Who controls Sinn Féin?


Sir, – Claire Kerrane asserts that criticism of Sinn Féin is anti-democratic (“Anti-democratic campaign against Sinn Féin wheels out the same old bogeymen”,Opinion & Analysis, January 26th).

She is quite simply wrong. While observing the outcome of an election and respecting a mandate is crucial to a functioning democracy, criticism of any political party, far from being anti-democratic, is part of the cut and thrust of any robust society, and such freedom of expression is a critical indicator of the health of a democracy.

For too long there has been a misperception among many that the Belfast Agreement gave Sinn Féin special status and a mandate to govern. It did not.

The electorate retains the right to decide who governs, and Sinn Féin will be subjected to the same slings and arrows as all other parties.

If its internal problems are bigger than most, that is its problem.

Attempts to silence those who highlight such problems is the only anti-democratic act at play here. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – Claire Kerrane TD does not contradict the views expressed by Sinn Féin’s director of finance to your reporter Colm Keena (“Inside Sinn Féin”, News, March 5th, 2020). Explaining their culture of democratic centralism with unelected officials, Mr Mackin said: “We don’t want a parliamentary party running the organisation. We want to stay a party of activists. It’s a totally different model.”

Indeed, this way of doing business was confirmed by an official investigation into the “cash for ash” scandal by the Northern Ireland Executive.

The report found that Sinn Féin finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir sought “consent” from an unelected senior republican before making decisions.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said he does not differ from the view of the PSNI that the IRA army council oversees Sinn Féin.

No explanation is offered by Ms Kerrane how policy is adopted outside of their ardfheis and if elected TDs can make decisions independently from these unelected officials. The experience of Sinn Féin councillors on our local authorities across Dublin suggests otherwise. – Yours, etc,



Fine Gael Group Leader,

South Dublin

County Council,


Dublin 24.

Sir, – I am proud to be a citizen of the Republic of Ireland. Claire Kerrane TD continues to refer to my State of residence and citizenship as “The South”. Like it or not, our Republic consists of 26 counties, recognised by its people by referendum.

When Sinn Féin recognises where I live, I might start to believe it is not controlled from outside this State. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.