Sinn Féin 1908-1916

In 1908 an opportunity arose for S.F to put its policies to the test of public opinion. In 1908, Dolan, a disillusioned home ruler resigned from his N. Leitrim seat and contested it again under the S.F ticket. Though he did not win the election he gave quite a credible performance for a newly formed party. Around the same period of time, there was a large increase in S.F membership with 182 branches by 1909. The majority of the recruits were young people.
Griffith’s personality was such that he fought with many of the leading personalities of the time including Douglas Hyde, W.B Yeats and James Larkin. Therefore he was least likely to make a success of co-ordinating an umbrella movement which hoped to reconcile so many facets of Irish nationalism. A second problem lay in the ambiguous programme. Also Griffith was essentially a propagandist and not a skilful political manipulator.
In the early years of the 20th century the I.R.B. was being revitalised and was happy to use S.F. as a façade behind which they could work to further their own ends. Like wise from 1910 onwards it seemed that the H.R Party was within sight of winning its objectives, particularly after the passing of the Parliament Act 1911. Therefore Griffith’s abstention policy fell on deaf ears and with the introduction of the H.R Bill 1912 was denigrated as “the bas fairy at the Christening”.
As a result by 1916 there was only one central branch of S.F operational.