A Conversation for The Political Parties of Northern Ireland
nilllios Posted May 23, 2005
I have a couple of issues I'd like to raise about the Sinn Fein history.
"Formed in 1905, Sinn Fein is one of the oldest established political parties in Ireland."
That's a sentance that could be (and has beeen) debated for years, is the Sinn Fein that exists today the same as the Sinn Fein that was formed in 1905? It could be argued that the original Sinn Fein ceased to exist in 1916/17. The current Sinn Fein is a result of at least half a dozen splits, after each split the "Sinn Fein" that remained was a rump of the previous party. So while they can technically trace their ancestory to 1905, it's not 100% accurate to say that they are the same party. About the only thing they have in common is the rabid nationalism and the abstention from Westminster.
"Towards the end of the 19th Century they were the left-wingers of the Irish Home Rule Party in Westminster before taking the nickname they had been given as their official party name."
What is your source for this? The original Sinn Fein was set up by Arthur Griffith, and got it's name from his newspaper, he was more right wing than anything, and if he was a member of the Irish Party he was never a Westminster MP. His philiosophy was resolutely "Irish Ireland" he preached self sufficiency and advocated abstention from Westminster. There may have been some former Home Rulers in the party but they were not a splinter group from the HR party, in fact they opposed Home Rule, in the early days they advocated the "Dual Monarchy" system, a return to the pre 1801 "Grattan's Parliament"
"They stand for an independent Irish Republic and were prominent in the 1916 Easter uprising which led to the establishment of the Irish Republic."
The whole 1916 thing is a myth, Sinn Fein had next to nothing to do with 1916, the Rising was wrongly attributed to Sinn Fein by the British Government. Moost of the papers picked up on it, and as was their style the IRB infiltrated Sinn Fein to use it for their own purposes. By 1917 Sinn Fein was pretty much taken over by the IRB and De Valera replacced Griffith as leader. Sinn Fein became the party of 1916 after the event, due to an accident of history.
Recumbentman Posted May 24, 2005
Yes, internal coups happen, old members disown the young -- which party of any age has not changed radically somewhere in its history? And yet it seems lame to say "Sinn Féin is the oldest party name still in use . . ."
Parties are like amoebas. They split, repeatedly.
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