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Sinead O'Connor applies to join Sinn Féin

Sinead O'Connor
Image caption Sinead O'Connor has often courted controversy for her outspoken political and religious views but said she has never voted in any election

Irish singer Sinead O'Connor has applied to become a member of the political party, Sinn Féin.

Writing in her blog, she said she wanted to join the party "just as a regular punter" because she wanted to see a "proper socialist Ireland".

However, in a Facebook post on Monday night, she also called for the Sinn Féin leadership to step down.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson said the party welcomed her membership application and that it was currently being processed.

'Sinead's musings'

O'Connor achieved worldwide fame in 1990 with the song Nothing Compares 2 U, written by Prince.

She has often courted international controversy over her outspoken political and religious views.

The pop star currently writes a regular blog on her website, entitled Sinead's musings.

In recent weeks, her posts have focused on the controversial introduction of domestic water charges in the Republic of Ireland and the legacy of the 1916 Easter Rising, the rebellion against British rule.

'Step down'

In her latest blog entry, entitled Strange Week, she wrote: "I'm joining Sinn Féin now. If they'll have me.

"Just as a regular punter who wants to learn and contribute with whatever strengths I might have or learn. I'd like to see a proper socialist Ireland."

She also said that she has "never voted" in an election in her life.

Writing in a later Facebook post on Monday night, O'Connor said she "might not even be the kind of person they [Sinn Féin] want".

She added: "I feel the elders of Sinn Féin are going to have to make 'the supreme sacrifice' and step down shortly in the same way the last Pope did."

Both Sinn Féin and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church have faced criticism over how they dealt with allegations on child sexual abuse in Ireland.

'Violent history'

It is not the first time O'Connor has publicly criticised Sinn Féin or other political parties.

In a blog entry last week, dated 1 December, she wrote: "We have a system left over from 1922. Fine Fail (sic)/Fine Gael/Sinn Fein, all of them. They are of the old order. They are of our violent history.

"We need new politics. Young people. Not people of the theocracy. Not people of "The War". Not of any war."

In a statement to the Journal.ie news website, a Sinn Féin spokesperson said: "We look forward to working with Sinead as part of Sinn Féin delivering change in communities across Ireland."

However, the party later defended its leaders against the singer's calls for them to step down.

"The membership of the party selects the Sinn Féin leadership every year at our Ard Fheis (annual conference)," a spokeswoman said.

"As a member, Sinead would have an equal say in that process."

It also said that support for the party in the Republic of Ireland "has grown considerably" since Gerry Adams was elected as a member of the Irish parliament.

Ordination

O'Connor has a history of hitting the headlines over issues unrelated to her music career.

She sparked anger in 1992 when she ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II live on US television.

In 1999, she was ordained as a priest by a breakaway church in Lourdes, which is not recognised by the mainstream Catholic Church.

That same year, she pulled out of a festival gig in west Belfast in protest, claiming the organisers had asked her not to raise the issue of so-called punishment beatings by paramilitary groups.

In 2010, she called for Catholics to boycott Mass until there was a full investigation into the Vatican's role in the issue of child abuse.

In December 2011, she annulled her fourth marriage to therapist Barry Herridge 16 days after their wedding.

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