SINN FEIN DCU - Cumann Sheena Campbell
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INTRODUCTION TO SINN FÉIN & IRISH REPUBLICANISM
Sinn Féin is the oldest political party in Ireland. We take our name from the Irish Gaelic expression for ``We Ourselves''. Since being founded in 1905 we have worked for the right of Irish people as a whole to attain national self-determination, and have elected representatives in every major Irish town and city.
Modern Irish Republicans trace their political origins to the movement of the United Irishmen of the 1790s. They took their inspiration from the French Revolution and fought for the breaking of the political connection between Ireland and Britain, believing that only an independent Ireland could guarantee equality and prosperity for the Irish people.
Most of the leading figures of the United Irishmen were Presbyterian's and Protestants and a key part of their programme was unity between Irish people of all religions in the cause of liberty. Their rebellion in 1798 was ruthlessly suppressed, but their ideas continued to inspire Irish nationalists for over a century and a half.
The separatist strand of Irish nationalism waxed and waned in the 19th Century, enjoying it's biggest popular following in the Fenian movement in Ireland and the United States in the late 1850s and 1860s, but by the end of the century, the organised demand for complete separation was almost nonexistent.
The name Sinn Féin (We Ourselves) first emerged in the early 1900s. It was a federation of nationalist clubs and eventually, all nationalists to the left of the Irish Parliamentary Party at Westminster came to be popularly known as Sinn Féiners. The press of the time called the 1916 Rising the "Sinn Féin Rebellion".
The Sinn Féin party, reorganised in 1917, was based on the demand for an Irish Republic. It won the 1918 general election overwhelmingly and set up Dáil Éireann (Assembly of Ireland). Following three years of guerrilla war, led by the underground republican government, the party split in 1922 on the issue of the Treaty which partitioned Ireland. Throughout the 1920s, following a devastating Civil War, Sinn Féin continued as the republican party. It's fortunes ebbed and flowed in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the IRA's border campaign, during which it enjoyed some electoral success.
In the 1960s, Sinn Féin adopted a more radical stance on social and economic affairs. But differing approaches to the Civil Rights Movement and to the outbreak of the present conflict in the Six Counties led to another split. One section of Sinn Féin was in the process of abandoning the republican demand for British withdrawal from Ireland and went through various transformations such as the Workers' Party and Democratic Left before eventually merging with the 26-County Labour Party.
The Sinn Féin which emerged in 1970 - popularly known at the time as 'Provisional' Sinn Féin - was to evolve through the '70s and ' 80s to the party we know today. It was to the forefront of the resistance of the nationalist people in the Six Counties, as they saw their peaceful demand for civil rights met with state violence. Sinn Féin again took on the role of the leading advocate of British withdrawal and a 32-county Ireland and campaigned on the streets throughout Ireland in the 1970s.
It was only in the early 1980s that the challenge of Sinn Féin as a serious political force and central element in the republican struggle was first fully felt. The re-evaluation of strategy and reorganisation which resulted from the mass campaign in support of republican prisoners in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh and Armagh Jail before and during the 1981 Hunger Strike (when ten prisoners died) set Sinn Féin on its present-day course
Despite the efforts of its political opponents, especially the British government which has adopted many measures to curb its electoral success, Sinn Féin continues to be a formidable electoral force.
In the Six Counties, Sinn Féin has registered votes of more than twenty per cent of the total electorate and a majority of the nationalist electorate.
Sinn Féin has also advanced rapidly in the 26 Counties. The election campaign in May 2002 produced further gains for the party. In the Six Counties, Sinn Féin is the leading nationalist party. We have four Westminster MPs, 18 MLAs, 118 councillors, and two ministers in the Executive and the all-Ireland Ministerial Council. In the 26 Counties, the party currently has five TDs and 57 councillors. Continued Sinn Féin campaigning reaffirms that there is a large nationalist population who continue to demand and work for justice, freedom and real democracy across Ireland.
A RADICAL VOICE
Sinn Féin is the fastest-growing political party in Ireland.
It is a republican and labour party, taking its inspiration from the politics of Wolfe Tone, James Connolly and the 1916 Easter Rising.
Sinn Féin, the only all-Ireland party, is committed to achieving a 32-County democratic socialist republic and the end of British rule in Ireland.
Sinn Féin is nationalist and internationalist. It is anti-imperialist, anti-fascist and anti-racist.
Sinn Féin, a fresh alternative to the stale politics, corruption and mismanagement of the Establishment parties, is committed to achieving real change in Irish society. Sinn Féin is working to bring about an end to the sectarian Six-County state.
Organised throughout the 32 Counties, it is a radical, campaigning, activist party. It is dedicated to achieving a society free from prejudice and discrimination, and providing justice and equal opportunity for all in an independent Ireland.
Sinn Féin is working hard to achieve the implementation of its progressive policies on:
Irish unity and independence
Implement the Good Friday Agreement
Equality and Justice
Sharing the wealth
Workers' Rights and Industrial Relations
Health and Social Services
Education and Culture
European Union and World Trade
Sinn Féin has a well-earned reputation for hard work, honesty and integrity.
If you want to make a lasting and worthwhile contribution to building a better future for all, then Sinn Féin is the party for you
How is Sinn Féin organised?
Sinn Féin is organised throughout the 32 Counties of Ireland. Anyone who lives in Ireland and is aged 16 or over can apply to be a member of the party. The Sinn Féin structure is:-
Cumann (Local or Workplace Branch)
The cumann is the most important part of Sinn Féin because it is the most visible and active republican presence in any community.
A cumann must consist of no fewer than five people and a recommended maximum of 20. It can be organised in a workplace, college, university, village, town or city.
Members of a cumann elect delegates to the comhairle ceantair, the cúige, and the party's annual Ard Fheis (National Delegate Conference).
Cumann members carry out a regular programme of activity on a wide range of social, economic and political issues.
The core aims of Sinn Féin cumainn are to mobilise and help empower communities and build popular support for the party by articulating and implementing republican policies.
Comhairle Ceantair (District Executive)
The Comhairle Ceantair is based on county electoral areas and provides a resource as well as direction to all cumainn in its area. The Comhairle Ceantair oversees party organisation, fund-raising and local election campaigns and initiatives.
Cúige (Regional Executive)
Sinn Féin cúigi are based on the five European Union electoral constituencies in Ireland - Dublin, Leinster, Munster, Connacht/Ulster, the Six Counties. It organises, publicises, develops and co-ordinates Sinn Féin activities in its region.
It is made up of an officer board elected from among the delegates nominated by the region's comhairli ceantair and cumainn.
Coiste Seasta (Standing Committee)
The Coiste Seasta meets every week to ten days to oversee the day-to-day running of Sinn Féin.
It is an eight-member body nominated by the Ard Chomhairle and also includes the chairperson of each cúige.
Ard Chomhairle (National Executive)
The 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:-
•Ógra Shinn Féin
It is made up of the following: Officer Board and nine other members, all of whom are elected by delegates to the Ard Fheis, 15 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 30 per cent of Ard Chomhairle members are women.
Ard Fheis (National Delegate Conference)
The Ard Fheis is the ultimate policy-making body of Sinn Féin 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
Sinn Féin Press Office, 44 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Tel: +353-1-8726100 and +353-1-8726839 Fax +353-1-8733074
E-mail: email@example.com · Website:http://www.sinnfein.ie