07 May 2022 12:00 AM

Sinn Féin

07 May 2022

Overview

Sinn Féin is a left-wing Irish Republican Party. In English, its name is translated as ‘(We) Ourselves’. It is the only political party that is active both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.

It is the largest Irish nationalist party in Northern Ireland.

Electoral Representation

In the 2022 Northern Ireland Assembly elections at Stormont, Sinn Féin became the largest party in Northern Ireland. It polled 29% of the vote and won the largest number of seats in the Assembly, winning 27 out of the total of 90 seats.

In the 2019 General Election, Sinn Féin received 22.8% of the Northern Irish vote, winning seven of Northern Ireland’s 18 seats. Sinn Féin MPs refuse to take up their seats as they would have to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen to do so

The Party has a further 105 councillors across Northern Ireland.

South of the Border, in the Republic of Ireland, support for Sinn Féin amongst Irish voters has been growing considerably in recent years. Sinn Féin won 24.5% share of the vote in the 2020 Dáil Éireann election in Ireland.

Historically Sinn Fein has sat in government in the Northern Ireland Executive. Traditionally the second largest party, through Martin McGuiness and then Michelle O’Neill , the party traditionally occupied the post of Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister.

With Sinn Fein becoming the largest party in Northern Ireland, it is now entitled to hold the position of First Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill is the party leader in Northern Ireland.

Rise of Sinn Fein: Irish unity is now mainstream

Recent History of Sinn Fein

In the 1970s, Sinn Fein was divided over the issue of parliamentary abstentionism: with one wing of the party pushing any elected representatives to take up their elected seats (the anti-abstentionists), and another wing strongly opposing this.

The anti-abstentionists split to form ‘Official Sinn Féin’, later known as ‘Sinn Féin – The Workers’ Party’ and then simply as ‘The Workers’ Party’. The breakaway ‘Workers Party’ failed to achieve the success of Sinn Fein itself.

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