The issues that the Sinn Fein administration concerns itself with have shifted dramatically in the past few decades. Sinn Fein had little interest in catering to the daily needs of the Irish public during the Troubles, as the IRA and the party saw the impact of internment as a prerequisite concern. However, since the ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement (and the resulting tentative peace between the Republic and the UK), Sinn Fein has been forced to adapt to the concerns that have taken precedence in contemporary Ireland in order to survive as a party.
Stances on water rights, universal healthcare, and the EU amongst other issues addressed by the party all indicate the democratic socialist nature contemporary Sinn Fein. However, Sinn Fein continues to stress the necessity of a United Ireland when vocalizing positions on more specific modern issues. The ideology page of the Sinn Fein website stresses, first and foremost, that “The achievement of a United Ireland is within our reach and unity offers the best future for all the people of Ireland. In these harsh economic times, it is also the best way forward from a financial and social perspective.” Thus, despite the expansion of Sinn Fein, the issue that originally led to the formation of the party remains its primary concern.
In April 2015, Gerry Adams announced a renewed bid for a United Ireland. Although the issue sometimes gets overshadowed by more pressing political concerns, Adams and Sinn Fein plan to use the centennial celebration of the 1916 Easter Rising as a springboard for discussions of reform. Sinn Fein has cemented its role as the primary leftist populist movement in Ireland by its positions on more specific political issues, but has also remained the party most passionately fighting for a United Ireland, its original goal.
Sinn Fein members marching in the
2015 Easter Monday celebration