Abstentionism is standing for election to a deliberative assembly while refusing to take up any seats won or otherwise participate in the assembly's business. Abstentionism differs from an election boycott in that abstentionists participate in the election itself. Abstentionism has been used by Irish republican political movements in the United Kingdom and Ireland since the early 19th century. It was also used by Hungarian and Czech nationalists in the Austrian Imperial Council in the 1860s.[1]


The Diet of Hungary was suppressed by the Habsburg Empire after the 1848 Revolution.[1] Austria's 1861 February Patent reserved places for Hungary in the indirectly-elected Imperial Council, but the Hungarians did not send representatives, arguing the Council was usurping authority properly belonging to the Diet.[1] Emulating the Hungarians, the Czech delegates for Bohemia withdrew in 1863, and those from Moravia in 1864.[1] Hungarian demands were met by the Compromise of 1867.[1] In 1904, Arthur Griffith published The Resurrection of Hungary arguing for a British–Irish dual monarchy on the 1867 model. Griffith's subsequent "Sinn Féin policy" developed this model.

In Ireland

Before partition

After the Act of Union 1800, Ireland was represented at Westminster in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Repeal of the Act of Union was a goal of many Irish nationalists.

In 1845, a motion was carried at the Repeal Association's committee for all Irish members of parliament (MPs) to withdraw from Westminster. It was proposed by Thomas Osborne Davis of the Young Ireland movement. However, the committee felt that MPs already sitting could not withdraw without breaking the oath of office they had taken upon election.[2] The Irish Confederation, which withdrew from the Repeal Association in 1847, resolved in favour of immediate abstention; however, its founder William Smith O'Brien continued to speak at Westminster.[3] In 1848, Charles Gavan Duffy proposed that Irish MPs expelled from Westminster should sit in a separate Irish parliament.[4]

Other early abstentionist advocates included George Sigerson in 1862, and John Dillon in 1878, who envisaged abstentionist Irish MPs meeting in a separate Irish parliament.[5]

From the 1860s, Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) leaders Charles Kickham and John O'Leary favoured abstentionism.[6] In 1869, G. H. Moore suggested nominating imprisoned republicans for election, knowing they were precluded as convicted felons from taking seats.[7] On this basis, Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (in 1870) and John Mitchel (twice in 1875) were returned at by-elections in Tipperary; O'Donovan Rossa was in prison at his election, while Mitchel was in exile.

Kickham envisaged a "great national conference" calling on Irish MPs to withdraw from Westminster. A motion to that effect was proposed by Charles Guilfoyle Doran and passed at the convention of the Home Rule League (HRL).[8] "Honest" John Martin, "independent nationalist" MP for Meath from 1871 to 1875, spoke in Westminster only to raise nationalist protests, and refused to vote.[9] In the 1874 election, 59 HRL MPs were returned, including John O'Connor Power in Mayo, who was a member of the IRB Supreme Council. He was to fall out with the IRB over allegations of misappropriating election funds,[10] and became progressively less radical. O'Connor Power believed that Westminster was the best platform to argue Ireland's case for self-government. Withdrawal from Parliament would be an abandonment of the Home Rule party to those who favoured conciliation rather than confrontation.[11] By 1876 it was clear that the HRL would never be able to organise a national convention, and MPs elected with its endorsement would remain at Westminster.[12] An alternative to abstentionism was obstructionism, including the use of filibuster. This was practised by the HRL and its successor, the Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) under Charles Stuart Parnell from the late 1870s.

Sinn Féin

Arthur Griffith's "Sinn Féin Policy", formulated between 1905 and 1907, called for Irish MPs to abstain from Westminster and sit in a parallel parliament in Dublin.[13] The first Sinn Féin abstentionist candidate was Charles Dolan in 1908. Having sat as MP for North Leitrim for the Irish Parliamentary Party, he resigned after joining Sinn Féin, and lost the ensuing by-election.[5][14] Abstentionism was opposed by most nationalists, especially after the January 1910 general election when the IPP held the balance of power at Westminster and secured passage of the Third Home Rule Bill from the Liberal government.[15] This changed after the 1916 Rising, and the IPP itself withdrew from Westminster in April 1918, to protest against the extension of conscription to Ireland.[16]

The first abstentionist MP elected was Count George Noble Plunkett after the North Roscommon by-election of 3 February 1917.[17] Plunkett did not categorically state his abstentionism until after his victory.[18] Plunkett's Liberty League, Griffith's monarchist Sinn Féin, and the northern Irish Nation League merged later that year into a reconstituted Sinn Féin, agreeing after contentious disputation that abstentionism was a principle rather than merely a tactic.[19] Sinn Féin MPs elected to Westminster in November 1918 refused to take their seats there and instead constituted themselves in Dublin in January 1919 as the TDs (Teachtaí Dála) of the first Dáil, which was claimed to be the legitimate parliament of the Irish Republic.[20] The Irish Labour Party stood aside in 1918 in favour of Sinn Féin, having at first proposed to be abstentionist until emergency laws were lifted.[21] Sinn Féin was unsure whether to boycott the 1921 elections to the House of Commons of Northern Ireland and House of Commons of Southern Ireland set up by the Government of Ireland Act 1920.[22] It decided to contest the Northern election for tactical reasons and the Southern one for consistency, with its returned MPs becoming the TDs of the Second Dáil.[22]

One strand within Republicanism, in remaining loyal to this pre-Partition Irish Republic, denies the legitimacy of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.[23] Other parties reached accommodation with the southern state but not Northern Ireland. Some groups have boycotted elections within either jurisdiction; others have been abstentionist; others abstained from some bodies but not others. Abstentionism has often been a divisive issue within Republicanism.

In the southern state

The 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty established the Irish Free State, with an opt-out for Northern Ireland and requiring an Oath of Allegiance for Free State legislators. The Treaty split Sinn Féin, mainly over the Oath rather than "Partition", and caused the Irish Civil War.[24] The June 1922 election featured a "Sinn Féin panel" of pro- and anti-Treaty candidates, but the resulting Third Dáil was boycotted by the anti-Treaty TDs. These refounded Sinn Féin in 1923 and based their continued abstention from the Free State Dáil on Partition.[25] Fianna Fáil split from Sinn Féin in 1926 and abandoned abstentionism in the Free State in 1927.[26] In 1955, Sinn Féin contested local elections in the Republic of Ireland and took its seats.

In 1970, at its Ard Fheis (annual conference), Sinn Féin split again on the issue of whether or not to reverse its long-standing policy of refusing to take seats in Dáil Éireann. The split created two parties calling themselves "Sinn Féin". The anti-abstentionist party was known as "Official" Sinn Féin. It changed its name to "Sinn Féin the Workers Party" (SFWP) and won a seat in the Dáil in the general election of 1981, which it took. The following year it dropped "Sinn Féin" from its name to become "The Workers' Party". The abstentionist party was initially referred to as "Provisional" Sinn Féin, but after 1982 it was known simply as "Sinn Féin"; it continued to abstain from taking seats won in all institutions.

Sinn Féin split in 1986, as in 1970, over whether to take seats in Dáil Éireann. The larger group led by Gerry Adams abandoned abstentionism, while Republican Sinn Féin (RSF), led by Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, retained it. Sinn Féin's first sitting Teachta Dála was Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, elected in Cavan–Monaghan in 1997.

RSF has retained the policy of abstentionism from both Dáil Éireann and the Northern Ireland Assembly. RSF has not in fact contested elections for Dáil Éireann or Westminster.

In Northern Ireland

After Partition, most non-abstentionist parties in the southern state did not organise at all in Northern Ireland. In early 1922, the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State was seen as representing the interests of nationalists in Northern Ireland and had a policy of not recognising the Northern Irish government. Catholic bishop Joseph MacRory (who later became Archbishop of Armagh and a Cardinal) indicated to the Provisional Government that Joe Devlin and his party members wanted to enter the new Parliament of Northern Ireland, and was worried that the policy of non-recognition would result in Northern Irish nationalists having to "fight alone", but his advice was ignored.[27]

The Nationalist Party did not take their seats during the first Stormont parliament (1921–25). Despite forming the second-largest parliamentary party, they did not accept the role of Opposition for a further forty years. They did so on 2 February 1965 but withdrew from opposition again in October 1968, two weeks after police batonned demonstrators at a civil rights march in Derry on 5 October 1968.[28]

Cahir Healy was elected to both the Stormont and Westminster parliaments under a variety of nationalist labels between the 1920s and the 1960s. He was abstentionist in Stormont until 1927 and at Westminster from 1950 to 1952.[29][30] In the 1930s, Healy led the Irish Union Association, which supported his policy of intermittent tactical abstentionism, whereas the otherwise-similar Northern Council for Unity regarded abstentionism as a principle.[31]

From 1953, Stormont candidates were required to take the British oath of allegiance before standing, precluding Sinn Féin from doing so.[32] This did not apply at Westminster elections, where Sinn Féin often gave non-Sinn Féin abstentionist nationalists a free run to avoid splitting the nationalist vote, but conversely fielded a spoiler candidate against non-abstentionist nationalists.[32]

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) became the Opposition on its formation on 21 August 1970 but that party withdrew from Stormont in July 1971. The SDLP participated in the assembly set up for the Sunningdale Agreement, and in the Constitutional Convention. It originally intended to boycott the election to the 1982 Assembly, but adopted abstentionism to avoid giving a free run to Sinn Féin.[33] Brian Feeney suggests that Sinn Féin's "active abstention", where those elected acted as local spokespeople in the media, was more effective than the SDLP's policy of sending its representatives instead to the New Ireland Forum in Dublin.[34] The SDLP's participation in the 1996–98 Northern Ireland Forum was intermittent.

Sinn Féin adopted the "armalite and ballot box strategy" in 1981, and first contested modern elections in Northern Ireland with the 1982 Assembly elections, from which they abstained. The 1983 ardfheis resolved to take seats in the European Parliament, as the 1985 ardfheis did for that year's local elections.[35] Sinn Féin abstained from the Northern Ireland Forum.

Since the establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, both the SDLP and Sinn Féin have taken their seats in that body. SDLP MPs have consistently taken their seats in Westminster, in contrast to Sinn Féin MPs, who refuse to take their seats there as they refuse to recognise the UK Parliament's right to legislate for any part of Ireland.

Fianna Fáil's sole Stormont election came in 1933, when its leader Éamon de Valera agreed to stand as an abstentionist for South Down, where he had been a Sinn Féin MP in the 1920s.[36][37] Fianna Fáil registered as a political party within Northern Ireland in 2007. In 2014 its leader Mícheál Martin announced it would contest elections from 2019.[38] It has not made clear whether it will contest elections to Westminster.

Republican Sinn Féin continue their long standing policy of abstentionism. It is not a registered party in Northern Ireland, but members have contested the Assembly elections as independents. When Saoradh, a dissident republican party, was established in 2016, it had not decided whether to contest elections, but said it would in any case abstain from taking up any seats won in Stormont, Westminster or Leinster House.[39]

After the June 2017 UK general election, which resulted in a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the largest party with the DUP in potential balance of power, Gerry Adams reiterated Sinn Féin's long-standing position that their elected MPs would not swear allegiance to the Queen nor take their seats in Westminster.[40]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Agnew, Hugh LeCaine (2004). The Czechs and the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. Hoover Press. pp. 1895–96. ISBN 978-0-8179-4492-6. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  2. ^ Davis, Richard (1987). The Young Ireland Movement. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. p. 88. ISBN 0-7171-1543-7.
  3. ^ Davis, p.122
  4. ^ Davis, p.256
  5. ^ a b Lydon 1998, p.325
  6. ^ McGee 2005, p.39
  7. ^ McGee, pg. 43
  8. ^ McGee, pg.48
  9. ^ McGee, pg. 42–43
  10. ^ McGee, p.49–50
  11. ^ Stanford, Jane, 'That Irishman The Life and Times of John O'Connor Power', pp 70–71, 73–74. ISBN 978-1-84588-698-1
  12. ^ McGee, p.53
  13. ^ Feeney 2002, pp.33–34
  14. ^ Feeney 2002, pp.49–50
  15. ^ Feeney 2002, p.53
  16. ^ Feeney 2002, p.97
  17. ^ Lydon, p.343.
  18. ^ Feeney 2002, p.63
  19. ^ Laffan, Michael (March 1971). "The Unification of Sinn Fein in 1917". Irish Historical Studies. 17 (67): 353–379: 361–3, 373. JSTOR 30005764. (Subscription required (help)).
  20. ^ Feeney 2002, p.112
  21. ^ "Irish Labour Party won't take seats if elected". Century Ireland. RTÉ. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  22. ^ a b Feeney 2002, pp.130–131
  23. ^ Feeney 2002, pp.168–170,174
  24. ^ Feeney 2002, p.135
  25. ^ Feeney 2002, pp.156–7, 168–9
  26. ^ Feeney 2002, pp.158–160
  27. ^ http://www.fusio.net, Fusio -. "Extract from the minutes of a meeting of the provisional government from Provisional Government Minutes – 30 January 1922 – Documents on IRISH FOREIGN POLICY". difp.ie.
  28. ^ Brendan Lynn (1979), Holding the Ground: The Nationalist Party in Northern Ireland, 1945–1972 ISBN 1-85521-980-8. (CAIN Web Service)
  29. ^ "Contributions by Mr Cahir Healy". Hansard. UK Parliament. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
  30. ^ Kelly, Conal (1 June 2007). "Fermanagh and South Tyrone 1950–1970". Northern Ireland Social and Political Archive. Retrieved 19 December 2013. Healy, who had previously been elected on an abstentionist ticket, would ultimately take up his seat at Westminster in 1952.
  31. ^ Norton, Christopher (2007). "The Internment of Cahir Healy M.P., Brixton Prison July 1941-December 1942". Twentieth Century British History. 18 (2): 170–193: fn.4. doi:10.1093/tcbh/hwm007. ISSN 0955-2359.
  32. ^ a b Feeney 2002, p.199
  33. ^ Feeney 2002, pp.308–10
  34. ^ Feeney 2002, pp.316–7
  35. ^ Feeney 2002, p.328
  36. ^ "When Dev stood for Stormont". Clare Champion. December 2003. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  37. ^ Kelly, Stephen (May 10, 2013). Fianna Fáil, Partition and Northern Ireland, 1926–1971. Irish Academic Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-7165-3186-9.
  38. ^ O'Halloran, Marie (22 March 2014). "Fianna Fáil leader confirms party will run candidates in the North in 2019". The Irish Times. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  39. ^ Breen, Suzanne (26 September 2016). "Hardline republicanism shows public face with Saoradh launch at swish hotel". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  40. ^ Aidan Lonergan (9 June 2017). "Gerry Adams confirms Sinn Féin will not swear allegiance to the Queen to take Westminster seats". Irish Post. Retrieved 9 June 2017.


  • Feeney, Brian (2002). Sinn Féin: A Hundred Turbulent Years. O'Brien Press. ISBN 978-0-86278-770-7.
  • Lydon, James F. (1998). The Making of Ireland: From Ancient Times to the Present. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-01347-X.
  • McGee, Owen (2005). The IRB: The Irish Republican Brotherhood from the Land League to Sinn Féin. Dublin: Four Courts Press. ISBN 1-85182-972-5.

Further reading

  • Pyne, Peter (1974). "The politics of parliamentary abstentionism: Ireland's four Sinn Fein parties, 1905–1926". The Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics. 12 (2): 206–227. doi:10.1080/14662047408447211. ISSN 0306-3631.
  • Lynn, Brendan (2002). "Tactic or Principle? The Evolution of Republican Thinking on Abstentionism in Ireland, 1970-1998". Irish Political Studies. 17 (2): 74–94. doi:10.1080/714003200. ISSN 0790-7184.
  • Jung, Theo (2018). "Auftritt durch Austritt. Debattenboykotts als parlamentarische Praxis in Großbritannien und Frankreich (1797-1823)". Archiv für Sozialgeschichte. 58: 37–67. ISSN 0066-6505.

External links

1974 Nicaraguan general election

A general elections were held in Nicaragua to elect a president and National Congress of Nicaragua on September 1, 1974.

“The 1974 election was characterized by abstentionism. There were no incidents on election day; in fact very few people went to the polls, this in spite of the fact that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal reported voter registration of 1,152,268 citizens or 60.8% of the total Nicaraguan population, which is nearly 240,000 more than the number of citizens 18 years and older reported by the Census of 1971. The official results listed 733,662 votes for Somoza and 66,320 for the leader of one faction of the Conservative Party who ran against Somoza. The total percentage of votes cast according to official figures was approximately 69%”.Anastasio Somoza Debayle “won 743,985 out of 815,758 votes cast, the Conservatives picked up their allocation of 40 percent of the seats for fulfilling the tryst and an equal proportion of the electorate abstained. The very predictability of this result provoked a growing number of dissidents from the Conservative and Liberal Parties to join with the Independent Liberal Party, Popular Social Christian Party, Nicaraguan Socialist Party and a number of trade unions in forming the ‘Unión Democrática de Liberación’ (UDEL)”.

2017 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland

The 2017 United Kingdom general election in Northern Ireland was held on 8 June 2017. All 18 seats in Northern Ireland were contested. The DUP gained 2 seats for a total of 10, and Sinn Féin won 7, an improvement of 3. Independent unionist Sylvia Hermon was also re-elected in her constituency of North Down. Meanwhile, the SDLP lost 3 seats and the UUP lost 2 seats, meaning they both lost all their representation in the House of Commons.

As Sinn Féin maintains a policy of abstentionism in regards to the British Parliament, the 2017 election marked the first parliament since 1964 without any Irish nationalist MPs who take their seats in the House of Commons in Westminster.

Nationally, the governing Conservative Party fell 8 seats short of a parliamentary majority after the election, reduced to 4 if the absence of Sinn Féin is taken into account. The DUP thus holds the balance of power, and announced on 10 June that it would support the Conservative government on a "confidence and supply" basis. (See also Conservative–DUP agreement.)

Causa Galiza

Causa Galiza (Cause Galiza or Galician Cause) is a Galician left-wing Galician independentist political party. It was formed in 2012, and transformed itself in a political party on March 2014. In the 2014 European elections the party supported both abstentionism or voting for the Galician Nationalist Bloc.

Christian dietary laws

In mainstream Nicene Christianity, there is no restriction on kinds of animals that can be eaten. This practice stems from Peter's vision of a sheet with animals, described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 10, in which Saint Peter "sees a sheet containing animals of every description lowered from the sky." Nonetheless, the New Testament does give a few guidelines about the consumption of meat, practiced by the Christian Church today; one of these is not consuming food knowingly offered to pagan idols, a conviction that the early Church Fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria and Origen preached. In addition, Christians traditionally bless any food before eating it with a mealtime prayer (grace), as a sign of thanking God for the meal they have.

Slaughtering animals for food is often done without the trinitarian formula, although the Armenian Apostolic Church, among other Orthodox Christians, have rituals that "display obvious links with shechitah, Jewish kosher slaughter." The Bible, states Norman Geisler, stipulates one to "abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meat of strangled animals".In the New Testament, Paul of Tarsus notes that some devout Christians may wish to abstain from consuming meat if it causes "my brother to stumble" in his faith with God (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:13). As such, some Christian monks, such as the Trappists, have adopted a policy of Christian vegetarianism. In addition, Christians of the Seventh-day Adventist tradition generally "avoid eating meat and highly spiced food". Christians in the Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Orthodox denominations traditionally observe a meat-free day, especially during the liturgical season of Lent.With reference to medieval times, Jillian Williams states that "unlike the Jewish and Muslims methods of animal slaughter, which requires the draining of the animal's blood, Christian slaughter practices did not usually specify the method of slaughter". In actual practice, states Williams, European Christians have flexibly practiced both the method of draining the blood, and wringing the animal's neck to retain its blood as valuable food. According to Basheer Ahmad Masri, the "Jewish and the Christian methods of slaughter fulfill the Islamic condition of bleeding the animal". In contrast, David Grumett and Rachel Muers state that the Orthodox Christian Shechitah and Jewish Kosher methods of slaughter differ from the Muslim Halal (Dabh) method in that they require the cut to "sever trachea, oesophagus and the jugular veins" as this method is believed to produce meat with minimal suffering to the animal.

Some Christian denominations condone the moderate drinking of alcohol (moderationism), such as Anglicans, Catholics, Lutherans, and the Orthodox, although others, such as Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals either abstain from or prohibit the consumption of alcohol (abstentionism and prohibitionism). However, all Christian Churches, in view of the Biblical position on the issue, universally condemn drunkenness as sinful.

Fianna Uladh

Fianna Uladh (Irish pronunciation: [ˌfʲiənə ˈɤlˠu], "Soldiers of Ulster") was a minor Irish republican political party active in Northern Ireland during the 1950s. It represented the political wing of Saor Uladh, a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army.Formed in 1953 by Liam Kelly, the group was ideologically close to Clann na Poblachta and sought the extension of the Constitution of Ireland to the entire island. Adopting a policy of abstentionism, their activity helped to bring about the break-up of the Anti-Partition of Ireland League in 1954.Fianna Uladh went moribund during the IRA's Border Campaign of 1956 to 1962, during which time Kelly was interned. After his release he emigrated to the United States and the movement was not revived.

Irish Anti-Partition League

The Irish Anti-Partition League (APL) was a political organisation based in Northern Ireland which campaigned for a united Ireland from 1945 to 1958.

Irish Republican Army

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) are paramilitary movements in Ireland in the 20th and the 21st century dedicated to Irish republicanism, the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic from British rule and free to form their own government. The original Irish Republican Army formed in 1917 from those Irish Volunteers who did not enlist in the British Army during World War I, members of the Irish Citizen Army and others. Irishmen formerly in the British Army returned to Ireland and fought in the Irish War of Independence. During the Irish War of Independence it was the army of the Irish Republic, declared by Dáil Éireann in 1919. Some Irish people dispute the claims of more recently created organisations that insist that they are the only legitimate descendants of the original IRA, often referred to as the "Old IRA".

The playwright and former IRA member Brendan Behan once said that the first issue on any Irish organisation's agenda was "the split". For the IRA, that has often been the case. The first split came after the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921, with supporters of the Treaty forming the nucleus of the National Army of the newly created Irish Free State, while the anti-treaty forces continued to use the name Irish Republican Army. After the end of the Irish Civil War (1922–23), the IRA was around in one form or another for forty years, when it split into the Official IRA and the Provisional IRA in 1969. The latter then had its own breakaways, namely the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, each claiming to be the true successor of the Army of the Irish Republic.

The Irish Republican Army (1919–1922) (in later years, known as the "Old" IRA), recognised by the First Dáil as the legitimate army of the Irish Republic in April 1921 and fought the Irish War of Independence. On ratification by the Dáil of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, it split into pro-Treaty forces (the National Army, also known as the Government forces or the Regulars) and anti-Treaty forces (the Republicans, Irregulars or Executive forces) after the Treaty. These two went on to fight the Irish Civil War.

The Irish Republican Army (1922–1969), the anti-treaty IRA which fought and lost the civil war and which thereafter refused to recognise either the Irish Free State or Northern Ireland, deeming them both to be creations of British imperialism. It existed in one form or another for over 40 years before splitting in 1969.

The Official IRA (OIRA), the remainder of the IRA after the 1969 split with the Provisionals; was primarily Marxist in its political orientation. It is now inactive in the military sense, while its political wing, Official Sinn Féin, became the Workers' Party of Ireland.

The Provisional IRA (PIRA) broke from the OIRA in 1969 over abstentionism and how to deal with the increasing violence in Northern Ireland. Although opposed to the OIRA's Marxism, it came to develop a left-wing orientation and increasing political activity.

The Continuity IRA (CIRA) broke from the PIRA in 1986, because the latter ended its policy on abstentionism (thus recognising the authority of the Republic of Ireland).

The Real IRA (RIRA), a 1997 breakaway from the PIRA consisting of members opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process.

In April 2011, former members of the Provisional IRA announced a resumption of hostilities, and that "they had now taken on the mantle of the mainstream IRA." They further claimed "We continue to do so under the name of the Irish Republican Army. We are the IRA." and insisted that they "were entirely separate from the Real IRA, Óglaigh na hÉireann (ONH), and the Continuity IRA." They claimed responsibility for the April assassination of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr as well as responsibility for other attacks that had previously been claimed by the Real IRA and ONH.

The New IRA, which was formed as a merger between the Real IRA and other republican groups in 2012. (see Real IRA)

Irish Republican Socialist Party

The Irish Republican Socialist Party or IRSP (Irish: Páirtí Poblachtach Sóisialach na hÉireann) is a republican socialist party active in Ireland. It is often referred to as the "political wing" of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) paramilitary group. and claims the legacy of socialist revolutionary James Connolly, who founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party in 1896 and was executed after the Easter Rising of 1916.

Irish republican legitimism

A concept within Irish Republicanism, Irish republican legitimatism denies the legitimacy of the political entities of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and posits that the pre-partition Irish Republic continues to exist. The concept shapes aspects of, but is not synonymous with, abstentionism.

Leader of the Opposition (Northern Ireland)

The Leader of the Opposition in Northern Ireland was theoretically the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons of Northern Ireland which was not the government. The position was eliminated in 1972 when the Stormont Parliament was abolished and replaced by direct rule from London.

Legal abstentionism

Legal abstentionism is a term used in labour law and industrial relations to refer to the policy of a government to not regulate labour markets through statutory means, by relying heavily on minimum standards. This is said to be characteristic of the British industrial relations policy of the early and middle twentieth century. It often complements the concept of "collective laissez faire", involving regulation of work through trade unions and collective agreement.

List of Sinn Féin MPs

This is a list of Sinn Féin MPs. It includes all Members of Parliament elected to the British House of Commons representing Sinn Féin. Members of the European Parliament, Dáil Éireann or the Northern Ireland Assembly are not listed. Sinn Féin MPs practice abstentionism regarding the House of Commons and thus do not take their seats.

List of members of the 2nd House of Commons of Northern Ireland

This is a list of Members of Parliament elected in the Northern Ireland general election, 1925. Elections to the 2nd Northern Ireland House of Commons were held on 3 April 1925.

All members of the Northern Ireland House of Commons elected at the Northern Ireland general election, 1925 are listed.

Sir James Craig, (later Viscount Craigavon) continued as Prime Minister following the election. The second place Nationalist Party ended its policy of abstentionism and took their seats but refused to accept the role of Official Opposition.

Northern Council for Unity

The Northern Council for Unity was an Irish republican political party founded in 1937 by Anthony Mulvey.The group was formed in 1937 following the promulgation of the Constitution of Ireland with the intention of opposing any measures that it felt helped to recognise the legitimacy of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. Its secretary was Peader Murney. A breakaway from the Nationalist Party, the group took up a policy of abstentionism towards the 1938 Northern Ireland general election but soon joined the Nationalists in the Éamon de Valera-led initiative the Anti-Partition League. The organisation also attracted some former members of Sinn Féin, such as Hugh Corvin.The 'Mulveyites', as they were sometimes called, had merged back into the Nationalists by around 1945.

Paul Maskey

Paul John Maskey (born 10 June 1967) is an Irish republican politician in Northern Ireland who is a member of Sinn Féin. He served as a Sinn Féin member (MLA) of the Northern Ireland Assembly for Belfast West from 2007 to 2012. He is currently Member of Parliament (MP) for the Westminster constituency of Belfast West, but in line with Sinn Féin's policy of abstentionism he has not taken his seat there.

Republican Sinn Féin

Republican Sinn Féin or RSF (Irish: Sinn Féin Poblachtach) is an Irish republican political party in Ireland. RSF claims to be heirs of the Sinn Féin party founded in 1905 and took its present form in 1986 following a split in Sinn Féin. RSF members take seats when elected to local governments in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but do not recognise the validity of the Partition of Ireland. It subsequently does not recognise the legitimacy of the parliaments of Northern Ireland (Stormont) or the Republic of Ireland (Leinster House), so the party does not register itself with them.

The party emerged around the supporters of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill. As Irish republican legitimists, they rejected the reformism of Gerry Adams and other members of Sinn Féin who supported abandoning the policy of abstentionism. They support the Éire Nua policy which allows for devolution of power to provincial governments. RSF holds that the Irish Republic proclaimed in 1916 continues to exist, and that the Continuity Irish Republican Army Council is its de jure government.The organisation views itself as representing "true" or "traditional" Irish republicanism, while in the mainstream media the organisation is portrayed as a political expression of "dissident republicanism". Republican Sinn Féin rejects the Good Friday Agreement and the Anglo-Irish Treaty; as part of this they assert that Irish republicans have the right to use militant means to "defend the Irish Republic" and considers the Continuity Irish Republican Army (IRA) to be the legitimate army of the Irish Republic.

Seán Caughey

Seán Caughey (Irish: Seán Mac Eochaidh) (died 18 July 2010) was an Irish republican, and later a monarchist and activist.

Based in Belfast, Caughey was the secretary of the local branch of the Gaelic League, He was the founding secretary of the Northern Ireland Council for Civil Liberties, on which he represented the "Six County Election Directorate".In the late 1950s and early 1960s, he campaigned for the release of 166 internees in D-Wing of Crumlin Road Prison. He was then secretary

of the Belfast Council for Civil Liberties.Caughey was the most prominent Belfast-based member of Sinn Féin, then a banned organisation in the United Kingdom. Considered a member of the conservative wing of the movement, he was known for his advocacy of a "National Liberation Council" to unite various organisations and form a new governing body for Ireland, and the "Éire Nua" concept. He stood as an independent Republican in the 1964 general election in North Antrim, but took less than 10 percent of the vote.Caughey was elected as a vice-president of Sinn Féin in the early 1960s, but he resigned in June 1965, after the organisation refused to change its policy of abstentionism, and would not recognise the government of the Republic of Ireland. Despite this, after the split of 1970, he rejoined the provisional wing of the party, and became an early editor of Republican News, but came into conflict with the party leadership. He was removed in 1975 and replaced by Danny Morrison.

Sean Caughey was interned in Long Kesh 1971-1972. His wife and 10 children aged 1 to 17 endured extreme hardship during his time in Long Kesh. A life long Republican he later left Provisional Sinn Féin.

In his final years, Caughey, under the Irish version of his name, was an advocate of re-establishing the Irish high kingship, as well as a "new Catholic Ireland".

The Resurrection of Hungary

The Resurrection of Hungary: A Parallel for Ireland was a book published by Arthur Griffith in 1904 in which he outlined his ideas for an Anglo-Irish dual monarchy. He proposed that the former kingdoms which had created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, namely, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland, return to the pre-1801 arrangement whereby they had two governments but a shared king. The policy, which was modelled on Hungary's achievement of equal status with Austria under the Habsburg emperor/king, became the basis for the policy of Griffith's new Sinn Féin party. He proposed a dual monarchy, similar to the equivalent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, formed under the Compromise of 1867.

Griffith summed up his ideas in the book by comparing the relative status of Hungary vis-à-vis Austria and Ireland vis-à-vis Great Britain:

The Hungarians resorted to a manly policy of passive resistance and non-recognition of Austria’s right to rule – the Irish resorted to parliamentarianism, implying recognition of an English right to rule this country. And one nation today is rich, powerful and able to defy her conqueror, while the other is poor, weak and more tightly held in the conqueror’s grasp.

He advocated a policy of abstentionism from the institutions of the United Kingdom and a return to the Constitution of 1782 agreed between the British government and the Parliament of Ireland in 1782.

Griffith called his new party, Sinn Féin, a "King, Lords and Commons Party". The Anglo-Irish Empire idea, though strongly associated with Griffith, was not uniquely his creation. As early as the mid-1880s Lord Salisbury, leader of the Conservative Party had contemplated using the 1867 Austro-Hungarian example as a model for a reformed relationship between Britain and Ireland.From 1917 the party while maintaining its commitment to abstentionism, abandoned Griffith's proposal for having the British monarch on the Irish throne as King of Ireland. Instead it was split between republicans (those associated with the Easter Rising in 1916 and who had subsequently joined Sinn Féin) who advocated the creation of a new republic with an elected head of state, and those who advocated the creation of an Irish monarchy, albeit now with a monarch chosen from any royal house but the House of Windsor.

The concept was ridiculed by the nationalist commentator DP Moran, who called its supporters the "Green Hungarian Band".In 1917 the party's Ard Fheis adopted a motion committing the party to establishing a republic before holding a referendum on whether to install a monarchy or not, once the monarch chosen was not from the House of Windsor. The party later committed itself unambiguously to supporting a republic.

Given its introduction of the concept of abstentionism, and its formative role in the appearance of Sinn Féin, The Resurrection of Hungary was one of the most influential texts in 20th-century Irish history.

Tom Maguire

Tom Maguire (Irish: Tomás Mag Uidhir; 28 March 1892 – 5 July 1993) was an Irish republican who held the rank of commandant-general in the Western Command of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and led the South Mayo flying column.

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