first count. This was the first time since elections began in 1979 that the DUP failed to take the first seat, and was the first occasion Sinn Féin topped a poll in any Northern Ireland election.
Sinn Féin made a breakthrough in the Dublin constituency in 2004. The party's candidate, Mary Lou McDonald, was elected on the sixth count as one of four MEPs for Dublin, effectively taking the seat of Patricia McKenna of the Green Party. In the 2009 election, when Dublin's representation was reduced to three MEPs, she failed to hold her seat. In the South constituency their candidate, Councillor Toireasa Ferris, managed to nearly double the number of first preference votes, lying third after the first count, but failed to get enough transfers to win a seat.
In the 2014 election, Martina Anderson topped the poll in Northern Ireland, as did Lynn Boylan in Dublin. Liadh Ní Riada was elected in the South constituency, and Matt Carthy in Midlands–North-West.
- List of political parties in Northern Ireland
- Elected representatives of Sinn Féin
- List of Sinn Féin MPs (for members elected to the British House of Commons)
- Friends of Sinn Féin (an organisation designed to support Sinn Féin's cause with members in the United States, Canada and Australia)
- Sinn Féin Republican Youth (the youth wing of Sinn Féin)
- Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
- "Sinn Féin: definition of Sinn Féin in Oxford dictionary (British & World English). Meaning, pronunciation and origin of the word". Oxford Language Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Niall Ó Dónaill (1977). (advisory ed. Tomás de Bhaldraithe), ed. Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla [Irish-English Dictionary] (in Irish). Dublin: An Gúm. pp. 533, 1095. ISBN 978-1-85791-037-7.
- MacDonncha (2005), p.12
- "The first Sinn Fein party". Multitext.ucc.ie. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "The political counterpart of PIRA": entry under Provisional Sinn Féin, W.D. Flackes & Sydney Elliott (1994) Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968–1993. Belfast: Blackstaff Press
- Griffith, The Resurrection of Hungary, p. 161
- Brian Feeney, Sinn Féin: a hundred turbulent years, pp. 49–50
- Feeney, pp. 52–4
- Feeney pp. 56–7
- BBC – History – 1916 Easter Rising – Profiles – Sinn Féin
- Michael Gallagher, Political Parties in the Republic of Ireland, p. 41. Books.google.ie. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Ruth Dudley Edwards and Bridget Hourican, An Atlas of Irish History, Routledge, 2005, ISBN 978-0-415-27859-1, pp. 97–8
- 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
- Laffan, p. 450
- Ireland Since 1939, Henry Patterson, Penguin 2006, Page 180
- Robert William White, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh: the life and politics of an Irish revolutionary, p. 119
- Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA, Brendan Anderson, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 978-0-86278-674-8, pg.186
- J. Bowyer Bell, The Secret Army: The IRA, pp. 366–8
- Peter Taylor, Provos, p. 87
- Gerry Adams, Before the Dawn, p. 149
- Feeney p. 252
- The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party, Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, ISBN 978-1-84488-120-8 p. 336
- Irish voters decide: voting behaviour in elections and referendums since 1918, Richard Sinnott, Manchester University Press ND, 1995, ISBN 978-0-7190-4037-5 p.59
- Feeney, p. 260
- Feeney, p. 261
- Feeney, p. 271
- Taylor, p. 104
- Feeney, p. 272
- Taylor pp. 184, 165
- 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 978-0-86278-918-3.
- Murray and Tonge (2005), p. 155.
- Feeney (2002), p. 326.
- Feeney (2002), p. 328.
- Feeney (2002), p. 331.
- Feeney (2002), p. 333.
- Murray and Tonge (2005), pp. 193–4.
- Independent Monitoring Commission, Twenty-first Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission, The Stationery Office, 2009, ISBN 978-0-10-295967-3, p. 31
- "Sinn Féin man admits he was agent". BBC. 16 December 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
- "Donaldson murder scene examined". BBC. 6 April 2006. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
- "Real IRA claims responsibility for 2006 murder of Denis Donaldson". irishtimes.com. 4 April 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Angelique Chrisafis (25 November 2004). "Paisley hints at movement on IRA". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "Sinn Féin rejects 'shadow' Assembly". RTÉ. 2 September 2006. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "Sinn Féin ends policing boycott". BreakingNews.ie. 28 January 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "Sinn Féin 'must show visible support for policing'". BreakingNews.ie. 28 January 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "Former IRA prisoner to stand against SF". BreakingNews.ie. 29 January 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "Irish government allegations about IRA army council". London: Independent.co.uk. 21 February 2005. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- SF leadership denies army council membership.[dead link]
- Sinn Fein says IRA may cease to exist
- Kennedy tells Sinn Féin to end links to IRA
- Sinn Fein Leader Snubbed by Bush, Kennedy
- Brendan O'Brien, the Long War, the IRA and Sinn Féin (1995) ISBN 978-0-86278-359-4, p. 128.
- Press Briefing: 3.45 pm Monday 21 February 2005[dead link] 10 Downing Street website.
- Owen Bowcott (7 January 2005). "7 January 2007". London: Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Lee Glendinning (9 October 2008). "9 October 2008". London: Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Resignation call rejected". BBC. 19 January 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- Katie Mingey (24 January 2005). "Fallout from bank raid". Irish Emigrant. Archived from the original on 2 December 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "Fourth report of the Independent Monitoring Commission" (PDF). Independent Monitoring Commission. 10 February 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- Conor Murphy (27 February 2006). "IMC should be scrapped". Sinn Féin. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "Sinn Féin facing raid sanctions". BBC. 22 February 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "Adams challenges Ahern to have him arrested". RTÉ News. 10 February 2005. Retrieved 27 April 2006.
- Tom Brady & Senan Molony (21 February 2005). "McDowell: These men are leaders of the IRA". Irish Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- Peter Taggart (21 February 2005). "Dublin: Sinn Féin chiefs in IRA". CNN. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- Sharrock, David (28 February 2005). "Give up killers, people's protest tells IRA". London: The Times. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- Angelique Chrisafis (28 February 2005). "How pub brawl turned into republican crisis". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
- Angelique Chrisafis (26 February 2005). "IRA expels three over McCartney murder". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
- "IRA expels three after killing". BBC. 26 February 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
- "Two remanded in McCartney killing". BBC. 4 June 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
- "Sinn Féin must prove it supports the rule of law". Belfast Telegraph. 9 January 2007. Archived from the original on 28 January 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- Garry Kelly (14 March 2005). "Senator Kennedy snubs Adams as US recoils at IRA crime". London: The Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2007.
- "SF stripped of Commons allowances". BreakingNews.ie. 10 March 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2007.[dead link]
- "Sinn Féin chief says IRA may cease to exist". MSNBC. 12 March 2005. Retrieved 27 April 2006.
- Kevin Rafter, Sinn Féin, 1905–2005: In the Shadow of Gunmen, Gill & Macmillan, 2005, p. 219.
- "Sinn Féin on the Assembly debate on Abortion". Sinn Féin. 22 October 2007. Archived from the original on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 14 November 2007.
- Sinn Féin set to capitalise on Irish discontent, FT.com. Retrieved 14 May 2013
- "Groups in the European Parliament". BBC News. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- Irish Times, 26 May 2008
- "Sinn Féin lobbies for Northern Ireland MPs to sit in Dáil Éireann". BBC News. 21 March 2002. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Belfast Telegraph, 16 April 2008". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- [dead link]
- Donnellan, Eithne (15 February 2011). "SF plans free GP and hospital care". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- "Sinn Féin website, International Department". Sinnfein.ie. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil want to call TDs back from their holidays to talk about Gaza". thejournal.ie. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- "Sinn Féin Leadership | Sinn Féin". Sinnfein.ie. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Dr Nicholas Whyte. "Westminster election 1983". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- The three were S. Cassidy (Dungannon), J. J. McCusker (Fermanagh) and W. McCartney (Derry)
- "Local Government Elections 1981". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Local Government Elections 1985". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Dr Nicholas Whyte. "Westminster by-elections 1986". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Dr Nicholas Whyte. "Westminster election 1987". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Local Government Elections 1989". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- quoted in Gordon Lucy, The Northern Ireland Local Government Elections of 1993, Ulster Society Press
- Dr Nicholas Whyte. "Westminster election 1992". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Dr Nicholas Whyte. "The 2001 Westminster elections in Northern Ireland". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "Swearing in and the parliamentary oath". parliament.uk. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Sinn Féin press release". Sinn Féin. 18 December 2001. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- Political Party Seats Change Democratic Unionist Party. "Northern Ireland General election results 2010". BBC News. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- Dr Nicholas Whyte. "The 2010 Westminster elections in Northern Ireland". Ark.ac.uk. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "Unionist 'unity' candidate agreed". BBC News. 9 April 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew retains Fermanagh after dramatic recounts". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "Sinn Fein 29 April 2007 accessed 27 July 2009". Sinnfein.ie. 29 April 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "AnPhoblacht 29 March 2007". Anphoblacht.com. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Sinn Fein 17 May 2007". Sinnfeingeneralelection.com. Retrieved 20 April 2010.[dead link]
- Peterkin, Tom (21 May 2007). "Daily Telegraph 21 May 2007". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Henry McDonald, Ireland Editor (27 May 2007). "27 May 2007". London: Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Results 2007". Irish Times. 28 May 2007.
- "Sinn Fein wins by landslide in Donegal South-West by-election". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 27 November 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "SF forms Dail Technical Group". The Irish Times. 10 December 2010.
- "Pearse Doherty elected in Donegal South–West". RTÉ News. 26 November 2010.
- Fine Gael poised to lead next government as FF collapses. The Irish Times, 27 February 2011
- Christopher Took and Seán Donnelly. "2004 Local Election: Seats per Party per Council". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- "Elections 2009: How Ireland Voted". Irish Times. 9 June 2009.
- "Defecting councillor says SF has become directionless in South". Irish Times. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2010
- Northern Ireland Elections, ARK
- "Sinn Fein tops poll in Euro count". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "History made – Sinn Féin is now the largest party in the Six Counties". Sinnfein.ie. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "European Election: June 2004 – Dublin". Electionsireland.org. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "2009 Euro – South First Preference Votes". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Full recheck in Midlands-North-West constituency, RTÉ, 28 May 2014
- Mícheál MacDonncha, ed. (2005). Sinn Féin: A Century of Struggle (in Irish / English). Dublin: Sinn Féin. ISBN 978-0-9542946-2-5.
- Michael Laffan, The Resurrection of Ireland: The Sinn Féin Party 1916—1923 (Cambridge, 1999)
- The Secret Army: The IRA, J Bowyer Bell, Poolbeg Press Ltd. Ireland 1997 (revised Third Edition), ISBN 978-1-85371-813-7.
- Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years, Brian Feeney, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 978-1-85371-813-7.
- The I.R.A., Tim Pat Coogan, HarperCollins Publishers London 2000, ISBN 978-0-00-653155-5
- Northern Ireland: A Chronology of the Troubles 1968–1993, Paul Bew & Gordon Gillespie, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin 1993, ISBN 978-0-7171-2081-9
- The Transformation of Ireland 1900–2000, Diarmaid Ferriter, Profile Books, London 2005, ISBN 978-1-86197-443-3
- Ireland: A History, Robert Kee, Abacus, London (Revised Edition 2005), ISBN 978-0-349-11676-1
- Eyewitness to Irish History, Peter Berresford Ellis, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Canada 2004, ISBN 978-0-471-26633-4
- Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA, Brendan Anderson, O'Brien Press, Dublin 2002, ISBN 978-0-86278-674-8
- Taylor, Peter (1997). Provos The IRA & Sinn Féin. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7475-3818-9.
- The Transformation of Ireland 1900–2000, Diarmaid Ferriter, Profile Books, London 2005, ISBN 978-1-86197-443-3.
- Gerry Adams, Before The Dawn (Brandon Book, 1996) ISBN 978-0-434-00341-9.
- Tim Pat Coogan, The Troubles (Arrow, 1995, 1996) ISBN 978-0-09-946571-3.
- Tim Pat Coogan, Michael Collins (Hutchinson, 1990) ISBN 978-0-09-174106-8.
- Brian Feeney, Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years (2003) HB: ISBN 978-0-299-18670-8 PB ISBN 978-0-299-18674-6
- Roy Foster, Ireland 1660–1972
- Geraldine Kennedy (ed.) Nealon's Guide to the 29th Dáil and Seanad (Gill and Macmillan, 2002) ISBN 978-0-7171-3288-1.
- F.S.L. Lyons, Ireland Since the Famine
- Brian Maye, Arthur Griffith (Griffith College Publications)
- Dorothy Macardle, The Irish Republic (Corgi edition, 1968) ISBN 978-0-552-07862-7
- Sean O'Callaghan, The Informer (Corgi 1999) ISBN 978-0-552-14607-4
- Patrick Sarsfield O'Hegarty (introduction by Tom Garvin), The Victory of Sinn Féin: How It Won It & how It Used It (1999) ISBN 978-1-900621-17-5
- Peter Taylor, Behind the Mask: The IRA & Sinn Féin ISBN 978-1-57500-077-0
- Robert Kee, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (Penguin, 1972–2000), ISBN 978-0-14-029165-0
- Robert W. White, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, the Life and Politics of an Irish Revolutionary (Indiana University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-253-34708-4
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sinn Féin.|
- Official websites
- Sinn Féin
- Sinn Féin's "Ireland of Equals" website
- Sinn Féin delegation to the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament in Brussels website
- Other websites
- Sinn Féin
- Behind The Mask: The IRA & Sinn Féin Companion website to the Frontline documentary about Sinn Féin, which aired on PBS.
- Guardian – Special Report