Below please find information on Irish Republican and Irish Nationalist political parties which were active during the Troubles. These parties are supportive of a united Ireland.
Founded: 1905Sinn Féin is an Irish Republican socialist political party who's main aim is the establishment of a 32 County Socialist Irish Republic. It has been led since 1986 by Gerry Adams and the party's Chief Negotiator, Martin McGuinness, is at present the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.The party is considered by many to be the political arm of the Provisional IRA and many of it's leaders are believed to serve as members of the IRA Army Council.
Currently Sinn Féin is the largest party in Northern Ireland and the fourth largest party in the Irish Republic, it also has one MEP. The majority of it's support in the north comes from working class nationalist and republican communities although it has also gained a large amount of support in more middle-class areas and a small amount of support from areas which were traditionally unionist. Sinn Féin was a staunch supporter of the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process.In 2007 the party voted to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
The SDLP is an Irish Nationalist political party. It is currently the fourth largest party in Northern Ireland. It is not organised in the Irish Republic although it has close links with the Irish Labour Party. The party is in favour of Irish reunification through purely peaceful means.
The group was previously led by Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume and for most of the Troubles was the principle nationalist party. However in the early 2000's it was overtaken by Sinn Féin. Recently there have been suggestions that the SDLP may merge with Fianna Fáil or the Irish Labour Party. The party supported the Good Friday Agreement.
The IRSP is an Irish Republican Socialist party which is active throughout Ireland. The party is a breakaway of Official Sinn Féin and was initially founded to serve as the political voice for the newly formed Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). It's main aim is the creation of a 32 County Socialist Republic. The party subscribes to Marxist-Leninist politics.
The party had a small number of elected councillors in Belfast, Wicklow and Shannon during the Troubles. In 1977, the parties leader, Seamus Costello, was murdered by the Official IRA in Dublin. Since the 90's the party has rarely stood any candidates and currently has no elected representatives, most recently it supported socialist candidate Eamonn McCann in Derry City. It opposes the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process although it no longer advocates armed struggle.
The Workers Party of Ireland is a left-wing republican political party which is active throughout Ireland. The party was formed out of the split within Sinn Féin in 1970 and previously known as Official Sinn Féin, it is closely alligned to the Official IRA.
The Workers Party enjoyed widespread support in the south of Ireland during the 1980's, winning seven seats in the General Election of 1989. In 1992 the party split over attempts to sever ties with the Official IRA. The party split in 1992 with six of the parties seven TD's going on to found Democratic Left. In the north the party faired much poorer, only managing to gain a small number of local council seats.Following the split the party went into serious decline as a large number of it's elected representatives left.
Currently the party has two elected councillors in Cork and Waterford. The party supported the Good Friday Agreement.
Fianna Fáil is a centrist republican political party which is active in the Republic of Ireland. The party is currently in a coalition government in the south of Ireland where it is the largest political party in both Houses of Parliament. Both Ireland's President and Taoiseach (Prime Minister) are FF members.
Fianna Fáil broke away from Sinn Féin in 1926 in opposition to SF's abstentionist stance towards the Dublin government. In 1970 two Fianna Fáil Ministers (including subsequent Taoiseach, Charlie Haughey) were sacked after it emerged that they had been supplying money and weapons to the Provisional IRA.
The party was one of the mian drivers behind the Northern Ireland peace process and a chief negotiator.
FF supported the Good Friday Agreement and supports the reunification of Ireland through purely peaceful and democratic means.
Fine Gael is a right-wing Irish nationalist political party which is active throughout the Republic of Ireland. It does not take part in politics in Northern Ireland. The party was formed by people who fought on the pro-treaty side during the Irish Civil War. It is currently the second largest politial party in Ireland. The party has it's roots in the Fascist Blueshirt movement led by Eoin O'Duffy in the early 1930's.
Fine Gael has been the only other political party in the south of Ireland to lead the country in government apart from Fiann Fáil since the Free State was established. In 1937 a large number of Fine Gael members opposed the change of the Irish Free State's constituition which went on to create an independent republic.
The Fine Gael party claims to support a united Ireland through purely peaceful and democratic means, however, many in southern Ireland consider it to be overly sympathetic to Unionism. The party draws a large amount of it's support from the Protestant community in southern Ireland.
The Labour Party is a social democratic party active in the Republic of Ireland.The party was founded in 1912 as the political wing of the Irish Trade Union Congress. It is currently the third largest political party in southern Ireland. It does not organise in Northern Ireland although it has close links with the Social Democratic and Labour Party.
The party did not take either side in the civil war although it's only elected representative in the Dáil voted in favour of the treaty. The Labour Party has been a major force in Irish politics since the early 20's and has been part of a number of coalition governments with Fine Gael.
In 1999 the party merged with Democratic Left. A number of Labour Party representatives have previously been associated with the OIRA.
The parties position on Northern Ireland is that it supports the Good Friday Agreement and the reunification of Ireland through purely peaceful and democratic means.
Democratic Left was an Irish Socialist political party which was formed in 1992 when it broke away from The Workers Party. The split had two main factors, the first being that the people who would go on to found Democratic Left wanted to move the Workers Party towards a more moderate leftist position and at the smae time they wanted to break all links with the Official IRA. This did not receive the majority 2/3rds support required at the Workers Party Ard Fheis and as such six of the parties seven TD's went on to found Democratic Left.
The party contested elections and had councillors on both sides of the border, however, it was far more succesful in the south of Ireland. In 1994 it took part in a coalition government with Labour and Fine Gael. In 1999 the party merged with the Labour Party, keeping the larger parties name and exluding members fromorganising the party in Northern Ireland.
Republican Sinn Féin is a small Irish Republican political party which was formed in 1986 when it broke away from Sinn Féin. The party is closely alligned to the Continuity IRA. The party split from Sinn Féin after it voted to take it's seats in the southern Irish Parliament. A small number of delegates opposed the decision walked out of the meeting and went on to found RSF.
The party considers itself left-wing although many argue that it has strong right-wing leanings. RSF has little support in any part of Ireland although it currently only has one elected councillor in Connemara.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement is an Irish Republican political pressure group, founded in 1997 by members of Sinn Féin who had been expelled from the organisation. The party is closely alligned with the Real IRA and is considered a foreign terrorist organisation by the US government.
The group broke away from Sinn Féin in 1997 in opposition to the Peace Process. It was supported by the IRA's Quartermaster General and the IRA's North Louth Brigade. It had one elected councillor in Omagh however he lost his seat following the Real IRA's Omagh Bombing which killed 29 civilians in the town. Following the Omagh bombing the group claimed it's members were forced from their homes by the Provisional IRA and sent death threats. The group opposes the Good Friday Agreement and enjoys limited support in Derry City and north Louth.
The Socialist Workers Party is an Irish Trotskyist political party which was formed in 1971.The party was closely alligned to People's Democracy and was involved in the Civil Rights Campaign. The party rejects loyalism, believing that working class unity can only be achieved through Protestants turning their backs on loyalism which they consider supremecist.
The SWP supported Sinn Féin's turn towards socialism in the late 70's. The SWP were also active in supporting IRA hungerstrikers demands to be treated as Prisoners of War. The party had until 1995 called on it's activists to vote for Sinn Féin. The group however dropped it's support for Sinn Féin after they signed up to the Good Friday Agreement. The SWP saw the agreement as an "accomodation with imperialism". The party was supportive of those who rioted against the Orange Order in Dublin in 2006.
Currently the SWP has ten elected councillors (all in the south) and is the main party behind the People Before Profit Alliance.
Éirigí is a small Irish Republican socialist political party which was formed in 2006 by a number of people who left Sinn Féin and it's youth wing. The party is opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process but also claims it does not support armed action. It came to national attention in 2009 after one of it's members was arrested in relation to the shooting dead of two British soldiers outside a barracks in Antrim. The party issued a statement saying the man (Colin Duffy) had left the party a number of weeks beforehand. Another ex-member was arrested on explosives charges.
The party currently has two elected representatives. One in the north and one in the south. Both councillors were elected as Sinn Féin candidates before switching to Éirigí.
The Communist Party of Ireland is an Irish Communist party which was founded in Dublin in 1933. The party provided the core of the Irish Volunteers who fought on the republican side in the Spanish civil war.The party played an active role in the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement and was a member of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. The party was a critical supporter of the Good Friday Agreement and it has rejected the Two Nations Theory (which states the Ulster Protestants are historically a seperate nation). The party currently has no elected representatives.
The Republican Network for Unity is a republican political pressure group based in Belfast with small memberships in Derry and Dublin. The organisation is opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the Peace Process. The group engages with other dissident republican groups and facilitates meetings between them.
It has been suggested that the dissident paramilitary group Óglaigh na hÉireann is the military arm of the organisation although this has been rejected the RNU. The group has a controlling influence in the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) which it set up in opposition to the Crumlin Ardoyne Residents Association (CARA) which it claims is controlled by Sinn Féin.
The INLA issued a statement in 2009 claiming that a leading member of RNU, who had previously been a leading member of the IRSP, had worked as a British informer.
The Christian Solidarity Party is an Irish nationalist Christian democratic party which is active mainly in the south of Ireland. The party adheres to strict Catholic teachings and is opposed to abortion, divorce and gay marriage. The party is supportive of Irish reunification and holds a commemoration every year in Dublin to remember the 1916 rising. it has called on it's supporters to refer to Northern ireland as "the six counties" and has encouraged people to "treat the six counties as an integral part of Ireland, because that is what it is, not some foreign state". While the party has no elected representatives it has contested numerous elections. It's best result was polling 5,352 first-preference votes in the 2005 European Election in the Dublin constituency.
The Republican Socialist Collective (RSC) was the political wing of the Irish People's Liberation Army (IPLO) and was led by Jimmy Brown. The party did not contest any elections although it was active in organising public meetings and debates in Belfast and Newry. The party ceased to exist in 1992 when the Provisional IRA wiped out the IPLO and Jimmy Brown was killed by a rival IPLO faction.
People's Democracy was a left-wing political party based in Northern Ireland. The party was largely student based and one of the leading parties in the Civil Rights campaign. It was heavily influential in northern politics from it's formation until around 1973 when it began to splinter into smaller groupings. People's Democracy called for the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association to take a more militant stance on issues and pressed for widespread protests and confrontation with state forces. It has also been claimed that the party had an armed wing called the Revolutionary Citizens Army. Following it's splintering in 1972 many of it's leading members left to form other groups such as the Red Republican Party. It has since alligned itself to the Fourth International communist organisation.
Ailtirí na hAiséirghe were an extreme Irish Nationalist and fascist political party which was founded in 1942. The group carried out all it's business in the Irish language and supported the criminalisation of Englsih. The group also called for the creation of a massive conscript army to retake Northern Ireland. In 1940 the Ceann Comhairle (Head of the Council) of the Irish government was a member. In the 1945 local elections the party won nine seats after fielding 30 candidates. The party split towards the end of 1945 and began to gradually lose influence. The parties publications and newspaper continued to appear up until the mid-1970's before it finally dissolved.
The Irish Socialist Network is an Irish socialist political party based in Dublin. It was founded in 2001 by ex-members of The Workers Party. The party is organised in the north and south of Ireland and it's main aim is the creation of a socialist Ireland.
It currently has no elected representatives.
Workers Power is an Irish Trotskyist political group which was founded in 1976 when it broke away from the Socialist Workers Movement. Originally known as the Irish Workers Group. During the Troubles the group showed unconditional support for the Provisional IRA however it later opposed the Good Friday Agreement. The group has since dropped it's support for the Provisional IRA and know supports the Real IRA and Continuity IRA. The group is still active in parts of Dublin and Belfast.
Fianna Uladh was an Irish Republican political party formed in 1953 as the political wing of the Saor Uladh paramilitary group. The party's leader, Liam Kelly, was elected to the Séanad and Stormont. However, after his internment in the late 1950's it lost momentum and disappearedin the early 60's after his release/
The Irish Independence Party (IIP) was an Irish nationalist political party which was active in Northern Ireland in the late 70's and 1980's. In 1980, the parties Chairman, John Turnley (who was a Protestant) was murdered by the UDA. In 1981 the party supported the Hunger Strike which took place in the Maze Prison and in local elections that year it secured 21 local council seats. The IIP's lost much of it's support to Sinn Féin when they began contesting elections in the 1980's. By 1986 the party had only four councillors left and disbanded in 1989.
The New Republican Forum is a small Irish republican political group. The group was formed by individuals supportive of ex-Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt who called for the organisation to stand down. McKevitt and most of the RIRA's prisoners were subsequently expelled and it is believed they went on to found the dissident Óglaigh na hÉireann paramilitary group.
Real Sinn Féin is a small Irish republican political grouping based in Limerick. The party broke away from Republican Sinn Féin over it's failure to take part in broad fornts with other political groups.
The Red Republican Party was a short-lived and extremley small political party which was active in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970's. The party was a breakaway group of People's Democracy. It's aim was a 32 County Workers Republic. The group fizzled out by the end of the 1970's.
The Young Socialists were an Irish Republican socialist political group which was active in the late 60's and early 70's. The group was based primarily around Dublin and was considered to be closely alligned to the paramilitary group Saor Éire. RTÉ broadcaster and journalist Charlie Bird is a noted ex-member. The group broke up around the time that Saor Éire was stood down.
The Republican Labour Party was an Irish Republican socialist party which was active in Northern Ireland until 1973. The party had a number of elected representatives in Stormont and Westminster as well as local representatives. It supported a united Ireland through purely peaceful means and was active in the civil rights campaign. In 1970 it's sitting MP, Gerry Fitt, left the party to form the SDLP. This resulted in the RLP losing support and by 1973 it was finished as a political force.
The Socialist Party of Ireland (not to be confused with the Socialist Party) was a small leftist political party which broke away from the Official IRA in 1971. The party was critical of the OIRA's lack of leadership on the national question. It ceased to exist by 1973.
Aontacht Eireann was an Irish republican political party founded by ex-Minister for Defence, Kevin Boland, in 1971 after he was expelled from Fianna Fáil alongside future Taoiseach Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney for supplying the Provisional IRA with weapons. Aontacht Eirinn strongly defended Irish republicans in Northern Ireland and called on the government to take more decisive action on the northern question. The party did not receive significant support with only two Fianna Fáil TD's joining. It failed to take any seats in the 1973 General Election and was eventually wound up in 1984.
Socialist Democracy is an Irish socialist political party. It was formed in 1996 by the few remaining members of People's Democracy. Former members of the Socialist Workers Party also joined the organisation. The group is based mainly in Belfast and does not contest elections. It is affiliated to the Fourth International Communist group.