List of entries |  Feedback 
  More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)

More than 5000 entries on the history, culture and life of Britain (published in 1993 by Macmillan, now out of print)
Sinn Fein

(sinn féin Irish Gaelic for 'we ourselves')
Nationalist political party founded in *Ireland in 1902 by Arthur *Griffith (1872–1922), with a policy of passive resistance by such means as non-payment of taxes. By the time of the *Easter Rising of 1916 the supporters of the cause were more militant. Eamon *de Valera (1882–1975) was elected leader in 1917; unlike Griffith he had taken an active part in the rising. In the election of 1918 Sinn Fein won the majority of the Irish seats at Westminster, but the party did not accept the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 because of the exclusion of the *six counties. In conjunction with that part of the *IRA which also rejected the treaty, Sinn Fein fought and lost a civil war (1921–3) with the government of the newly independent *Irish Free State.

De Valera himself accepted the status quo in 1926 and the following year his supporters within Sinn Fein entered parliament as a new party, *Fianna Fail. A minority still refused to accept the validity of the parliament in Dublin and continued as a much reduced Sinn Fein – linked with those in the IRA who took the same line. Both organizations remained relatively obscure, though two Sinn Fein candidates were elected to Westminster in 1955 (they were subsequently disqualified, as felons).

In 1969 breakaway groups, calling themselves Provisional Sinn Fein and the *Provisional IRA, adopted a more violent policy in *Northern Ireland; and in 1983 Provisional Sinn Fein achieved its first success in a general election when its leader (Gerry Adams, b. 1948) became MP for West Belfast. Since the party does not recognize the authority of Westminster, he declined to take his seat; he held it in the general election of 1987 but lost it in 1992. In 1997 Adams and Martin McGuinness won seats at Westminster, and both were closely involved in the *Northern Ireland peace process and the *Good Friday Agreement. This was folloed by Sinn Fein's participation in the briefly restored assembly at Stormont. In local government Sinn Fein has a considerable number of elected councillors.

A  B-BL  BO-BX  C-CH  CI-CX  D  E  F  G  H  IJK  L  M  NO  P  QR  S-SL  SM-SX  T  UV  WXYZ