Sinn Fein and new media

As one fairly new to the world of Twitter, I owe Mick and a number of others thanks for pointing me in the direction of this fascinating and seemingly effective use of new media by Sinn Fein in Mary Street, Dublin. As Mick put it, Sinn Fein appear to be streets ahead of the Irish pack with their engagement of new media. A sign of things to come in Belfast, Derry and elsewhere?

  • Mac

    Comely maidens dancing at the crossroads?

    Very smart use of the internet indeed.

  • babyface finlayson

    Very good.
    I hope all those in favour of youth unemployment will now see the error of their ways.

  • lamhdearg2

    English/Gaeilge, are s.f. not pushing for “Gaeilge first”

  • derrydave

    Imaginative, innovative, striking – what’s not to like ?? Well done to whoever is responsible !

  • Mac

    “Twitter will help the shinners get their message across to the drones”

    Speaking of droning.

  • ranger1640

    I’m no Twitter aficionado, but I think you can’t stop or edit posts?

    Oh dear, oh dear does this mean we will be able see those who criticise the shinners. We know how pardoned the shinners are about censoring any negative comments, isn’t that right Carol.

    Here is a interesting wee tit bit from Martin Meehan juniors site. Will we be seeing more of this on the shinner Twitter feed. Oh I do hope so.

    “When Provisional Sinn Fein agreed to the Mitchel Principles on 1997, the Movement split with many Republicans forming the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and the (Real) IRA. A Campaign of attrition was not only launched by the Provisonals against this new Movement, but also by the Free State and Crown Forces. Any Volunteer or Sinn Fein member who associated with this group were ‘arrested, interrogated and dismissed’ from the Provisionals. Members of the 32’s were also smeared and slandered in much the same manner as RSF had been ten years before. Many of the ‘new breed’ of Volunteers were promoted to senior positions within the IRA and Sinn Fein, while those with years of experience were given lesser roles or ‘stood-down’.

    After speaking to a couple of senior Volunteers with a wealth of experience of working within the Adams/McGuinness circle, they told me that Volunteers who were simply concerned with militarism were being sidelined in favour of those new men who wanted to strengthen the political path Sinn Fein were now taking. They advised me to get more involved in the political scene and I would remain at the ‘coalface’. Ironically around the same time, my Dad was ‘ordered’ to build the Movement in the South Antrim area. It was an ‘Army’ (IRA) brief but we and others realised that the Leadership wanted him out of North Belfast to make way for Gerry Kelly. With my Father still active in the area, Kelly would have no chance of securing votes as the Nationalist and Republican electorate there were pretty parochial”.

    “It was also around the same time that a senior figure in the Party, Denis Donaldson arranged a meeting with my Father. He told him that he could NOT stand for the South Antrim Constituency in the forthcoming elections and that not only was it an ‘Army Order’ but that Michel McLaughlin from Derry was to be the Candidate. Furthermore, he ordered Dad to be McLaughlin’s election Agent! Three years earlier, my Father had just missed being elected by 81 votes and he felt he could gain the seat that coming May. Donaldson was later exposed as a British Informer and shot-dead in County Donegal. So with the deselection of my Dad and the endorsement of the unreformed RUC, I decided to leave the Provisional Movement. It had become something which I no longer recognised and did not want to be associated with it any longer. I spoke to my Dad of my decision and he and I had a number of lengthy conversations. He felt that he couldn’t leave as he was a still a Volunteer and had to follow Army Orders. He agreed with my analysis but didn’t want to come out publicly and say so, as people would now see it as sour grapes after his deselection.

    Weeks later, Dad and I had a verbal argument about the vote at the Special Ard Fheis in which he spoke in favour of the RUC/PSNI. He said that he had been ‘ordered’ to do…. Sadly, we didn’t speak again until his untimely death that November. I suffered a heart attack a fortnight after his death and spent the next few months recuperating. I met a number of sound Republicans who had also left the Provisional Movement in recent years and who had lobbied for a no vote prior to the Special Ard Fheis. They had just formed a new Republican Campaign group called RNU and were gaining new members across the Country. I liked the idea and the name which was inclusive and had the unity of its members, Republicans and the County as it’s main principle. It was also determined to have at its core a Republican-Socialist agenda and outlook”.

  • “Sinn Fein appear to be streets ahead of the Irish pack with their engagement of new media”

    Just following in the ‘footsteps’ of Tourism Ireland [YouTube].

    “A flash mob organised by Dublin Sinn Féin”

    I wonder if the parents knew their children were dancing to a paramilitary tune – in a manner of speaking. There’s a strong whiff of hypocrisy about this stunt. The corrupt PRM was doing much worse things in the 80s than the politicians; employment opportunities were well down its agenda. It and its other paramilitary counterparts indulged in a different type of emigration.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Sure things must be grand for the woolly kin within the Sinn Fein fold. Everything it seems is a harbinger of the shinners’ advance to the bestest, most superist future, ever.

    Should Gerry or Martin break wind I expect the drones cheer at the discovery of a new energy source.

    But then again, better a flash mob rather than the shinners’ preferred flash bang of old.

  • George

    Link to event:

  • lamhdearg2

    yep s.f./ira have come a long way, from using meat scewers to nail a child to the ground beat him with bats, then force him to leave the country, to street performance art, i bet the kids are happier.

  • Little James

    I thought it was pretty cringe worthy, we are against emigration and youth unemployment so here are a few young girls dancing. Innovative indeed.

  • alan56

    North Korean delegation arrives in Dublin prior to London Olympics!

  • “Sinn Fein and new media”

    New Sinn Féin; new Irish tradition?

  • Pigeon Toes

    I’d have been more impressed if it had been Gerry and Martin at the front leading those wanes with wee leg warmers and Glee T-shirts 😀

  • weidm7

    Headline: ‘Sinn Feín president coughs’

    Slugger commenters: ‘Typical SF/IRA hypocrisy, coughing while they killed so many innocents’

    ‘Will gerry finally admit now to the coughing, or lack thereof, which killed so many innocents during the troubles?’

    ‘This is typical SF posturing, showing how they have no respect for deceny or moral fibre’

    So much for playing the idea, not the party and not a yellow card in sight.

  • Jimmy Sands

    An unfortunate choice of song title perhaps.

    Kids From Fein?

  • Mick Fealty

    I actually agree weidm. Yellows duly delivered. If I’ve missed any, let me know.

    I’m sure the party will be delighted to see so many people miss the point. And the point is (as I’ve been saying for years), experiment, and ramp up what works.

    If you do nothing, or fail to bring your support together on line you are missing in the battle for votes in the successor generation.

    It won’t help you build a good campaign, you need real politics for that, but you ignore net at your long term peril…

    I liked this, not because it’s the finished article, but because it’s playful… And if it does nothing more than keep the home team happy, it’s a win. If its more than that it’s a double win.

    The point is the party has assets (ie people) online. And it’s spending time and effort on building a community around that online commitment.

    And, esp in the republic, that successor demographic is key to the party’s long term success. So you can laugh all u like about the incongruity with the past, I think youse are all badly missing the point.

  • sonofstrongbow

    ‘Slugger O’Toole in airbrushing Sinn Fein’s past shocka!’.

    All fun I know (whats a few thousand dead here or there when we can have dancing in the street?). Oh, we’ll just ignore the constant ’50 years of misrule’ jibber jabber or ‘it was the RUC wot done it’ that constantly surfaces (unchallenged by the top office) when a ‘unionist’ story appears.

    But hey; your site, your misrule.

    Here’s my bowl: please sir, can I have a Black Spot?

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m not censuring anyone for doing anything other than deliberately switching from object to subject. You hate SF? Big deal! Save it for a thread which is relevant. Geddit?

  • lamhdearg2

    i missed the point completely, but then i am the sort of person,who would spin on his heels at the sight, I also think the point should be made that if this policy of handing out yellows is carried through with, on all threads, there we be no one left to discuss anything, i will watch out for it come the threads surrounding any upcoming Ulster Convenant threads, and some one may want to look at the recent RUCAA threads, see you all in a few weeks?.

  • Reader

    With the Parades Commission and all, would a flash mob be legal in Northern Ireland? Whether it was organised by Sinn Fein or by the Orange Order?

  • Mick Fealty

    Read the commenting policy? And the bit where it says we don’t pre moderate?

    We need this to be self policing, otherwise some of us would never get to earn a days pay!

  • ranger1640

    I wonder have the shinners thought this Twitter social feed thing through??? Have they forgotten that Twitter was used to over throw their middle ease dictator friends.

    I wonder if those in the Connlloy house bright ideas club, ever pondered, if their dear leader might be open to criticism, and a possible coup d’état/putsch.

  • ranger1640

    Sorry that should be: middle east dictator friends.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Methinks the Mick doth protest too much.

    lamhdearg2 called it correctly when referencing the RUC AA thread where object – retention of the association’s name, became a sustained series of subjective attacks on the RUC.

    I think self-interest is at play here. Mr Fealty seems to regard himself as some sort of ‘new media’ guru. He must spot an opportunity here and perhaps is deluded enough to believe that some other politicos will beat a path to his door for his insights.

    But back to my substantive point. I’ve exchanged many emails with other ‘unionist’ posters on the partisan application of cards. As one wit put it in any vote the ‘Red Planet’ would be a solidly unionist constituency.

  • tacapall

    Chittychittybangbang and the child catcher comes to mind. Sinn Fein concerned about youth unemployment ! Do you really think the kids from West Belfast would be as fooled.

  • Mick Fealty

    Look lads, there’s a time to talk and a time to card… I’ve made the rule clear… Stick to the subject and “no harm will come to you…”

  • derrydave

    Look, surely it’s not too much to ask of people to discuss and comment on what is a very imaginative aproach from a political party without letting their prejudice re that party come to the fore ??
    It says a lot to me about the youth and energy within Sinn Fein – could you imagine any other party in Ireland organising somthing like this ? I certainly can’t, and think it is fantastic to see. There may well be a generational issue in some of the comments – this move is something which is meant to be light-hearted and meant simply to get attention – it’s something that young people can relate to much more than your average boring manifesto. Well done sinn Fein !

  • salgado

    “… meant simply to get attention – it’s something that young people can relate to much more than your average boring manifesto. ”

    But surely Sinn Fein are big enough now in the Republic that they don’t need to resort to stunts like this to get attention? Everyone knows that youth unemployment is an issue – but it’s not clear to me from this what SF mean to do about it (other than have a little dance).

    Perhaps a boring manifesto would help. This just feels like a distraction, no matter how well organised it may have been.

  • salgado

    Also, the involvement of this “Francesca Arkins Dance Academy” – it seems a bit odd to me that a youth organisation like that would be doing something so party political.

  • Mick Fealty


    As I said in the post the issue of the politics of the thing is almost separate to whether you are seeking to engage your online community. i happen to think we don’t put half enough effort into policy north or south. but I would not let that obscure the need for parties build confidence in their online support.

  • salgado

    Possibly, but I feel this was a missed opportunity to promote some sort of more coherent message along with the event (even just a link to the relevant section of their website would have been a start). I think you do need that if you’re to really engage people with what you’re doing.

    Maybe slightly off topic, but I did like FG’s attempt at online promotion with their Enda Kenny platform game. I never did manage to make it past Gerry Adams.

  • RyanAdams

    Interesting innovative approach by a political party to public awareness.

    ‘A sign of things to come in Belfast and Derry?’

    No. Not when your in Government. That shits easy when your an opposition party, do it while your supposed to be governing and you’ll look like someone who has half baked power, almost like a Lib Dem at the minute.

  • andnowwhat

    Twitter is the way to go but there is a caution, it must be done with sincerity, to one degree or another. The Twiteratti get seriously pee’d off when it is used to just spout and pontificate.

    When the UUP leadership thing kicked off I went to John Mc Callister’s Twitter but he hadn’t used it since December. Now, I don’t know if some office in the big house set up all the MLAs with a Twitter account or whatever bur it is much better not to have one at all than to have a dormant one,

    Whilst no-one would expect a politician to respond to every single comment posted on their twitter, 2 way traffic is expected. It’s a method pf communication and communication is a 2 way thing. Potification should be kept for press releases and party’s/politician’s websites.

    As for the anti-Sinn Fein comments: We all know the opinions of those who are posting those comments and comments against SF are completely valid but constantly reaching for the same tired nonsense rather than addressing the topic at hand weakens the aniti-SF agenda. Don’t worry guys. The shinners will do something or have their foot back in their mouths soon enough.

  • “engagement of new media”

    Where does new media or, indeed, a flash mob feature in this (hypocritical) political stunt? It’s an organised group of, mainly, children and the event’s organisation was most likely carried out by traditional means. Is the new media dimension limited to bunging a video on YouTube and onlookers grabbing some images on their mobile phones?

    What impact will this event have on employment or on emigration? At least when our 16-18 year olds organised a colourful bed push in Coleraine in the 80s a charity benefited from the proceeds and the publicity.

  • seamus60

    It worked for Hitler. Didn`t it ? Get em reeled in young and the thought control process will flow. The end product a party with unlimited volunteers prepared to do anything for the cause. Where have we seen that before.
    By the time these youth are actually unemployed there`ll be no spare time to complain as the party will be using them flat out. At one end reeling in the youth and at the other running out transparency and accountability aids.

  • ayeYerMa

    I think Mick’s cavalier attitude here, towards promoting the strategy, growth and interests of what is a movement of mass terror as if it were normal and no big deal, sums up exactly what is wrong with Ireland today. The mass slaughter of 2000+ people in their failed little “war” is not some minor issue that we are ever going to let disappear off the radar (cf how we’re still discussing the deaths on Titanic even today).

    So long as Eirish Nationalists continue to thrust the Provos into power then Eirish Nationalism will only continue to be regarded as a laughing stock by non-nationalists, and the issued will continue to be raised. Society doesn’t generally accept perverts but it seems that for Nationalists the Perverted Provos are the order of the day.

    Give me at least a yellow please – I’ll wear it as a badge of honour.