Fianna Éireann

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File:Fianna poster.jpg
A recruitment poster for the now-defunct Fianna Éireann group associated with Provisional Sinn Féin.
File:52591 1.JPG
The Republican Sinn Féin linked Na Fianna Éireann get ready to march at Bodenstown in 2003

The name Fianna Éireann (Template:IPA2, Template:Audio), also rendered as Fianna na hÉireann and Na Fianna Éireann (Irish: "Soldiery of Ireland", named after the mythological Fianna), has been used by various Irish republican youth movements throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. "Fianna na hEireann" [sic] is currently on the list of terrorist groups proscribed in the United Kingdom under the Terrorism Act (2000).


Fianna Éireann was originally founded in 1909 by Constance Markievicz and Bulmer Hobson, along the paramilitary lines of Baden-Powell's Boy Scouts, but emphasising Irish nationalism rather than the British nationalism of the Baden-Powell Scouts.

The Fianna were militarily trained including use of firearms, drilling, first aid. They were were active in many activities including the Howth Gun Running (1914), the funeral of O'Donovan Rossa and played a significant part in the Easter Rising of 1916. Many Fianna had graduated to the Irish Republican Army by the time of the War of Independence (1919–1921). During the Irish Civil War (1922–1923), the organisation was affiliated to the anti-Treaty faction of the IRA.


The organisation split into factions with differing political views and ideologies over the subsequent decades, in a manner comparable to that of the various organisations claiming the title 'Irish Republican Army'. Probably the most prominent current incarnation of the organisation has links with the Continuity Irish Republican Army, Cumann na mBan and Republican Sinn Féin; another extant Fianna group is linked to the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and allegedly to the Real Irish Republican Army. The Provisional IRA established a similar organisation in the 1970s as a youth wing, following the split with the Official IRA, but it was disbanded in the late 70's.

The Official Na Fianna Éireann units based mainly in Belfast and Newry after the split, developed into a socialist model mirroring Official Sinn Féin and eventually in the late 1970s was renamed the Irish Democratic Youth Movement (IDYM), whilst it ended its semi-paramilitary training, it continued as a scouting movement, forging links with similar groups associated with communist and workers parties abroad, most notably with the Free German Youth in the German Democratic Republic. With the reorganisation of Sinn Féin The Workers Party into The Workers Party in 1982, the IDYM became simply Workers' Party Youth, which continues today and has taken a role as an affiliate of the World Federation of Democratic Youth.

A Scouting movement?

With the evolution of international Scouting towards a movement emphasising peace, it is now difficult to class the factions of Fianna Éireann as Scouting movements. No manifestation of Fianna Éireann has ever been recognised by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, which sees Scouting as apolitical, in contrast to the partisan nature of Fianna Éireann, a uniformed youth movement with little other connection to the Scout method.

Former Chiefs of Staff

Chief Scouts

Notable former members

See also

  • Young Citizen Volunteers

External links