The Irish National Federation
(INF) was a nationalist political party
. It was founded in March 1891
by former members of the Irish National League
(INL) who had left the Irish Parliamentary Party
(IPP) in protest when Charles Stewart Parnell
refused to resign the party leadership as a result of his involvement in the divorce proceedings of Katharine O'Shea
, the separated wife of a fellow MP. with whom he had had a long standing family relationship.
The group, which had a larger membership than the rump of the former Irish Party or National League (INL) who stood by Parnell under the leadership of John Redmond
, became known as the Anti-Parnellite
faction and was led in the first year by Justin McCarthy
then by John Dillon
. The INF was supported by the Catholic clergy who strongly influenced the elections of 1892 and 1895 and various by-elections of the period. The Irish Times reported 23 February 1893 that ‘the priests…swarmed at all the polling stations, and kept the voters constantly in view’.
Membership declined during the decade, particularly after the United Irish League
(UIL) was founded in 1898
by William O'Brien
which sought party reunification. As a result, in 1900, the Federation joined the UIL merging with the INL under the joint the leadership of John Redmond
to form the new reunified Irish Parliamentary Party.
- The Penguin Dictionary of British History, Ed. Juliet Gardiner