Tag Archives: Sinn Fein

This afternoon.

Leinster House, Dublin 2.

As loyalist paramilitary groups denied involvement in another night of rioting in west Belfast, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald…

…said loyalist violence has been deliberately planned to stoke up maximum tensions and called on unionist politicians to show “enlightened leadership” and to call off protests planned for this weekend.

Speaking outside to journalists Leinster House Ms McDonald said it is “unacceptable” that unionist leaders in the North have not yet called for further protests planned for this weekend to be cancelled.

“That message needs to come from all of us, but it particularly needs to be heard loud and clear from the leadership of the DUP, from all the unionist political parties and from all of the loyalist organisations,” she said.

“Now is your moment to step forward and in a very unequivocal and very clear and firm way, to say to those who have orchestrated this violence to stop and to call off all of the protests.”

Loyalist paramilitaries deny involvement in protests (RTÉ)

RollingNews

This afternoon.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Arts and Culture, Aengus O Snodaigh launches a document outlining his proposals for the revitalisation of the Moore Street district.

Via The Irish Sun:

The plan — called A Vision for Moore Street — includes turning Moore Street into a cultural quarter and ‘living museum’ which would involve developing the area to look like it did during the 1916 Easter Rising.

Sinn Fein TD Aengus O’Snodaigh is set to bring forward a bill to the Dail on Wednesday that will put the Moore Street plan on a legislative footing.

The buildings at 14-17 Moore Street were a key base for the 1916 Rising leaders and mark the place where they met for the last time. The streets surrounding the headquarters were also key battlegrounds during the Rising.

UK property group Hammerson, which owns a six-acre site stretching from O’Connell Street to Moore Street and Parnell Street, are set to seek planning permission next month that would involve knocking down buildings and changing the streets.

Fight!

Sinn Fein bill calls for historic buildings and markets on Dublin’s Moore Street to be preserved (The Irish Sun)

RollingNews

Violet-Anne Wynne, Sinn Féin TD for Clare

That’ll learn him.

Probably not.

Violet Anne Wynne?

This morning.

Sinn Féin has taken out adverts in a number of US newspapers calling for the Irish Government to prepare and plan for a united Ireland.

The half-page adverts are appearing in the Washington Post and the New York Times, with full page colour advertisements in the Irish-American newspapers, the Irish Voice and the Irish Echo.

Sinn Féin places adverts in US newspapers calling for united Ireland (RTÉ)

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald (thumbs aloft) with Pearse Doherty (to her right) on the first Day of the 33rd Dáil on February 2,2020

One year on.

How Sinn Féin’s social media strategy dominated the 2020 online general election campaign
.

Bethany Langham writes:

On Saturday, February 8, 2020, before COVID vaccinations and lockdowns were a primary concern of the nation, the Republic of Ireland held an historic general election.

This election led to the unprecedented coalition of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party as well as the sudden upthrust of the Sinn Féin party.

Sinn Féin’s performance saw the party take home 535,573 votes in total which represented 24.5% of the Irish electorate. This was almost double the number of votes Sinn Féin received in the 2016 general election.

General Election results 2020

This surge was particularly surprising given Sinn Féin’s poor performance at the local and European elections in May 2019 which saw the party lose half of its council representation and two thirds of its European Parliamentary seats including MEP Lynn Boylan.

Political Scientist and Editor of ‘How Ireland Voted 2020’, Dr Theresa Reidy says the Sinn Féin party saw a trend among Irish voters and successfully appealed to the electorate:

“There was a kind of a general zeitgeist amongst the voters that they wanted to change, they wanted something different, but Sinn Fein tapped that more effectively than any of the other political parties.”

On Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show in May 2020, Sinn Féin TD and the party’s Director of Elections for 2020, Pearse Doherty claimed that Sinn Féin’s use of social media was a large contributing factor in their success with Irish voters.

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook follower-increase Aug’19- Jan ‘20

“We use social media” he told the programme. “There was over half a million interactions with our posts […] we read the comments and we answer the comments”.

In the six months before the election, posts on Sinn Féin’s Facebook page received over 750,000 reactions, comments and shares and its Facebook followers increased by 17%.

Between August 2019 and election day, 97% of the reactions to Sinn Féin’s Facebook posts were positive showing an engaged and devoted social media following.

This higher level of engagement was also seen on Instagram and Twitter where Sinn Féin accounts were interacted with much more than their counterparts.

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook follower-increase Aug’19- Jan ‘20

While Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael held their own in the opinion polls, this performance was not reflected online where they paled in comparison to Sinn Féin.

Of the 34,329 reactions to Fine Gael’s Facebook posts between August 2019 and February 2020, only 60% were positive. Fianna Fáil’s posts garnered 35,281 reaction-responses of which 68% were positive.

Positive reactions to Facebook posts Aug’19- Jan ‘20

Sinn Féin’s unexpected rise in popularity had a number of contributing factors such as the generational shift caused by new leadership in the Sinn Féin party and the disconnect between politicians in power and the Irish public.

But one arena Sinn Féin made sure to dominate was online and it used a number of tactics to do so.

One such tactic was how often Sinn Féin posted online.

Sinn Féin published a total of 2,342 posts on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts between 4 August 2019 and 8 February 2020. Fianna Fáil posted 1,159 and Fine Gael just 673.

On Facebook alone, the Sinn Féin account posted 328 videos totaling in 13.6 million views.


Facebook video views, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Sinn Féin Aug’19- Jan ‘20

Despite posting the least amount of videos overall, Fine Gael had the most views per video on Facebook. According to Facebook’s Ad Library, out of the three largest parties Fine Gael were the biggest spenders on their Facebook Ad campaign for the election.

The party’s account posted 49 videos in the six months prior to the election which amounted to a total of 2.4 million views. This is an average of 7,872 more views per video posted than that of the Sinn Féin party’s Facebook account.

Of the party leaders of Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, Leo Varadkar had the most successful Instagram account. As well as having been on Instagram for longer, Varadkar posted over twice as often as Mary Lou McDonald and Micheál Martin.

Unlike Fine Gael’s official accounts Varadkar significantly outperformed his counterparts on Instagram. Between August 2019 and February 2020 his account received nearly 12 times more interactions than McDonald’s and over 33 times more than Martin’s account received.

Since Varadkar’s speech regarding COVID-19 on 12 March, his Instagram following has seen a surge in activity with the former Taoiseach’s following going from 26,177 followers on 12 March to 187,687 by 1 January 2021.

The party’s familiar faces became their online cheerleaders.

Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse Doherty were selling points for the party. Posts in which they were featured received a very positive reaction. In the lead up to the election, both of these politicians were tagged and posted about more and more frequently on the Sinn Féin Facebook page.

The account’s most popular posts in the six months before the election all featured videos of Doherty and/or McDonald.

The most popular of these posts was a 1.5 minute-long clip of McDonald at the leaders debate on the Claire Byrne Live Programme on 27 January 2020. The caption read “And that’s a knockout by Mary Lou” .

Engagement

As well as posting more frequently, Sinn Féin accounts and party members engaged with the public online.

The Sinn Féin Facebook account regularly replied to comments on their posts, answering questions, correcting what they saw to be misinformation and posting links to petitions.

The party also frequently posted the link to the Sinn Féin website encouraging its followers to sign up to become members of the party.

Between August 2019 and February 2020, Pearse Doherty personally replied to a number of comments. One example on 12 January led Doherty to provide his office phone number to a disgruntled Facebook user to talk about her concerns with the party. He also provided her with a day and time that he would be available to talk.

The Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou McDonald also engaged with the public online. McDonald too replied to Facebook comments on the Sinn Féin account. On 3 December 2019 in an Instagram post from the party’s account, McDonald asked the public to tell her of their personal experiences with the housing crisis by private message, comment or email at which point she provided her email address.

Sinn Féin’s social media accounts frequently asked to hear the experiences of its followers. When hosting a Facebook live video, Sinn Féin would ask its followers where they were watching from, promoting a type of inclusion and interactivity which was not visible on the pages of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

In the final weeks of the election campaign, Fianna Fáil hosted a Facebook live video event nearly every day. However, it did not actively interact with its followers or deviate from the seemingly prescribed format of two speakers on a podium.

Time For Change, Time For Sinn Féin

From the outset going into GE2020, Sinn Féin’s messaging was clear. Their campaign slogan, which was the title of the foreword of Sinn Féin’s manifesto, was “Time For Change, Time For Sinn Féin”.

In November 2019, this mantra of change started to crop up more frequently, no doubt ahead of the by-election held at the end of the month. It continued online throughout December and into the 2020 general election campaign, frequently seen in online posts of the party and echoed by members of Sinn Féin.

Towards the end of the campaign, Sinn Féin’s call for change was so ubiquitous it began to appear in the comments sections of other party’s pages.

On 3 February 2020, Fianna Fáil posted a video adopting this message of change and amalgamated it with its own manifesto slogan: “It’s time for change. Join us in building an Ireland for all”.

This was met with hostility with many users claiming Sinn Féin was the “real change”. The top comment of this post read: “call it a day you’ve passed your sell by date”.

Coming into the 2020 election, Sinn Féin had a larger online following than its opponents which may also have aided the party’s growth.

TD Matt Carthy and Sinn Féin’s Director of Elections in 2016, claims that during the 2020 election the party found that it was able to use “social media to direct the tenure of the campaign”.

According to Carthy, this was “a result of a number of years of really hard work on building up a social media presence, and using social media in a very clever way”.

Carthy says a new framework of messaging had been put in place shortly before the local and European elections of 2019.

“Clearly, we hadn’t done enough at that stage and we had suffered the bruising day at the polls back in May of 2019. But at the same time, I think we learned an awful lot of lessons from that campaign.”

Bethany Langham is a Galway-born, Dublin-based freelance video journalist

Rollingnews

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin O Broin and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Justice, Senator Lynn Boylan talking to the media on the plinth of the Dail yesterday

This morning.

Leinster House, Dublin 2

Sinn Féin will today use their private members’ time to introduce the Homeless Prevention Bill to the Dáil which would require local authorities to put in a homelessness prevention plan in place for families and individuals 60 days before they become homeless.

Via Irish Examiner:

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin  Ó Broin said: “The situation today is if I’m at risk of homelessness and my notice to quit expires in 60 days and I go to my local authority, they tell me to come back in 60 days time.

What this would do is make local authorities far more proactive in putting in place solutions for people before they become homeless.”

The party is claiming the Government is undercounting the number of people who are homeless by up to 20%.

Deputy O’Broin added:

“There are many more people, in fact about 20% more than the Department of Housing’s report indicates, who are in emergency accommodation funded by other Government departments.

“So for example, on any given night there are almost 600 adults and children in domestic violence refuges funded by Tusla and their lead department.

“There are over 1,000 adults and children who are former asylum seekers, but have secured international protection and leave to remain, but are trapped in direct provision, essentially using it as emergency accommodation funded by the Department of Justice.

“There are several hundred individuals in religious hostels that don’t receive any Government funding and therefore they’re not counted at all.Too few, too dear — plan for 350 affordable homes comes in for criticism from opposition

“And of course on any given night we have between 90 and 100 rough sleepers.

The real level of homelessness in terms of people who tonight will be in emergency accommodation or sleeping on the streets, is over 10,000, 20% higher than the Government’s official figures.”

Government undercounting homeless figures by up to 20%, Sinn Féin claims (irish Examiner)

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley TD addressed the Public Accounts Committee, which he chairs. and apologised for his tweet about the Kilmichael and Warrenpoint attacks

This afternoon.

Yesterday: Ambushed

Oireachtas/RollingNews

Sinn FŽéin TD Brian Stanley, chairman of the Public Accoounts Committee, has apologised for a now-deleted tweet referencing incidents from the War of Independence and the Troubles, saying it was “inappropriate and insensitive”.

This morning/afternoon.

Via RTÉ:

The vice-chair of PAC and Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said while Mr Stanley had apologised and deleted the tweet, this was not sufficient to resolve the matter.

Ms Murphy told RTÉ News she was appalled by the tweet, adding Mr Stanley’s actions so far are not sufficient and there cannot be “business as usual” at the PAC on Wednesday.

One PAC member, Fine Gael’s Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, told RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne that, at a minimum, Mr Stanley should recuse himself as PAC chair…

…Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry said while the comments were very inappropriate and insensitive, Mr Stanley was a good chair and should not resign.

Meanwhile…

fellow PAC member, Cormac Devlin, said it was a matter for Mr Stanley about what do to next.., Labour’s Sean Sherlock, Independent Verona Murphy also said he had apologised and should remain as PAC Chair…Fine Gael’s Alan Dillon said it was a personal choice for Mr Stanley, while the Green TD Neasa Hourigan declined to comment….Sinn Féin PAC member Imelda Munster said Mr Stanley is a really good and fair chairperson….

Committee divided over Stanley position as PAC chair (RTÉ)

Kilmichael ambush?

Narrow Water ambush?

RollingNews

Meanwhile…

This afternoon.

The Dáil at the Convention Centre, Dublin.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald arrives ahead of a no-confidence motion against Tanaiste Leo Varadkar for leaking confidential GP contract documents.

Watch live here.

Earlier: All Behind Him

RollingNews

Earlier: Leo’s High Standards