‘Sinn Féin abstentionism and a hung British parliament’ by Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair

Sinn Féin campaign on the basis it will not attend Westminster parliament in England.

We Irish have no desire to interfere in the internal affairs of England, Wales or Scotland, and we will never assimilate into their colonial governance system. So, stop demanding we submit to it.

SF voters don’t expect another party to represent SF voters’ desire to abstain in protest against colonial rule imposed upon us at gunpoint by that non-Irish foreign parliament.

If you voted for SF, you knew they would abstain. If SF won in your constituency and you voted for a different party, or didn’t vote, learn to respect the fact that SF gained the mandate for your constituency. You don’t have to like the result but, if you’re a democrat, you will respect that choice by voters. The question is, do you?

To be clear, we Irish seek the reunification and self-governance of our nation. Respect our right to continue to democratically protest against its division by demonstrably showing our opposition to the presence of foreign colonial rule that sustains partition of Ireland.

All that said, if you have a personal problem in relation to a non-devolved matter, do contact your local SF MP or MEP for help. If your problem actually relates to a devolved matter, contact your local SF MLA or Councillor.

Now, what’s your ‘real’ problem?

22 Responses to ‘Sinn Féin abstentionism and a hung British parliament’ by Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair

  1. Galloglaigh June 9, 2017 at 9:46 am #

    SF don’t abstain, they just don’t take their seat. There’s a difference. To abstain would be to refuse money and all. That’s principled abstentia. I’m abstaining from eating apples, but only the skin! The juicy bit is in the middle.

    • emmet June 9, 2017 at 10:47 am #

      Not true actually. Abstain means not taking your seat. Because they ‘abstain’ they don’t get the pension. The money goes to maintaining constituency offices and using resources to which constituents are entitled to use. Your analogy is weak, the juicy bit is the pension, luxury hotel, travel expenses, subsidised 3 course meals, cheap drinks, a cosy chamber in which to nap and a juicy pension to top it all off. They take the moral high ground refusing to accept an undemocratic decision to spit a nation against the cast majorities will to give an unnatural majority to a small group of loyal bigoted supremacists. Sorry but the principle of not accepting the foreign parliament where the members have no respect or care in the slightest for your people is a principled action.

      Now, what’s your ‘real’problem?

      • Galloglaigh June 9, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

        Sorry but for all your nice words, and nice wee stories about luxury hotels, you’ve failed to see the point. Why have a constituency office for an MP requiring funding, staffing, and all that goes with a constituency office, when SF can offer the same service at the many other centres and constituency offices dotted around the six counties? That would make more sense than arguing that there’s a need for said funding when the service is already existent, funded, and staffed. Principled abstentionism doesn’t include making up stories to line your pockets.

        • emmet June 9, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

          I fail to see your point yes. The story was only nice for politicians getting the juicy bits (was pointing out the sillyness of your analogy).

          I will answer with 2 quotes from the excellent article:

          All that said, if you have a personal problem in relation to a non-devolved matter, do contact your local SF MP or MEP for help. If your problem actually relates to a devolved matter, contact your local SF MLA or Councillor.

          Now, what’s your ‘real’ problem?

  2. moser June 9, 2017 at 10:27 am #

    I concur with Galloglaigh: why take the money? An increase in the SF vote is not on it’s own an agreement with abstaining. Brexit was a factor. The DUP are now in government in England. And they also have a stronger mandate: what we have now is stalemate here in the North. If we want to persuade England to completely leave our country then, at some point we may have to go there and do that. Don’t take the money and then pontificate about principles.

  3. emmet June 9, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    Moser spend 5 minutes investigating the influence Irish MPs have and you will see Westminster is not a vehicle to progress the rights of Irish people. You can’t argue that SF voters want SF to enter a foreign parliament to get the scraps from their masters. If they did they would be going against their long held principles. The SDLP experience has shown that any nationalist party that just flips on their policies isn’t worth voting for. England already want rid of the north. A small group of unelected securocrats
    push that agenda.

    • Scott Rutherford June 9, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

      Emmet here is a quick look at what the IPP achieved.

      The creation of the Congested Districts Board in 1891, which built public works for, and provided employment in, the poor districts of western Ireland.
      The extensive 1898 Local Government Act abolished the old landlord-dominated Grand Juries and replaced them by forty-nine county, urban and rural district councils, managed by Irish people for the administration of local affairs. The councils were very popular in Ireland as they established a political class, who showed themselves capable of running Irish affairs. It also stimulated the desire to attain Home Rule and to manage affairs on a national level. A less positive consequence was that the councils were largely dominated by the Irish Party, becoming the wielders of local patronage.
      Irish Department of Agriculture Act and Technical Instructors Act (1899) (initiative of Horace Plunkett)
      Tenant Land Purchase Acts: (Wyndham Act 1903 and Birrell Act 1909), contributing greatly to the solution of the contentious land question
      Labourers (Ireland) Acts (Bryce Act 1906 and Birrell Act 1911) (the Sheehan Acts), providing rural labourers with extensive housing
      Town Tenants Act (1906)
      Evicted Tenants Act (1907)
      Old Age Pensions Act (1908)
      Irish (Catholic) University Act (1908)
      Housing of the Working Classes (Ireland) Act (1908) (the Clancy Act)

      I lifted this of wikipedia but I think its unfair to say Irish MPs have achieved nothing at Westminister. Add to this list they delivered a home rule parliament, but events such as the first World War took over.

      • emmet June 9, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

        I think you need to look at how many Irish Mps there were, 105 (or close) v 17. I don’t think you can compare then to post 1921. Also several of the acts you mention were put forward by liberals and then extended to Ireland. I know the IPP claimed many of these achievements but even if they did not comparable to the parliament as we know it.

    • Galloglaigh June 9, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

      One name, Parnell. Read a book on how he used his seat to force the home rule bills. Again, nice wee words, but not much substance.

      • emmet June 9, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

        Gallogaigh, When you are reading a book please read how many Irish MPs there were. Please also read the tactics used by the IPP to disrupt parliament, tactics which will no longer work because parliament changed rules to stop the IPP. Please read your book more carefully next time.

        • Scott Rutherford June 9, 2017 at 10:26 pm #


          Maybe that’s exactly the argument for SF to take their seats in Westminister. Numbers=strength. Absenteeism means that no matter how many seats you win failure to turn up leaves you with effectively 0.

          • Emmet June 9, 2017 at 10:42 pm #


            The reason not to is principles, integrity and democracy. They have offered a position that states they will not take their seats as they won’t swear an oath to a foreign Monarch, they don’t accept that that foreign parliament has authority over Ireland. Even if taking 7 seats in Westminster could achieve anything it would be wrong of SF to take them. All the people that claim to be democrats should not be calling for a reversal of SF abstention policy straight after a successful (for SF) election. You might not like the outcome of the election but that is democracy- accept it and move on to something else.

            Scott, I don’t believe you could vote for a party that would change policy straight after an election. If we have an electorate that would accept that then democracy is a joke.

          • Scott Rutherford June 10, 2017 at 7:22 am #


            Your changing your argument now Emmet from, sure it’s pointless going to Westminister because NI/Irish MP’s are irrelevant (which they are clearly not going by this election result) to it being a point of principle regarding the oath etc.

            I agree it would be extremely difficult for SF to do this immediately after an election but if they had done it years ago we could have seen the 7 SF MP’s become extremely influential in this new Westminister government. There are going to be some very tight votes in this parliament and SF and by extension the constituency they represent are powerless by their own choice.

          • Emmet June 10, 2017 at 9:34 am #

            No not changing my argument at all! Where did I do that? I would be easy for SF to change position but it against their principles. As I have said before any party who does a U-turn after an election does not deserve 1 vote.

            7 MPs will never be influential. DUP are always natural allies and May doesn’t have to give them anything except for hard line anti SF rhetoric. If they pushed too hard they would be dumped in favour of another party who would settle for less. I disagree with with SF taking seats in a foreign parliament for a long list of reasons- most of them would be good enough reasons on their own.

            The government is doomed anyway- I’d be surprised if it lasts 6 months. It will struggle getting anything through.

  4. moser June 9, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    You may well be right emmet.

  5. Mark June 9, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    With respect Ruaidrí, Sinn Feín will come up with some excuse, the ’empty formula. argument of yesteryear will come back, Sinn Féin today are now simply Fianna Fáil nua.
    Why did Ciarián Nugent die?
    In case you all have forgotten, because of maltreatment.

  6. emmet June 9, 2017 at 11:44 am #

    Mark, do you think there is another party that will push the republican cause better tan Sinn Fein?

    How did Ciaran Nugent die? Are you talking about the Belfast volunteer/ hunger striker?

    • Mark June 9, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

      Emmet, in my direct experience, no however, the shift from the political wing of the IRA to a soft woolly party of quite well off people does greatly concern me.
      Equally concerning was a paucity of support for former Oglaigh whom did receive strong support from other nationalist parties

  7. Ruaidri Ua Conchobair June 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    You’ve imagined SF doing something it’s adamant it won’t do and its voters don’t want, and lambast them on that basis. That’s a perfect example of a strawman argument.
    SF attended the Dáil only after the South was declared an independent Republic and only after we in the North decided to forgive the betrayal of our fellow Irish in the South. SF sit in Stormont as it’s on the island of Ireland locally governing the Irish nation: that’s much better than allowing the old orange state situation to prevail. But, and its a vitally important but, SF and its base will not shift from the principle of abstentionism toward that foreign Westminster parliament.

    By-the-way, Kieran “you’ll need to nail that uniform to my back” Nugent died due to refusing to be criminalised. Kieran wasn’t some dupe or someone duped. Like all Volunteers, he knew he was but one Volunteer in a freedom movement that was forever evolving its strategies and tactics to suit forever changing conditions. The peace process is but a different strategy designed to produce the same end goal… we will get there.

    • Mark June 9, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

      Ruaidrí, I shall, deal with the brave, and ballsey Ciarián Nugent first, he first stated, when told to don gov. issue prison garb, ‘you must be joking’ but, what killed him was the constant maltreatment meted to him over his time fighting for our freedom, he was only fourty two and left a young family.
      Again, with respect, I have lost a lot of faith in Sinn Féin as a political force, as above, their approach to supporting iar Oglaigh has been somewhat lamentable, in comparison to two other political parties here.
      I have said before, I have respect for Mairtín O Mullior, he does what we pay him to do but, he does appear the exception, in my experience.
      I note on the news earlier, the SDLP are now very keen to get into bed with Fianna Fáil, expect a big push back at the next Dail Dun Domhail/ Brit elections.

  8. Galloglaigh June 9, 2017 at 9:23 pm #


  9. michael c June 10, 2017 at 9:05 am #

    For the record SF MPs do not”line their pockets”. They take NO salary at all and the oft quoted “expenses” are used to provide a constituency service.