Shifting to the Left: The Rise of Sinn Féin in the 2020 Irish General Election


This paper seeks to determine, how do the results of the 2020 General Election indicate Ireland’s shift towards an increasingly progressive voter base? How will this impact the unification debate in Ireland and Northern Ireland?

With the rise of far-right populism spreading across Europe, Ireland seems to be going in the opposite direction. In the last election, Sinn Féin, the democratic socialist and Irish republican left-leaning party, won a majority of the vote at 24.5% the highest since the election of 1923, a significant 10.17% increase from the 13.8% achieved in the 2018 election. Although they did not form government as a result of a coalition between Fianna Fáil (22.2%) and Fine Gael (20.9%), the party receiving the majority of the vote signifies a left-ward shift in the Irish voting base.

The objective of this research is to analyze the electoral results, secondary sources, and news sources to assess what led to Sinn Féin’s historic results in the 2020 Irish election, and what has led to the increase in progressive politics in Ireland.