May 17, 2022

Sinn Féin (Irish for ourselves [and not as is sometimes translated we only]), pronounced: [ʃɪnʲ fʲeːnʲ]? and sometimes abbreviated as SF, is a nationalist left-wing political party active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.


The party was founded by Arthur Griffith in 1905 as an Irish separatist monarchist movement. Monarchy, in this context, meant that the party sought the abolition of the Union with Great Britain by 1800, so that Ireland would once again become a kingdom of its own. In doing so, the party referred to the example of Hungary, which still shared its king with Austria through the formation of the Dual Monarchy, but which had otherwise become virtually independent. Sinn Féin was in fact not involved at all in the Easter Rising of 1916, but the press called it a Sinn Féin uprising. Although in fact unjustly, new members poured in and a year later, in 1917, the party was taken over by the radical nationalists and became a champion of an Irish Republic. Sinn Féin has since then been known as an Irish Republican party. In the last elections in Ireland before the country was divided into Northern Ireland and the Free State, later Republic of Ireland, the party won the overwhelming majority of Irish seats in the British Parliament. After the establishment of the Free State, the party in the south became deeply divided. The majority of party members strongly objected to the treaty with Great Britain that effectively recognized Northern Ireland's position. These opponents of that treaty then founded a new party: Fianna Fáil. In the south, Sinn Féin became a marginal factor as a result. In Northern Ireland she managed to maintain herself. The party's goal of reunification of the two separate states (Northern Ireland and Ireland) proved an attractive prospect for large parts of the Catholic minority in the north, who were in practice second-class citizens. A commonly used catchphrase of Sinn Féin is Tiocfaidh ár lá!, meaning our day will come. This spell was first used by Bobby Sands. Unlike other Irish nationalist parties in Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin used threats of violence as a strategy until 1990. The party has strong links with the Irish Republican Army and is said to be the political wing of this paramilitary organization. Gerry Adams has played an important role in the party's history, serving as party leader in the Republic of Ireland until 2018. In Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness was party leader until the end of 2016. He was also deputy prime minister in coalition governments with the Democratic Unionist Party since 2007.

New leadership

At the end of 2016, McGuinness was succeeded as party leader in Northern Ireland by Michelle O'Neill. Gerry Adams was succeeded in 2018 by Mary Lou McDonald as party leader in Ireland. Sinn Fein, led by O'Neill, won 27 out of 90 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly election on 2 March 2017, just 1 less than major rival DUP. For the first time, the unionist parties no longer had a majority in the Assembly. Due to the major contradictions between DUP and Sinn Féin, it took until January 2020 before a new coalition government for Northern Ireland could be formed. O'Neill became Deputy Prime Minister in this role. After Adams stepped down and McDonald took office as party leader, Sinn Féin initially achieved disappointing results in the 2019 European Parliament elections and the 2019 Irish local elections. elections the party lost votes and seats. The Sinn Féin candidate in the 2018 Irish presidential election finished second to last.In the 2019 British House of Commons elections, Sinn Féin managed to win seven seats in Northern Ireland