Irish National Federation

The Irish National Federation (INF) was a nationalist political party in Ireland. It was founded in 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 a long-standing relationship.

Irish National Federation
LeaderJustin McCarthy
John Dillon
Split fromIrish National League
Merged intoIrish Parliamentary Party
IdeologyIrish nationalism
Religious conservatism
Classic Liberalism
Political positionCentre-right
Justin McCarthy
John Dillon
Justin McCarthy and then John Dillon served as the successive leaders of the party

The group, which became known as the Anti-Parnellite faction and had a larger membership than the rump of the INL that stood by Parnell under the leadership of John Redmond, was led firstly by Justin McCarthy, then by John Dillon. The INF was supported by the Catholic clergy, who strongly influenced the general elections of 1892 and 1895, and the by-elections of the period. The Irish Times reported on 23 February 1893 that "the priests...swarmed at all the polling stations, and kept the voters constantly in view".

Membership of the INF declined after the United Irish League (UIL), which sought party reunification, was founded in 1898 by William O'Brien. As a result, in 1900 the Federation joined the UIL in merging with the INL under the leadership of John Redmond, in a new Irish Parliamentary Party.


  • The Penguin Dictionary of British History, ed. Juliet Gardiner