In response to the signing of the Boundary Agreement between Great Britain and Ireland in December 1925, an extraordinary meeting of Sinn Féin was held in March 1926 to discuss the future of the party. Failing to get an agreement, Eamon de Valera resigned as leader of Sinn Féin and took rapid steps to establish a new national movement. On 16 May 1926, the inaugural meeting of Fianna Fáil was held in La Scala theatre in Dublin. Among the founding members were Seán Lemass, Gerry Boland, Countess Markievicz and Frank Aiken.
On 11 August 1927, over 40 Fianna Fail politicians entered Leinster House in small groups. Eamon de Valera was the last to enter the office of the Clerk of the House, accompanied by Frank Aiken and Dr James Ryan. To end their policy of abstentionism and take their seats in Dáil Éireann they were required to swear an oath of allegiance to the English King. However unwilling to compromise on his beliefs Mr. de Valera picked up the Bible, which was lying on the book containing the oath, carried it to the other end of the room and placed it on a couch there. He then went back signed his name on the line pointed out by the Clerk, while at the same time covering the writing above the line with some papers he held in his hand. With de Valera at the helm, the Party introduced a rapid succession of republican policy innovations and by 1932 Fianna Fáil had abolished the Oath of Allegiance to the British monarchy. In July 1937, the Irish people adopted Bunreacht na hÉireann, the Irish Constitution, a document that has stood the test of time and is the legal cornerstone of our society to this day.
The very foundation of Fianna Fail, the Republican party, was built on a policy of abstentionism and the principles of self determination, national freedom and sovereignty as laid out in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
I’m not politically aligned one way or the other but it genuinely saddens me to see the leadership of Fianna Fail suggest now, in 2018, that Sinn Fein should take their seats in Westminster. How the leadership of Fianna Fail can be so far removed from the beliefs of the foundations of the party demonstrate how much United Ireland has been removed from their agenda. Of course it’s fair to say Fianna Fail are in an identity crisis, prancing around in their Ted Baker suits pretending they're not in government with Fine Gael.
Michael Martin isn’t alone in his thinking, he has the support of several colleagues and let’s not forget Eamon O’Cuiv’s pre-Brexit suggestion that Ireland should rejoin the commonwealth. The party seems to be split in two between The Old Guard who are staunchly conservative and the remaining middle class servants of Fine Gael who have no respect for their party history. It’s hard to see Fianna Fail doing well in the next election but the one thing that is certainly clear is that it won’t be Michael Martin that is leading them into the fray, as Fianna Fail battle to retain too many conservative seats it’s just absurd to imagine this rhetoric going down well with the party faithful.