Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein


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In 1902 Arthur Griffith founded a new Irish Republican group called (Ourselves Alone). Originally a cultural revival movement it gradually became a political movement and by 1916 James Connolly had emerged as one of the key figures in the struggle for Irish independence. Connolly led the Easter Rising in 1916 and as a result sixteen of the leaders of Sinn Fein were executed.

Sinn Fein put up 102 candidates in the 1918 General Election and won 497,107 votes. The seventy three elected members of parliament did not attend the House of Commons and instead established their own independent parliament in Dublin.


SINN FÉIN.

The Irish radical nationalist political movement and party, Sinn Féin, was founded around 1905. However, the present Sinn Féin party's claim to be the oldest political party in Ireland disguises profound changes in its ideology, tactics, and personnel over the course of the twentieth century. Translating as "Ourselves" and promoting the principle of Irish self-reliance, the Sinn Féin movement emerged from a number of political groups, including Cumann na nGaedheal (founded 1900) led by Arthur Griffith, the National Council (1903), and the Dungannon Clubs (1905) in Belfast. The Dungannon Clubs and Cumann na nGaedheal merged in April 1907 as the Sinn Féin League, becoming Sinn Féin in 1908. Although Sinn Féin contested many local elections and the 1908 North Leitrim by-election (which proved a crushing defeat), the movement was always more of a pressure group than merely a political party, providing a meeting ground for various disparate nationalists, feminists, pacifists, socialists, and Irish language enthusiasts, brought together by their rejection of Irish devolution (Home Rule) and using the radical nationalist press to convey its message. Griffith was the party's principle ideologue, despite his unwillingness to become involved in formal party politics. Griffith's two major works, The Resurrection of Hungary (1904) and The Sinn Féin Policy (1906), suggested that Ireland, under a system of dual monarchy with the English Crown, should become economically self-reliant and that Irish members of Parliament (MPs) would abstain from Westminster and create an Irish national assembly instead.


The Rising, Sinn Fein and the Treaty

During the Easter Rising about twenty young men from the Barnaderg area met occasionally and did some drilling to later join the Barnaderg company. The company was divided into two half-companies with a lieutenant in charge of each they drilled separately. They were called the Togher half-company and the Barnaderg half-company. The two half-companies, about fifty to sixty men, came together occasionally at the Addergoole Sinn Fein hall in Killererin parish.[1]

After the Easter Rising

After the Easter Rising had taken place, the Sinn Fein organisation was strong in Killererin and remained properly organised until the Truce of 1921. In 1918, the British Conscription for Ireland Act was introduced. This had the effect of bringing a big number of recruits into the Barnaderg Company, the majority remaining until the conscription passed. Arms and ammunition were obtained by raids during the winter of 1919 and early in 1920. About twenty-five shotguns were collected.

Patrick Duleavy

Members of the Tuam Company had been mobilised in 1916. Some were later arrested, including Patrick Dunleavy from Coolreagh. However, in 1917 he became Quartermaster of the Tuam Battalion, in 1918 Captain of the Dunmore Company, from 1919 till 1920 he was O/C of the Claremorris Battalion, Co. Mayo, and from January 1921 until the Truce of the same year he was O/C of the North Galway Brigade. On one occasion, he was in charge of an ambush of RIC and Black and Tans at Lissavalley – between Derreen and Barnaderg – and in April 1920, he received a death threat: “Prepare for death”. He kept it as a talisman for the rest of his life. Shortly after the threat, he was sent to North Galway by General Head Quarters to rebuild the brigade that had been decimated by Auxiliary action.[2]

Barnaderg Captains

From 1917, there were ten companies in the Tuam Battalion. The names of the Barnaderg Captains were Michael Ryan, Thomas Dunleavy and Timothy Dunleavy.[3] Michael J. Ryan, also from Coolreagh, was the captain of the Barnaderg Volunteers, Tuam Battalion. He was born in December 1894. After secondary education, at the age of about 16, he worked on his father’s farm in Coolreagh. He joined the Tuam Company of the Irish Volunteers at the age of 20.

Football match banned

About this time, Gaelic football and hurling were banned by the British except where a permit was obtained from the authorities. The Barnaderg club applied without the knowledge of the Volunteers and was granted a permit. The local sergeant of the RIC said that everything was in order for the playing of the match. After a meeting of some Volunteer officers, the match was called off because it was to be played under a British permit.[4]

Meeting in Addergoole Sinn Féin Hall

During Christmas 1919, a meeting was held in the Addergoole Sinn Fein hall. Present at that meeting were the Barnaderg captains and others. It was decided to join the Sylane Company for an attack on the Castlhackett RIC barracks that was to take place in early January 1920. By Easter 1920, a number of other RIC barracks were destroyed by the IRA, among them the Barnaderg RIC Barracks (Glenrock House), which was burned on Easter night. It had been evacuated only a short time before that and the Sergeant’s wife, Mrs Cain, was living there with her children. They were taken to safety by the IRA before the barracks was burned with the use of paraffin oil. Officer in charge was Michael Moran, O/C Tuam battalion.[5]

History of Addergoole Sinn Féin Hall

Addergoole Sinn Fein hall, where the attacks were planned, was originally a disused house, but it was converted into a meeting place for the company and was also used for fund-raising activities from 1917. The labour in the reconstruction of the house was voluntary and the cost of the materials was repaid out of proceeds of Céilis, lectures and Irish classes. The hall was destroyed by fire by the RIC and Black and Tans on the 19th July 1920.[6] That night Tuam was also attacked by the same force of RIC and Black and Tans because four RIC men had been ambushed near Tuam and two of them, Constables Carey and Burke, had been shot dead.

Arrest of Michael Moran in Castleview, Barnaderg

In November 1920, Michael Moran was arrested on a Thursday night at the house of his sister, Mrs Dolan, Castleview. He had been working on his brother-in-law’s farm. He was not long inside when ‘the house was surrounded by auxiliary police and saw there was no means of escape’.[7] The house was entered by four or five persons with flashlights and revolvers who immediately began a search of the premises.[8] A young servant boy was questioned and a revolver held to his head while he was in bed. Mr and Mrs Dolan’s room was the last searched and here Moran was found. Later, he was released but re-arrested.[9] Moran was killed while a prisoner at Nun’s Island, Galway, in November 1920. His body was brought to the Tuam cathedral where there was an unarmed guard of honour of Volunteers. About 200 Volunteers marched in military formation, but British forces with fixed bayonets broke through their ranks and pushed them into the side of the road. They formed a cordon between the immediate relatives and the general public. The Archbishop of Tuam, Thomas Gilmartin (1918-1939) protested vigorously but to no avail.[10]

Fr. Brett, C.C., Killererin was a very active member of Sinn Féin

When a large anti-conscription meeting was held in Tuam, a big march from Barnaderg into the town was organised by M.J. Ryan, Patrick Dunleavy, his brother Thomas and Fr. Brett CC, Killererin. The priest was the principal speaker at the event. He was a very active Sinn Fein member. The RIC in Barnaderg never attended second Mass which was always said by him. He frequently managed to bring into his sermon a reference to the political situation as it was then and he openly condemned the RIC for their part in holding the country for the British. Once, when an elderly man noted that the RIC were approaching and said in Irish “Tá na preacháin ag teacht go dti an Chruinniu” (the crows are coming to the meeting), he answered “Ní miste liom” (I don’t care).[11]

Robbery of McHugh’s shop, Barnaderg by IRA in 1921

In 1921, the Treaty was signed but was not accepted by all and this divided communities and even families. Some were pro and some were anti treaty. In 1923, on a Monday night about 11p.m., a number of men knocked and were admitted to the shop of Mr John McHugh, Barnaderg. Two of them had revolvers and were not disguised, while the other three were masked but had no revolvers. They said they were IRA men and proceeded to take goods from the place. They took 249lbs of bacon, 40 pairs of boots, 12lbs of tobacco and 5 shillings in cash. The Post Office was attached to the shop premises but the raiders did no damage there beyond upsetting papers and evidently searching for money which was not in the place.[12]

Witness statement of Michael Ryan, Coolreagh

[1] Bureau of Military History, ‘Statement of Michael Joseph Ryan’, (http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/
[2] Dominic Price, The Flame and the Candle, War in Mayo 1919 – 1924 (Dublin, 2012), p 97.
[3] Bureau of Military History , ‘Statement of Michael Joseph Ryan’ (http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/bmhsearch/ .
[4] ibid
[5] William Henry, Blood for Blood, The Black and Tan War in Galway, (Cork, 2013), p.39
[6] Bureau of Military History , ‘Statement of Michael Joseph Ryan’ (http://www.bureauofmilitaryhistory.ie/bmhsearch/
[7] Bureau of Military History , 1913 -1921
[8] ibid
[9] ibid
[10] ibid
[11] Fr Kieran Waldron’s, The Archbishop’s of Tuam, 1700 – 2000, P.110
[12] Connacht Tribune, 14th April 1923.

Comments about this page

Very interesting. The Dunleavy’s referenced in the article are some kind of distant relatives but I have never met their descendants. Maybe I should have tried. On another vein, I recently had a book published: “Irish Immigration to Latin America.” It’s available on Amazon and other main sites. Most people don’t know that a large section of Argentina was all Irish Farms.

Delighted to hear from you. One of your descendants lives in Barbersfort House which is not far from me and both he and his wife are members of our committee. I knew that about Argentina alright. If you would like to submit a short excerpt for publication on our website, we would love to have it. Thank you for getting in touch.


The League of Women Delegates & Sinn Féin

The 1917 Sinn Féin Convention was a crucial watershed in the Irish struggle for national independence. It was the culmination of a process of reorganisation that had begun almost as soon as the quicklime had settled upon the bodies of the executed leaders of the Easter Rising. For a significant group of Irish women, many of whom had taken part in the rising, some having husbands or other relatives who had sacrificed their lives to the cause, the task of perfecting the political machinery so that resistance could be continued was not their only concern. They were determined to ensure that the policies of the movement lived up to the promise contained in the Proclamation of the Republic, that ‘equal rights and equal opportunities’ would be enjoyed by all citizens in the future Irish Republic. The failed insurrection of 1916, as Irish suffragist Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington recognised, was unique in being ‘the only instance…in history where men fighting for freedom voluntarily included women’. Now the men who had made that commitment were dead and republican women were left to consider how their pledge could be put into effect.

Women most active post-1916

The Rising had been dubbed the ‘Sinn Féin rebellion’ by those at a loss to know how else to describe it. In reality, Sinn Féin had declined to little more than a newspaper edited by its founder, Arthur Griffith. Those who had taken part in the Rising—the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army and the women’s organisation, Cumann na mBan—together with Sinn Féin and other small nationalist groups, were faced

Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington-1916 ‘the only
instance … in history where men tlghting for
freedom voluntarily included women’.

with the daunting challenge of creating an entirely new political movement in the midst of disarray and military defeat. During the months the prisoners remained in jail, those on the outside concentrated their energies in organising relief for dependants and in revitalising the national spirit through commemorative masses for the executed leaders and in defiant welcoming ceremonies for those released from jail. Nearly all of this work was undertaken by women. For the first year after the Rising, the demands on their time were such that political women were unable to consider their own needs in the changing circumstances in which they found themselves. Gradually, however, they discovered that the task of reorganisation was beginning and the realisation began to dawn that if they did not insist upon a voice in this process their male comrades would have reorganised and determined future policies without consultation or inclusion of their female colleagues.

The recognition that women were in danger of being marginalised came about in the aftermath of an important meeting held on 19 April, 1917, almost exactly one year after the Rising. Count Plunkett, father of one of the executed leaders, had convened the meeting to determine whether his ‘Liberty Clubs’ or Arthur Griffith’s Sinn Féin would become the nucleus of the new nationalist political movement. The issue was not resolved, but it was agreed that negotiations would continue and a number of people were selected for this purpose. The only woman on what was called the ‘Council of Nine’ was Countess Plunkett, the wife of the Count. Many women were unhappy at this situation, doubtful whether the elderly Countess was suitable for the task and angry that their sex should have been given only one representative. One month after the 19 April meeting, the dissidents came together to discuss the situation.

Dr Kathleen Lynn-replaced Countess
Plunkett as ‘sale representative’ on Sinn
Fein’s ‘Council of Nine’.

League of Women Delegates formed

Those who attended this meeting included representatives of the Inghinidhe branch of Cumann na mBan, executive members of Cumann na mBan, the Irish Women Workers’ Union and women from the Irish Citizen Army. The venue was the home of Countess Plunkett. Significantly, each meeting of this informal group took place in the home of a member, apart from one, hastily convened in the bathroom adjoining the Round Room of the Mansion House. Although they were prominent women, well respected within nationalist circles, when it came to organising an internal caucus to further women’s interests they seem to have decided it would provoke less controversy if they stayed away from public venues. The minutes of all the meetings of this group, who called themselves the ‘League of Women Delegates’, were scrupulously kept, hand-written in a hardback exercise book. Other than that source, we would know very little about the existence of this group of feminist nationalists. Understanding the controversies they engaged in and the resistance they encountered adds considerably to our appreciation of the determination of that generation of women activists to fight for the interests of their sex.
Aine Ceannt, widow of Eamon Ceannt, was one of the principal figures in the group. She chaired its first meeting. Countess Plunkett was asked to give an account of the ‘Council of Nine’, on which she represented the women of Ireland. There was obviously a feeling that this one representative, selected rather than elected, was an inadequate symbol of Irish women’s newly acquired status, particularly now that they had the guarantee of future equality contained in the Proclamation of the Republic. The first

Helena Molony-seconded the motion
demanding six women representatives.

decision the group came to was low-key and nonconfrontational. Madeleine ffrench-Mullen (a former member of the Citizen Army garrison in Stephen’s Green) was instructed to write to Dr Dillon (son-in-law of the Plunketts) asking him to point out the fact, when writing to nationalists around the country, that women were equally eligible to be delegates on all Councils.
The women at this meeting represented a considerable cross-section of opinion. It was agreed that they would reconvene from time to time, to discuss subjects of importance which might arise. They realised that they needed the strength that numbers could give. It was not sufficient to rely upon their various individual organisations as a means of formulating demands. Taken separately, their numbers were much fewer and Cumann na mBan and the Irish Women Workers’ Union, as ‘women’s organisations’ had little influence wit

hin the overall movement. The pace of events began to quicken. Political reoganisation was continuing, differences of opinion between the male leaders were being smoothed over, but all this was occurring without any consultation of women. In June the group met at the home of Aine Ceannt in order to consider their response to the news that the ‘Council of Nine’ was about to co-opt six new members from the prisoners who had been released. None of those members would be women. A great feeling of indignation was evident, despite the constraints imposed by the convention of formal minute-taking.

Women of the National Aid Association, comprised of members of Cuman na mBan, Clan na nCael and the Irish Citizens’ Army, photographed in the summer of 1916 in the garden of Mr and Mrs Ely O’Carroll. Madeline

Countess Plunkett, the ‘sole representative’ of the women of Ireland was ‘unfortunately laid up’, and unable to participate in the Council so the women took the decision to appoint Dr Kathleen Lynn (formerly medical officer of the Irish Citizen Army) as substitute. They had no intention of asking male permission for this change. Jenny Wyse-Power, seconded by Helena Moloney, then proposed the

Taking into consideration the number of members of your executive, we, representing the various interests of the great bulk of the women of Ireland, propose a representation of six, to be chosen by our body.


‘Surprise and indignation’

The suspicion that women were being ignored was confirmed by the news that a new committee, calling itself the Sinn Féin Executive Committee, had been formed through an amalgamation of Sinn Féin and the Liberty Clubs. It was a cause of ‘much surprise and indignation’, the minutes noted, to discover that the new organisation refused to include Cumann na mBan representatives although men from the Irish Volunteers were automatically to be co-opted. If Cumann na mBan was the female counterpart of the Volunteers, the women could not understand why they were denied an equality of representation within this new, enlarged organisation. To make matters worse, the men insisted that societies standing for Sinn Féin alone were the only ones that could be represented. There was obviously one rule for the men and another for the women. The League of Women, struggling to determine what was happening in an organisation which had to all intents and purposes excluded their sex from its deliberations, expressed ‘much surprise and dissatisfaction’ that their representative, Countess Plunkett, had not informed them of this new reorganisation, despite the fact that the amalgamation of groups had taken place some six to eight weeks previously.
It was clear that some of the most politically astute women in the nationalist movement suspected that they were being sold out, their claims to equality ignored in the political machinations underway, and that an agenda was being created in which they would have no voice or influence. They were not going to accept this state of affairs.

Constance Markievicz co-opted

The remaining prisoners were released on 16 June. Eamon de Valera, the only surviving commandant of Easter Week was now free and prepared to take over the mantle of leader from the opposing factions headed by Count Plunkett and Arthur Griffith. Also released was the most prominent of all female republicans, Constance Markievicz. At their next meeting, on 30 July, the League of Women co-opted Markievicz as a member. Discussion once again centred around what their tactics should be in the continuing and so far unsuccessful campaign to ensure adequate representation of women within the overall political organisation.
Their next move was a direct challenge to the reorganised Sinn Féin. Their previous request for representation having been ignored, some now argued for a deputation to the Sinn Féin offices. They decided on a less confrontational tactic to begin with, and another letter was written demanding that six women be co-opted immediately onto the executive of Sinn Féin. Their nominees were Kathleen Clarke, Aine Ceannt, Jenny Wyse-Power, Kathleen Lynn, Helena Moloney and Alice Ginnell. Women’s anger at their visible lack of importance was barely concealed:

Seeing that you are enlarging your Council to include six members of the Irish Nation League elected by that body, and also six prisoners to be elected by the prisoners, the time seems opportune to include also six women, elected by women.

The precedent of the Proclamation was cited, but the women did not want to rest their case on this precedent. Their claim, they stated firmly, was also

based on the risks women took, equally with the men, to have the Irish Republic established, the necessity of having their organised co-operation in the further struggle to free Ireland and the advantage of having their ideas on many social problems likely to arise in the near future.

Underlying this was the implicit threat that women’s co-operation might be withheld if they continued to feel as marginalised and undervalued as they did at that particular time.

Constance Marlcievicz–co-opted as a
member of the League of Women in July
1917.

Request for representation refused

The request was refused. The next meeting, on 17 September (a time lag which probably indicates that Sinn Féin took its time before replying), was held at the home of Kathleen Lynn. Helena Moloney, always an advocate of direct action, urged an immediate deputation to the offices of Sinn Féin, but others felt that this might lead to further humiliation. Someone said, in bitter tones, that women had ‘applied often enough’. Instead of courting another rejection it was decided to ask Cumann na mBan to use its influence to persuade Sinn Féin of the importance of drawing women into the organisation. A Sinn Féin Convention was being planned—an event which, it was hoped, would bring together all the various separatist groupings in a new agreed organisation that would take account of the changing circumstances. The majority feeling was that it would be a wise move to join Sinn Féin because if women were members they could ensure that women had a presence at the Convention. The only dissenting voice was that of Fiona Plunkett, who remained loyal to her father’s rival Liberty Clubs. Kathleen Lynn, still acting as the substitute for the unwell Countess Plunkett, was mandated to bring before the Sinn Féin executive a resolution which would stress the fact that ‘men’ should be taken as including women, and that in all speeches men and women should be mentioned. It was hoped that by bringing this to the executive and getting their backing before the Convention, it would then go forward as an executive resolution. This would have greater weight than a resolution coming from women alone.
It seems unbelievable that the women were not granted the courtesy of a reply to their letter, but they were not. They finally agreed that they had no option but to march in deputation to Sinn Féin. The stalwart figure of Jenny Wyse-Power, a former vice-president of the old Sinn Féin, headed a group consisting of herself, Aine Ceannt, Helena Moloney and Fiona Plunkett. All the different viewpoints within the women’s united front were represented. Aine Ceannt was actively involved in recruiting for Cumann na mBan, Jenny Wyse-Power was a member of Cumann na mBan and the Irish Women’s Franchise League, Helena Moloney was working for the Irish Women Workers’ Union, Fiona Plunkett represented the younger generation of women activists.
At long last the women succeeded in extracting a significant concession: four (not six) ‘ladies’ would be co-opted onto the executive, on the understanding that none of them represented any organisation, and that they were all members of a Sinn Féin branch. There was obvious concern to prevent the possibility of the formation of an organised feminist caucus. The four members of the deputation were confirmed as delegates, although Aine Ceannt, in the interests of continuity, stood down in favour of Kathleen Lynn who had been only a temporary replacement for Countess Plunkett. Four months after the informal ‘League of Women Delegates’ had been formed, their efforts had met with success. Women were now on the executive of a regenerated Sinn Féin.

Few women delegates selected

Women were a visible and vocal presence at the Sinn Fein Convention of 1917, as historians have noted, but the carefully recorded testimony of the League of Women enables us to understand how different reality was from appearance. There was great excitement in the last weeks leading up to the Convention. The women hoped the event would provide them with an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from all over the country so that their Dublin-based group could be extended and put onto a more formal footing. However, while they were planning a social event and an inaugural meeting to launch this new organisation they were dismayed to discover that only twelve women had been selected as delegates to a convention which would have more than one thousand participants. The ordinary Sinn Féin member was not ready to have women represent his interests in this important meeting in Dublin. Rosamund Jacob from Waterford was possibly the only woman from outside the capital to have crossed the gender barrier at this time.
Despite this set-back, they met at the home of Countess Plunkett on the Thursday evening before the start of the weekend proceedings. Winifred Carney and a number of other women from Belfast were amongst the gathering. They realised that it was premature to launch an all-Ireland organisation but they agreed to continue in their task of promoting women’s interests in as many spheres as possible. They decided to Gaelicise their name to Cumann na Teachtaire and to work to ensure that women would be elected onto public boards and onto all institutions within the Sinn Féin organisation. Reluctantly, they had to drop the idea of producing a women’s newspaper, but they agreed to produce leaflets and to try to link up with other women’s societies.
When the Convention met, the women’s resolution, originally drawn up by the League of Women, was proposed by Kathleen Lynn and seconded by Jenny Wyse-Power: ‘that the equality of men and women in this organisation be emphasised in all speeches and leaflets’. It was passed, by general agreement. The women’s tactic in getting executive backing had paid off. Another resolution, proposed by Lawrence Ginnell, urging that women form half of all co-optees onto the executive, was ruled out of order. However, a precedent had been set, and four women were elected to the new twenty-four member executive, while considerable numbers of women were later co-opted onto the various organisations set up by Sinn Féin as it refined its machinery of civil resistance to British rule in Ireland.

Women continued to play an active role in
the War of Independence, as this photograph
of an unidentified IRA flying column
demonstrates. (Kilmainhaim Gaol Collection)

1918 general and 1920 local elections

These co-options were neither inevitable nor automatic. They would not have occurred without continued pressure from Cumann na Teachtaire. The battle over the Convention of 1917 was only the beginning of a long process. Resolutions promising equality meant nothing if women were not represented within all levels of the nationalist movement and that struggle was one which continued throughout the War of Independence. Cumann na Teachtaire realised they had been unprepared for the difficulties involved in persuading Sinn Féin to select women candidates for the 1918 election. Kathleen Clarke, imprisoned in Holloway jail, discovered that male machinations had prevented her from being selected and Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington rejected the offer of an unwinnable constituency so Constance Markievicz and Winifred Carney were, in the end, the only female candidates. Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington also protested that the Markievicz election campaign had been the worst in the country. It would appear that the male Sinn Féiners left it up to the women to canvass for their candidate, and their inexperience showed.
Well in advance of lists of candidates being compiled for the local government elections in 1920, Cumann na Teachtaire wrote to Sinn Féin with names of suitable women who were willing to stand. They also asked Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, an exceptionally able public speaker, to organise a speakers class for women. This preparation led to numbers of women (including the majority of those who had been actively involved in organising for such increased public representation) becoming councillors and poor law guardians in the January and June elections of 1920. The intensification of the War of Independence forced many nationalist organisations underground and the League of Women/Cumann na Teachtaire ceased to meet after January 1919. Their efforts had achieved a certain amount for women, but it was obvious that considerable resistance to their presence within Sinn Féin remained. In her capacity as Director of Organisation of Sinn Féin, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington felt obliged to conclude her instructions to Sinn Féin Cumainn for the period 1921-22 with the following blunt exhortation:

An impression exists in some districts that membership of Cumainn is confined to men. This is a mistake and every effort should be made to secure (sic) that women shall not only be on the roll of members, but take an active share in the work of Cumainn and the Sinn Féin movement generally.

Sadly, once that organisation of independent and outspoken women disappeared, the commitment to continue to promote equality between the sexes lost its momentum. Irish women from every walk of life were the losers.

Margaret Ward lectures in history at Bath College of Higher Education.

Minute book of Cumann na Teachtaire: Sheehy-Skeffington Collection, National Library of Ireland, ms 21,194 (47).

M. Ward, Unmanageable Revolutionaries: Women and Irish Nationalism (London 1995).


IRA support for the Nazis (separate page)

And it's not like this is ancient history. SF-IRA have continued to today this tradition of opposing the Western democracies and supporting their enemies.

    They opposed the democracy of Britain and supported the imperialist military junta of Argentina in the Falklands War in 1982.


It is clear that SF-IRA will never stand with the democracies, no matter who they fight. It is clear that, in a similar situation to WW2 in the future, SF-IRA would behave in more or less the same way.

    1976 to 1983. estimates (see here and here) that Argentina's military dictatorship killed 20,000 people in democide, 1976-82. . Tens of thousands of regime opponents killed. , Catholic priest, chaplain of the Buenos Aires Police, convicted of war crimes.
  • Margaret Thatcher did a great service to the world (and to Argentina) in helping to bring down this regime.
  • Remember that SF-IRA supported this regime.


Lessons From The Falklands by Mark Steyn, January 2003, sums it up: "The Falklands War is the decisive war of the last quarter-century, if only because it's the one the world - like Galtieri - never expected. It marks the dividing line between the free world's territorial losses of the Sixties and Seventies and its gains in the Eighties and Nineties ."



The Falklands as an entity pre-dates Argentina as an entity.
This is 1827 map. See full size.
See also 1807 map and 1818 map. No such thing as "Argentina" on any of them.

If it is at war with the Western democracies, SF-IRA will have time for it and may ally with it.

  • Republican support for the Bolsheviks in 1918.
  • Republican links to the Soviet Union in the 1920s.
  • Sean Russell (later a Nazi ally) and Gerald Boland (later an anti-IRA FF Minister) went to Soviet Russia in 1923 seeking aid.

  • 1979 Brussels bombing (British Army headquarters in West Germany)
  • Attacks in 1988 to 1990 in West Germany, 1989 (wife of a British soldier). in West Germany in 1989. in the Netherlands, 1990 (mistaken for British soldiers).
    by Liam O Ruairc. SF-IRA links to North Korea in the 1980s.
  • The main link between Sinn Fein and North Korea was Gerry MacLochlainn.

The Palestinians and other Islamists are openly anti-semitic and proud of it. SF-IRA and other republicans have a range of trendy reasons why they support these anti-semites. They claim it is nothing to do with anti-semitism, and for some of them that is probably true. But this is a movement that supported Nazi Germany, remember.

  • IRA link to PLO examined in hunt for deadly sniper , 10 Mar 2002.
  • From West Belfast to the West Bank by David Vance, May 8, 2002.
  • IRA + PLO = Terror, by Rachel Ehrenfeld, August 21, 2002.
  • IRA-PLO cooperation: A long, cozy relationship , Sean Gannon, Apr 7, 2009. He notes that the IRA has helped Islamic and Islamist terrorists, and its technology is still helping them today: "recently, Britain has claimed that IRA-developed bomb-making technology passed on to Hizbullah has been used against its forces in Iraq ."


This is not a joke. This is real.
This is a real mural in Belfast, 2002.
Picture from here.
The terrorist butcher Yasser Arafat is tagged as "Peacemaker - A life devoted to conflict resolution" !
I tweeted: "A life devoted to conflict resolution through bombing airplanes, cafes, shops and buses."



SF-IRA types generally identify with any violent revolutionaries attacking a liberal democracy.
From Derry Friends of Palestine.



During the 2021 Gaza war, convicted IRA terrorist bomber and Sinn Fein Councillor Jim McVeigh, 12 May 2021, calls for rocket terrorist attacks on random Jewish and Arab civilians in Israel: "The modern decadence of Tel Aviv is an insult to the orphans & the ruins of Gaza. Let the rockets rain down."



Declan Kearney of Sinn Fein hanging out with Hamas in Nov 2016.

Sarah Holland was a Sinn Fein councillor from 2014 to 2019.
She then made the short journey to working for a right-wing Islamic dictatorship. That is the kind of foreign government that Shinners like.
Sarah Holland's Linkedin.
How shameful that an Irish person would work for the dictatorship of "Palestine".
Human rights under Palestinian rule: No elections. No democracy. No religious freedom. No sexual freedom. Promotion of anti-semitism and terrorism.
I would say it is incredible that any Irish politician would work for this dictatorship. But for Sinn Fein, it is not incredible at all.
  • Viper-tongued Sinn Fein councillor Enda Fanning (E.F. Fanning) has a particular hatred of Israel and a love for right-wing Islamism.
  • Here is Fanning (not yet a councillor) at a demo against Israel with other Shinners in July 2014.
  • Enda Fanning's Twitter existed in Dec 2020. Vanished as at Jan 2021.
  • Fanning again calls me "racist" in a Jan 2016 thread about Halawa. He never says anything else. It's his only argument.
    , a pro-Sinn Fein republican blogger. openly supports Islamist attacks on Israel, Dec 2008: "The PLO and other Palestinian Resistance organisations should avenge this attack with utmost severity."
  • He approvingly quotes an anonymous Dublin republican who says: "it is to be hoped that all Palestinian resistance groups will retaliate against this murderous aggression" . (The latter openly supports the Iraqi resistance.)

Michael Collins assassinated

Irish revolutionary and Sinn Fein politician Michael Collins is killed in an ambush in west County Cork, Ireland.

In the early part of the century, Collins joined Sinn Fein, an Irish political party dedicated to achieving independence for all Ireland. From its inception, the party became the unofficial political wing of militant Irish groups in their struggle to throw off British rule. In 1911, the British Liberal government approved negotiations for Irish Home Rule, but the Conservative Party opposition in Parliament, combined with Ireland’s anti-Home Rule factions, defeated the plans. With the outbreak of World War I, the British government delayed further discussion of Irish self-determination, and Collins and other Irish nationalists responded by staging the Easter Rising of 1916.

In 1918, with the threat of conscription being imposed on the island, the Irish people gave Sinn Fein a majority in national elections, and the party established an independent Irish parliament, Dail Eireann, which declared Ireland a sovereign republic. In 1919, Collins led the Irish Volunteers, a prototype of the Irish Republican Army, in a widespread and effective guerrilla campaign against British forces. Two years later, a cease-fire was declared, and Collins was one of the architects of the historic 1921 peace treaty with Great Britain, which granted autonomy to southern Ireland.

In January 1922, Sinn Fein founder Arthur Griffith was elected president of the newly established Irish Free State, and Collins was appointed as his finance minister. He held the post until he was assassinated by Republican extremists in August 1922.


1947–1968

In 1947 the IRA held its first Army Convention since United Irishman, was launched. Paddy McLogan served as President of Sinn Féin.

The re-organisation yielded fruit during the Border Campaign which was launched on 12 December 1956. In the Irish general election of 1957 Sinn Féin fielded 19 abstentionist candidates [39] and won four seats and 6.5% of the popular vote. The introduction of internment and the establishment of military tribunals hindered the IRA campaign and it was called off in 1962. [40] In the 1961 General Election the party won no seats and its vote dropped to 3.2%.

Tomas MacGiolla was elected president in 1962. His presidency marked a significant shift towards the left. The Wolfe Tone Directories were set up to encourage debate about policy. [41] The directory attracted many left wing thinkers and people associated with the Communist Party of Ireland such as Roy Johnston. In his analysis, the primary obstacle to Irish unity was the continuing division between the Protestant and Catholic working classes. This they attributed to the 'divide and rule' policies of capitalism, whose interests a divided working class served. Military activity was seen as counterproductive since its effect was to further entrench the sectarian divisions. If the working classes could be united in class struggle to overthrow their common rulers, it was believed that a 32-county socialist republic would be the inevitable outcome.

The party became involved in the Dublin Housing Action Committee, protests against ground-rent landlordism, and the co-operative movement. In one case Joe Clarke, a veteran of the Easter Rising, was ejected from a function commemorating the Rising, as he had interrupted (now President of Ireland) de Valera's speech with criticisms over Fianna Fái's poor provision of housing. Sinn Féin, which ran under the label "Republican Clubs" in the North, became involved with the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, although it never controlled it as some unionists believed.

However abstentionism was also a dominant feature of debate. Although Sinn Féin had taken seats at council level since the 1950s, many people in the party were becoming in favour of abandoning it while a significant number were still opposed to taking seats in "partitionist parliaments". Matters were not helped by a report from the Garland Commission, a committee led by Sean Garland to investigate and caucus opinion about abstentionism, which favoured ending the policy. Many were concerned about the downplaying of the role of the IRA. Opponents of the move would galvanise around Sean MacStiofain, Seamus Twomey and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh.


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Sinn Féin, in contrast, looked on aghast and continued to denounce any participation in parliamentary politics as treachery. By 1936 relations between Fianna Fáil and the IRA had soured, the government banning the organisation.

As the IRA became more isolated it decided to concentrate on a military campaign against partition. To secure the necessary legitimacy to ‘declare war’ on Britain, during 1938 it sought out seven former Sinn Féin TDs who maintained allegiance to the Second Dáil, who in turn passed on their governmental ‘authority’ to the IRA. (This is a position which some doctrinaire republicans still claim to hold today).

However, the IRA was effectively crushed both north and south during the war years and Sinn Féin remained marginal. Some republicans, despairing of political irrelevance, formed a new party called Clann na Poblachta, which became part of the first coalition government (with Fine Gael and Labour) in 1948.

Provisional IRA

The IRA leadership realised they needed a political face and effectively took over what remained of Sinn Féin. From 1948 the party was the public face of the IRA, though always a junior partner to it. During the 1950s the focus for republicans was on an armed struggle against partition, which began in 1956.

In the early stages of the ‘Border Campaign’ four Sinn Féin TDs were elected to the Dáil none took their seats. The armed campaign formally ended in early 1962, by which time all four seats had been lost. In the aftermath a new republican leadership, under Cathal Goulding, undertook a rethink, once again embracing social agitation and considering the possibility of taking parliamentary seats.

This policy was denounced by those such as Ruairí Ó Brádaigh who saw it as the first step towards abandoning republicanism. However, the violence which erupted in Belfast and elsewhere after August 1969 was the major reason for a new split in the republican movement.

Accusing the Dublin IRA leadership of having failed to protect nationalists, Belfast dissidents joined forces with southern traditionalists and formed the Provisional IRA in late 1969.

In early 1970 Sinn Féin also split, Goulding’s supporters becoming known as the ‘Officials.’ Official Sinn Féin dropped the abstentionist policy and as Sinn Féin-the Workers’ Party won its first Dáil seat in 1981. In 1989, as the Workers’ Party, it took seven seats.

Provisional Sinn Féin, meanwhile, led by Ó Bradáigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill, both senior IRA members, fully supported the IRA’s armed struggle, while maintaining a policy of non-recognition of the southern state.

In real terms, the party was both a support organisation and vehicle for publicity for the IRA. Sinn Féin members were banned from RTE, the party widely regarded as ‘subversive’ and members suffered deadly attacks in Northern Ireland itself (where it was illegal until 1974).

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Hunger strikes, 1981

Though it had held a few council seats across the Republic, it was not until after the H-Block hunger strikes in 1981 that Sinn Féin emerged as a real political force.

Then, increasingly under the direction of a younger, northern leadership, many of them senior IRA figures, it entered electoral politics as a campaigning, left-wing party. In 1983, Gerry Adams, (who replaced Ó Bradáigh as party leader that year) won a Westminster seat.

There remained complete support for the IRA’s armed struggle, summed up in a phrase made famous by senior republican Danny Morrison as a strategy of ‘armalite and ballot box.’

As the 1980s wore on, however, the balance of influence between Sinn Féin and the IRA slowly began to shift. While maintaining its policy of abstention towards the British parliament, Adams and his supporters realised that progress in the south was impossible without being prepared to enter the Dáil.

In 1986 Sinn Féin agreed to take seats, if elected, in Leinster House. (Ó Bradáigh and his supporters left to form Republican Sinn Féin). While party support peaked in Northern Ireland at around 11% (with Adams losing his seat in 1992), in the Republic Sinn Féin never gained more than 2% of the vote.

Put simply, while the IRA campaign was ongoing there was no prospect of Sinn Féin becoming a major political force, a factor recognised (if not openly acknowledged) by senior republicans.

The desire to become a genuine all-Ireland movement was one factor in the long process which brought about IRA ceasefires and decommissioning.

The peace process has been good to Sinn Féin and the dynamic, community-based party of today is as much a product of the last 20 years as it is of the long history it claims continuity from.

Brian Hanley is a historian and author. His most recent book is The Impact of the Troubles on the Republic of Ireland, 1968-79.


The Irish Times view on Sinn Féin&rsquos version of history: partial, wrong and self-serving

It has been a difficult week for Sinn Féin, and for its leader Mary Lou McDonald. The controversy surrounding the tweets of Brian Stanley has not yet abated, but it has already brought the public face to face with some uncomfortable truths about Sinn Féin’s present, and its past.

Stanley’s tweet about Kilmichael and Warrenpoint was immediately condemned by his opponents and was soon retracted by the TD, who apologised. He was criticised by party colleagues for his tone and the manner in which he expressed himself – but the party did not, and will not, retract the sentiment which gave rise to the ill-judged tweet.

Simply put, the party believes that the 25-year campaign of violence by the Provisional IRA, mostly in Northern Ireland but also extending to this jurisdiction, Britain and beyond was justified and worthy of support. This is not a politically advantageous subject for Sinn Féin, however, so it is not one the party wishes to dwell on. Best to issue a woolly apology, it seems, and try to move on.

But on this occasion, things did not move on. Further scrutiny of Stanley’s past statements unearthed a 2017 tweet in which he appears to make reference to the sexuality of the then Taoiseach. The homophobic undertone of Stanley’s tweet became a bigger political problem for Sinn Féin. There was criticism from some young activists, two of whom resigned. One of the activists, a UCD student, was visited at her home by a party official to persuade her to withdraw her criticisms and desist in future.

The episode is not yet concluded. Stanley has been told by McDonald to take a week off – a nice contrast to Sinn Féin’s demands of its opponents for immediate answers – and to make a statement in the Dáil next week. But already it illustrates that the influx of new members into the party will not automatically bow to the military discipline of their forebears.

The controversy also reminds us of Sinn Féin’s entirely partial and self-serving view of Irish history. It claims to be the heir of the original Sinn Féin founded by Arthur Griffith in 1905, just as it claims, on behalf of the Provisional IRA, the mantle of the IRA of the War of Independence. This is just flat-out wrong. For one thing, the struggle for independence 100 years ago, in its violent and non-violent manifestations, enjoyed widespread support.

The campaign of the Provisional IRA most assuredly did not. It was repeatedly, and by large majorities, rejected in the Republic and in Northern Ireland.

It is useful that everyone, Sinn Féin included, be reminded of this from time to time – not least because Sinn Féin is engaged in a campaign to make us all forget this central, vital fact about our history.


Sinn Fein - History

Watch Part Number: 1 | 2 | 3 | Provos: The IRA and Sinn Fein (1997)


A detailed study of the changes in the strategy and focus of the IRA and Sinn Fein from the 1970s to the peace process. Peter Taylor, who served as a journalist in Northern Ireland for many years, He interviewed many of the IRA members who were actually involved in the events described and has used their accounts to bring the history to life.


Provos: The IRA and Sinn Fein

by Peter Taylor

Never before has an outsider had such access to record the remarkable history of the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein - the "Provos" - from their dramatic beginnings to the critical juncture they have reached today.

Thirty years ago, the Irish Republican Army was a fading memory. It had dumped its guns and embraced left-wing politics. The result was that when sectarian violence erupted in 1969 and nationalist areas came under loyalist attack, only a handful of IRA veterans were on hand to defend the. Taunting graffiti read "IRA - I ran away." The consequences were momentous. The IRA split and the Provisional IRA was born to become the most famous organisation of its kinds in the Western world. For more than a quarter of a century the Provisional IRA have fought a bloody campaign, in which over 3,000 lives have been lost, to force the British government to disengage from Northern Ireland and re-unify Ireland.

Today their leaders, once branded as 'terrorists', have been feted at the White house and held talks with British Ministers. Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are now Westminster Members of the British Parliament, steering the 'Provos' to what they hope will be an historic peace in Ireland. In a series of remarkable, first-hand interviews with the Provisional IRA who fought on the military and political fronts and the British who countered them, this book tells the extraordinary story of the evolution of the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein over 30 bloody years, from gunmen and bombers to potential statesman.

The author, Peter Taylor, has reported Northern Ireland for more than 25 years and has made over 50 documentaries on the conflict for ITV's 'This Week' programme through the seventies and for BBC TV's 'Panorama' through the eighties and nineties. In addition he has authored several series for BBC television - 'Families at War,' 'States of Terror,' '25 Bloody Years,' and 'Defence of the Realm.' In 1995 he was presented with the Royal Television Society's presigous Judges' Award for his lifetime's coverage of the conflict. This was added to three other RTS Awards he has received for his BBC documentaries 'Stalker,' 'The Volunteer,' and 'The Maze.' He has also won several other domestic and international awards for his work.

This is his fifth book on the subject of Northern Ireland.


Source: www.readireland.ie


Peter Taylor , BBC

Peter Taylor was born and brought up in Yorkshire. He read Classics at Cambridge University and after a brief stint as a teacher joined ITV's This Week programme in 1967 as a researcher.

In 1969 Peter became a reporter on topical daily TV programme Today With Eamonn Andrews, before eventually returning to This Week as a reporter, where his first programme was Bloody Sunday, examining the conflict in Northern Ireland.

Peter Taylor being attacked by Loyalists in Belfast

Peter is one of the foremost commentators on the Irish conflict

Peter would return to the subject of Northern Ireland throughout his career, becoming one of the foremost commentators on the Troubles.

While at This Week he also made landmark programmes on smoking and the politics of tobacco.

In 1980 Peter joined the BBC as a reporter on Panorama, a role he remained in for most of the 1980s before moving to BBC Two to present Brass Tacks from Manchester and then Public Eye from London.

In the 1990s Peter made a series of documentaries, including films on Bloody Sunday and the Maze prison, and then concentrated on making authored series including States of Terror, True Spies, and his Irish trilogy, Provos, Loyalists and Brits.

Since the 9/11 attacks Peter has focussed on the al-Qaeda terror network and Islamist extremism, making a BBC Two trilogy and several Panorama specials on the issue, the most recent of which examined the liquid bomb plot which paralysed global air travel in August 2006.

Peter's distinguished career has garnered many prizes, including Royal Television Society (RTS) Journalist of the Year, two RTS Judges Awards and three RTS journalism awards for individual programmes, the Grierson best documentary award, Broadcasting Press Guild Award and two Two Bafta nominations.

Peter has been awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree by Bradford University and in 2002 received an OBE for services to broadcasting. This autumn he was awarded the James Cameron Memorial Prize "for work as a journalist that combined moral vision and professional integrity".

He has written eight books, most related to the Irish conflict, terrorism and political violence.


Watch the video: National Hunger Strike Commemoration 2021


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