Rebels in government

Is Sinn Féin ready for power?

By Agnès Maillot

Rebels in government


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5456-9
  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £14.99
  • Published Date: February 2022
  • BIC Category: Irish Politics, Irish Studies, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Politics & government, LAW / Government / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, Humanities / British & Irish history, Northern Ireland, Ireland


The February 2020 general election in the Republic of Ireland sent shockwaves through the country's political system. Sinn Féin, ahead of all other parties in terms of first preference votes, secured its place as a potential coalition partner, a role it has been playing in Northern Ireland since the start of the century. This result not only disrupted the two-party system, it also questioned a narrative that had cast Sinn Féin as an outlier in the political mainstream. However, the prospect of this all-Ireland, radical left and former Provisional IRA associate being in government raises many questions: what does the success of this all-Ireland party say about the prospect of reunification? Can a party over which the shadow of paramilitaries still lingers be fully trusted? And are the radical changes that the party advocates in areas such as housing, public health and taxation a compelling alternative? These are the questions that this book sets out to address.


'A timely, readable account of an important and complex subject.'
Richard English, author of Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA

'This book asks all of the right questions. You may not agree with all of the analysis, but this is essential reading if you want to understand Sinn Féin, which opinion polls suggest will be the biggest political party in Ireland, both North and South, after the next elections in each jurisdiction.'
John Doyle, Professor of International Conflict Resolution, Dublin City University


1 The United Ireland Party
2 The legacy of the Troubles
4 The radical left-wing party



Agnès Maillot is Associate Professor in the School of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies at Dublin City University

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