Major Theme - {title}
Sinn Féin plans for a referendum and welcomes Finnish republic
A map showing Finland and neighbouring Russia. Sinn Féin congratulated Finland on their independence from Russia. Photo: © 2000 by Cartography Associates

Sinn Féin plans for a referendum and welcomes Finnish republic

Dublin, 12 January 1918 - The Sinn Féin party has welcomed the recent establishment of the independent republic of Finland.

The party’s Standing Committee passed a resolution congratulating the people of Finland on the ‘successful establishment of an independent Republic’. The resolution also expressed appreciation for the ‘enlightened’ action of the new government of Russia in recognising the independence of Finland: ‘One of the great European Powers can now speak of nationality and the consent of the governed without exposing itself to the scorn of thinking men.’

Letter from Loyal Orange Lodge in Newcastle on Tyne condemning the actions of the British Government in ‘allowing Sinn Feinism to spread in Ireland until at the present moment a large part of the population are in revolt against British authority’. Click image to enlarge. (Image: National Archives of Ireland, CSORP 1917 28232)

Referendum plans
These congratulations come at a time when Sinn Féin has also unveiled plans for holding a referendum on the question of Irish independence, the vote to take the form of a petition to the Peace Conference to be held once the current war comes to an end.

Books of instructions have been sent to all Sinn Féin clubs for the purpose of collecting the signatures of all persons over the age of 18 years in Ireland in support of the following message: ‘We appeal to the Peace Congress to secure the establishment of Ireland as an independent state.’

Canvassers have been charged with visiting every house in the country, and every person, whether a Sinn Féin supporter or not, will be asked to sign the appeal. According to Sinn Féin President Éamon de Valera, the intention is to ‘afford every Irishman, who wants his country free and untrammelled by the Imperialistic policy of Britain, the opportunity of saying so’.

The books will be printed in multiple languages: Irish, Italian, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Dutch and English.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.