The Long March pp 133-156 | Cite as

Sinn Féin Centre Stage: The Search for Political Growth, 2001–4



With the republican political veto effectively in place in Northern Ireland from 2001, the attention of Sinn Féin switched increasingly south of the border. This is not to suggest that Northern Ireland was abandoned. On the contrary, the party sought to consolidate its lead over the SDLP — something it did with considerable success, as the results of the 2003 Assembly and 2004 European elections showed.2 Moreover, as shall be demonstrated, the Northern Irish peace process continued to be a crucial vehicle for Sinn Féin, by which the party could advance its agenda and present itself in a positive light in the Republic of Ireland. Nevertheless, the effort to achieve significant political expansion in the south was now given new urgency by republicans. Indeed, in the words of Jim Gibney, it became ‘the number one priority’ for the party in this period.3


Foreign Direct Investment Centre Stage British Government Peace Process Irish Society 
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  1. 2.
    In the 2004 European election in Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin’s Bairbre de Brun won 26 per cent of the vote, compared to 16 per cent won by the SDLP’s Martin Morgan. Figure taken from P. Hainsworth and G. McCann, ‘Change at last: The 2004 European Election in Northern Ireland’, Irish Political Studies, 19(2) (Winter 2004), p. 105.Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    During this period, for example, Sinn Féin was a vocal defender of the rights of travellers, women, homosexuals and immigrants. See, for instance, ‘New antiTraveller law passed’, AP/RN, 28 March 2002; Sinn Féin, Women in an Ireland of Equals (2002), available at <http://www.sinnFé>, last accessed 7 November 2006;Google Scholar
  3. Sinn Féin, Moving On: A Policy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Equality (1996), available at <http://www.sinnFé LGB.pdf>, last accessed 7 November 2006; ‘Sinn Féin signs anti-racism pledge’, AP/RN, 14 March 2002; ‘Sinn Féin launches Charter on Racism’, AP/RN, 17 July 2003.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    Adams, cited in Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams Presidential Address to Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2000 (2000), available at <>, last accessed 30 November 2006.Google Scholar
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    Sinn Féin, Building a Just Economy (2002), available at <http://www.sinnFé>;Google Scholar
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    Sinn Féin, Educate that you may be free (2003), available at <http://www.sinnFé>;Google Scholar
  12. Sinn Féin, Health for all (2001), available at <http://www.sinnFé>. Both last accessed 10 November 2006.Google Scholar
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    ‘Creeping Privatisation Rejected’, AP/RN, 3 April 2003. The 2003 ard fheis also passed a policy document outlining the party’s opposition to PFI/PPP. See Sinn Féin, Private Finance Initiative (2003), available at <http://www.sinnFé>, last accessed 10 November 2006.Google Scholar
  14. 104.
    Sinn Féin, Press Release: Gerry Adams on Columbia Arrests (22 August 2001) (LLPC).Google Scholar
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    S. MacCarthaigh, ‘DUP scuppers North deal’, Sunday Business Post, 19 September 2004.Google Scholar
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    A. Quinlivan and E. Schon-Quinlivan, ‘The 2004 European Parliament Election in the Republic of Ireland’, Irish Political Studies, 19(2) (Winter 2004), pp. 91–3. See also, ‘Toghchan Eorpach 11/06/2004’,, available at <>, last accessed 10 November 2006.Google Scholar
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    Figures taken from A. Kavanagh, ‘The 2004 Local Elections in the Republic of Ireland’, Irish Political Studies, 19(2) (Winter 2004), pp. 71–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Martyn Frampton 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PeterhouseUniversity of CambridgeUK

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