Chathaoirligh, a theachtaí is a cháirde
fíor-chaoin fáilte rómhaibh
go léir ag an Ard-Fheis seo, and 100ú
ceann de chuid Shinn Féin. You are all most
welcome to this, the hundredth Ard-Fheis of Sinn
Féin. The next year will mark the centenary
of the foundation of the Sinn Féin organisation:
it was launched in the Rotunda, Dublin on November
the coming year we will be required to mark this
occasion in a series of events at which we shall
demonstrate that 2005 is the 100th anniversary of
our foundation and celebrate a century of struggle
against English rule in Ireland. The basis of Sinn
Féin was and is that since England has no
right to rule our country, the Irish representation
should be withdrawn from the English parliament
and an All-Ireland assembly be convened at home
which would rule all 32 counties.
who broke the Sinn Féin constitution in 1986
participate in the two partition parliaments forced
on the Irish people by England and have offices
in and expenses from Westminster. That being so
they forfeit all claim to the historic name of Sinn
the outset it is appropriate to refer to the recent
death in New York of our distinguished Patron, George
Harrison. George succeeded Michael Flannery and
before him Tom Maguire and his passing in his 90th
year occasioned a keen sense of loss among true
Republicans and comrades in the international struggle
for national liberation and justice.
joined the East Mayo Battalion, IRA in the 1930s
and following his emigration to the United States
he became a life-long worker for Irish liberation
for more than 60 years His messages of encouragement
to successive Ard-Fheiseanna will be recalled and
his departure from the scene will leave a huge gap
in the ranks of Irish American supporters of the
Republican Movement in Ireland.
was the statement issued by him together with the
late Tom Falvey in 1986 when the All-Ireland Republic
was abandoned by the latest group of collaborators
with English rule here. Having rejected their move
to accept the 26-County parliament and institutions,
they stated without hesitation:
reaffirm our support to those who stand solidly
behind the traditional Republican policy of abstention
or boycott of all British-imposed institutions of
servility and replace not reform them
with Republican institutions of liberty and freedom.
the year also another faithful Irish Republican
passed on with the death of Peter Farley of New
Jersey. Pete worked with us down the decades, stood
firmly with the All-Ireland Republic in 1986, and
since then was the main distributor of SAOIRSE in
the United States. Leaba i measc na bhFíníní
go raibh aca beirt.
chairde, another eventful year in our struggle for
freedom, justice and peace has just concluded. On
the world scene opposition to the continued illegal
occupation of Iraq by US and British forces has
persisted and Republican Sinn Féin has joined
in the anti-war protests. Specifically we participated
in the Dublin demonstration on March 20, the first
anniversary of this imperialist war, under our own
during President Bushs 18-hour visit to Shannon
and Co Clare on June 25/26, out members were prominent
in the pickets and demonstrations held in various
centres across the country. They joined the thousands
of Irish people who by their presence on the streets
and roads of the 26 Counties made clear in no uncertain
terms their opposition to the visit of a man who
with Tony Blair presided over the Anglo-US invasion
and subjugation of the Iraqi people in defiance
of the United Nations and the illegal detention
and torture of political prisoners in Iraq and at
they protested against the flouting of neutrality
by the Dublin government in granting landing and
refuelling facilities to US warplanes at Shannon
and Baldonnel in support of this war of conquest.
Recently it has been alleged that the 26-County
State is not neutral but is non-aligned. Republican
Sinn Féin, for its part, stands on a policy
of neutrality and non-alignment, opposing all support
for imperialist wars of whatever kind. The steady
whittling away of such a policy by Leinster House
administrations in recent years has eroded the honourable
regard with which Ireland was once viewed by the
formerly colonised peoples of the world.
Three reasons were given publicly for the invasion
and occupation of Iraq. Two of these were found
to be manifestly without foundation: (1) the possession
of weapons of mass destruction and (2) linkage with
Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Obviously US intelligence
has been shown to be wanting.
remains the third reason: the removal of the regime
of Saddam Hussein. To invade another country in
a pre-emptive strike simply to overthrow its government
even one as objectionable as that of Saddam
Hussein is totally contrary to the Charter
of the United Nations Organisation. The horrific
consequences of such action in the case of Iraq
has been with us even up to the present. Nowhere
in American or British official statements has there
been mention of a fourth reason: the assertion of
domination in the Middle East and control of oil
supplies at bargain rates.
the designation of Republican Sinn Féin as
a foreign terrorist organisation by
the US State Department on July 14 last was false,
based on faulty intelligence and does a grave injustice
to all those working for a just political solution
to the conflict in the Six British-occupied Counties
State Department stated that Republican Sinn Féin
was an alias for the Continuity Irish
Republican Army. In other words we had no existence
as a political organisation and we were simply an
assumed name for another body. Penalties were prescribed
including seizure of Republican Sinn Féin
assets in the US and denial of visas to leaders
attempting to visit that country.
respect, President Bush and Secretary of State Colin
Powell, you will find Sinn Féin in any encyclopaedia;
one such describes it as an Irish Nationalist
movement that demanded an Irish government independent
of Great Britain. Or you could have recourse
to a dictionary; e.g. Chambers Twentieth Century
Dictionary describes Sinn Féin as a
political movement and party in Ireland championing
a republic and later opposing partition.
Féin (in English Ourselves
based on self-reliance) was founded in 1905 many
years before the IRA came into existence in 1916.
Sinn Féin adopted a definite Republican Constitution
in 1917, hence Republican Sinn Féin. Next
year, 2005, we celebrate our centenary.
President and Mr Secretary of State, if either or
both of you sat the Irish Junior Certificate examination
in history and you wrote, in answer to a question,
that Sinn Féin was just an alias
or assumed name for the IRA, you would certainly
fail that question. No marks, gentlemen.
na Gaeltachta in Ireland and Raidió Free
Éireann in New York both highlighted the
issue and interviewed the President of Republican
Sinn Féin. The Irish Echo newspaper, New
York also featured the matter prominently. In addition,
our Vice-President, Des Long, wrote to the US Ambassador,
Mr James C Kenny, in Dublin enclosing policy documents
and asking him to meet a delegation of three from
this organisation to discuss our political policies.
We sought to correct a grave error on the part of
was no reply, not even an acknowledgement, and so
another letter registered this time
was sent. This second missive was also ignored.
Therefore on September 25, the eve of the All-Ireland
Football Final, a picket of Republican Sinn Féin
members and Na Fianna Éireann was placed
on the US Embassy in Dublin and a message was delivered
by hand. Similar action was taken at consulates
in Belfast and Edinburgh, Scotland, and at the Embassy
in London. With no reply four weeks later, An Ard-Chomhairle
felt they had no option but to bring the State Department
action and the Embassy attitude to public notice
by addressing an Open Letter to them and by ventilating
the issue at this Ard-fheis.
of true Republicans by the British and the 26-County
governments continued during the year. Shortly after
last years Ard-Fheis the last of the Lavelle
family of Donagh, Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh was released
on bail, having spent ten months in prison on remand.
At the same time all charges against the son, Emmet
parents, Michael and Mary Lavelle, had to wait until
this October for their case on conspiracy charges
to be dealt with. The Crown prosecution case was
rejected without a defence being heard and both
home had been raided by RUC/PSNI and the family
expelled for 24 hours while it was occupied and
searched. Most of a year was spent in jail by two
family members plus another ten months awaiting
-- and all about nothing! Such can be the lot of
Republican families in Six Occupied Counties.
of the Border the campaign of harassment and criminalisation
has been stepped up. On September 11 two members
of our Ard-Chomhairle were stopped and questioned
in the street as they left Ard-Oifig in Dublin.
Papers and documents relating to an Ard-Chomhairle
meeting, which they had just attended, were seized.
These have yet to be returned.
Galway last December a veteran Republican Sinn Féin
member was arrested for selling SAOIRSE Irish
Freedom in Eyre Square, a practice he has engaged
in every month since he returned from the United
States in 1972. He had to wait until this October
for the charges to be dismissed, the judge saying
that under the Casual Trading Act no licence was
necessary when he was not trading for profit.
round these actions against us are taken because
we simply refuse to accept English rule in Ireland.
We refuse to bend in the face of such harassment
and will continue to put forward EIRE NUA, our proposals
for a four-province federal Ireland with optimum
decentralisation of power and decision-making. It
remains the only clear and credible alternative
to the failed and unworkable Stormont Agreement.
linn na bliana seo caite, sheas ár mbaill
go daingean ar son a dteanga. Ghlacadar páirt
san bhfeachtas Stadas don Ghaeilge fé
threorú Chonradh na Gaeilge. Bé
an aidhm ag an bhfeachtas stadas oifigiúil
oibre a bheith ag an nGaeilge san Aontas Eorpach
maraon le naoi dteangacha eile, a bhfurmhór
mór le náisiúin beaga a rabhthas
ag glacadh leo.
rialtas Stát na 26 Chontae faillí
san ghnó seo breis agus 30 bliain ó
shoin agus iad ag dul isteach san Chomhphobal Eorpach.
Ritheadh rún ag an Ard-Chomhairle go
dtugtar stadas oifigiúil don Ghaeilge gach
áit gur féidir agus go ndearbhódh
Sinn Féin Poblachtach go dtacaíonn
said leis an bhfeachtas Stádas don Ghaeilge.
Bhíomar páirteach sa sluachorraíl
a reachtaigh an Conradh i mBaile Átha Cliath
agus scaipeamar an bhilleóg gorm Seas
an Fód ar son na Teanga.
are glad to record that Republican Sinn Féin
took part in the campaign of Stádas don Ghaeilge
which forced the 26-County administration to seek
official working status for the Irish language within
the EU last July. This is something that the Fianna
Fail administration neglected to seek when the 26-County
State joined the EEC more than 30 years ago.
nine new languages achieving that status the time
was never more opportune since the failure of the
early 1970s. These are the languages of small nations
like ourselves with the exception of Poland
but their self-respect did not allow them
to disregard their native tongues.
Irish Times of July 19 last in an editorial said:
It is a decision which will greatly enhance
the status of Irish at home and abroad, and give
the lie, once again, to the charge that it has no
role to play in the modern world. It went
on to call for the development of Gaeltacht-based
and Irish-medium third level courses ... as a matter
of urgency and it concluded:
if agreed (by the EU) it cannot in itself ensure
that the language will survive. That will take a
cultural, voluntary and political effort of a different
order of magnitude over the coming generation.
Sinn Féin took a firm stand against the so-called
Citizenship referendum held in June. Having removed
the claim to jurisdiction over all 32 Counties in
1998 and replaced it with a constitutional guarantee
of citizenship to every person born on the
island of Ireland, that right was now removed
in turn. This was a clear breach of the Stormont
Agreement which stated that all the new arrangements
were interlocking and interdependent.
the basic right to citizenship for all Irish-born
people taken away, citizenship becomes a privilege,
which can be given or taken away arbitrarily. The
26-County State has ceded the Six Counties to England
they are no longer since 1998 disputed territory
in the eyes of Leinster House. Now the Dublin administration
is playing party politics with the right to citizenship.
Will it be further sliced away just as neutrality
is being eroded?
is the policy of the DUP in action changing
the Stormont Agreement. Now their demands are being
conceded with the support of London and Dublin:
(1) by insisting that the surrender of arms be filmed
(made transparent); (2) by requiring
the Provisionals military body to disband
and (3) by the creation of the Independent
Monitoring Commission, i.e. British Intelligence
personnel who will decide if the Provisionals
military organisation has disbanded.
of these are additions to the Agreement and form
no part of it. The Provo leadership, for its part,
has agreed to another act of decommissioning
immediately and the surrender of all their remaining
military equipment by Christmas. In effect this
means the end of the organisation as a military
body. It would become an old comrades association,
London and Dublin have asserted, and P ONeill
has not denied it.
secured this the DUP went further and demanded that
all decisions by power-sharing executive
ministers and cross-border bodies should be sanctioned
by the Stormont assembly which is of course Unionist-dominated.
The Provisionals would yield on the question of
policing joining Policing Board and urging
their members to join and support the British police
in the Six Counties.
is to oppose all this sell-out? Not Fine Gael. Did
not John Bruton tell us he is a Home Ruler, that
the 1916 Rising was not necessary and that his proudest
moment was when he greeted officially the heir to
the Crown of England which claims Six Irish
counties as well in Dublin Castle in 1995.
And the Dublin Minister for Foreign Affairs has
welcomed the Provos into a coalition with Fianna
Fáil. It is inevitable, he says.
Now we all know what lies ahead did not Republican
Sinn Féin predict it? The day of the re-born
Broy Harriers is at hand!
is airgead go leór for security to
protect visiting British royalty, their British
military funerals and unveiling of memorials from
Dublin to Mayo, but the 0.7% of GDP publicly committed
to for Third World Aid by 2007 is in serious doubt.
With 25 million Euro made so far shunting American
troops and their prisoners (without any rights as
POWs) through Shannon Airport, is it any wonder
the Arab street and the world of Islam no longer
take us seriously as a people of neutrality and
non-alignment when such deeds are done in our name
by the denizens of Leinster House?
of the Border, the call for the re-opening of the
investigation into the murder by a British-backed
death-squad of GAA official Séan Brown in
May 1997 came not from the RUC/PSNI but rather from
the police Ombudsman following a request from the
Brown family. The fact that the original investigation
was clearly inadequate and slipshod, falling well
below the standards of any professional police force,
shows only how little has changed.
it does highlight is while the name of the RUC has
changed, the ideology and sectarian nature of this
British colonial force has not. Its primary purpose
is to uphold English rule in Ireland, part of which
has involved collusion in the murder of innocent,
uninvolved Nationalists, as the report by the retired
Canadian judge Peter Cory indicated during the past
belated decision of the British government to hold
an inquiry into allegations of collusion in the
case of the killing of Belfast human rights solicitor
Pat Finucane was announced only after an RUC informer
was sentenced for the murder. Well might the solicitors
family have gone on record as wanting to know not
who pulled the trigger but who pulled the strings.
who ordered Pat Finucanes death may never
be revealed, because rulings in the Bloody Sunday
Inquiry, either by chairman Lord Saville or by courts
overruling Saville, have excluded evidence on the
grounds that it may endanger British national
security or put the lives of British agents
at risk through their public exposure or the revelation
of the agencies modus operandi. Such evidence
would be central to the proposed Finucane inquiry.
in the case of the Co Armagh Shoot to kill
incidents in 1982, five British law lords ruled
last March that the States obligation under
the British Human Rights Act to carry out effective
and independent investigation of killings
involving State agents did not apply to deaths prior
to the enactment of this legislation in October
can crucial evidence be compelled in such a situation?
Will the Finucane Inquiry, as announced, be a sham
and yet another whitewash? A higher court of inquiry
is needed by an international body such as
the United Nations. It needs to be empowered to
compel witnesses even from British government agencies.
Otherwise the Finucane family and the Irish people
will again be disappointed.
of the Border, the Special Non Jury Court with special
laws of evidence continues to operate. This phase
of its functioning has lasted 32 years, ever since
1972. On June 21 it passed sentence on a Limerick
Republican on a charge of membership of the IRA
which was based solely on the opinion
of a senior policeman. The sentence imposed was
five years imprisonment which is tantamount to internment
and an abuse of civil liberties. This sentencing
was done at short notice and was carried out without
solicitor and counsel being present.
she became President of the 26-County State
in the mid-1970s actually Mrs Mary Robinson
published a pamphlet about the operations of this
Non-jury Court in its first two years. Surely 30
years later it is time for other eminent legal figures
to voice their unease at such draconian legislation
and the power it places in the hands of the police
proposals set out by the 26-County Minister for
Finance in his Budget speech last December for the
relocation of eight departments of state and up
to 10,000 civil servants was just a smokescreen
to take the public eye off the fact that once again
he had produced a financial statement and programme
which further widened the gap between rich and poor.
do not constitute meaningful decentralisation of
power and decision-making as set out in our ÉIRE
NUA programme. On the contrary they are simply about
the relocation of civil servants. Under these proposals,
whilst civil servants and their departments are
being moved throughout the 26-County State, key
decisions will continue to be made in Dublin.
is in stark contrast to ÉIRE NUA which provides
for genuine decentralisation whereby key decision-making
will take place at provincial, regional and local
level, except for Foreign Affairs, National Defence
and overall financing. The latter three functions
of government will be carried out at Federal level
in the new capital city of Athlone.
it was refreshing to hear Dr Edward Walsh, former
President of the University of Limerick, espousing
the idea that the seat of government in Ireland
should be separate from the economic capital in
order to create a counter-polarity and correct
the Dublin imbalance. For more than 30 years
Republican Sinn Féin has been advocating
this proposal and putting forward the location of
the federal capital in the city of Athlone,
one of Dr Walshs suggestions.
ÉIRE NUA (new governmental structures) policy
document says on page 20; It is proposed that
- to signify the beginning of a new era and the
unity of the country around its geographic centre
Athlone be made the capital city of the New
Ireland. In addition to the examples given
by Dr Walsh of the separation of the administrative
capital from the commercial one in Australia, Brazil
and the United States, Switzerland has its seat
of national government in Bern, totally apart from
Zurich and Geneva.
keeping with a resolution passed by our Ard-fheis
last year, An Open Letter was addressed to the GAA
by Vice-President Des Dalton calling on the Association
to state publicly if the so-called British Combined
Services football team is part of an affiliated
club of the GAA. He advanced the view that the staging
of a number of football matches in recent times
between British Crown forces in Ireland and members
of the 26-County police and army was part of a wider
campaign of normalising the British military and
policing presence in Ireland. This presence could
never be either normal or acceptable and continues
to be the root cause of conflict in our country.
Sinn Féin also deplored the high-jacking
of the Sam Maguire Cup following the two previous
All-Ireland football finals and its use in attempting
to legitimise the British-imposed institution of
Stormont. He appealed to the GAA not to allow its
proud Association to be incorporated into a campaign
which runs counter to the national ideals and ethos
upon which it was founded.
the tragic and untimely death of Tyrone team captain
Cormac McAnallen our organisation extended sincere
sympathy to his family and the GAA community throughout
Co Tyrone. Some days later we expressed the view
that the spectacle of RUC/PSNI at his funeral was
hypocritical and distasteful, especially since the
same force was among those responsible for the death
of Cormacs uncle, Dan McAnallen in 1973. Intruding
on the grief of the family and indeed of the wider
nationalist community to advance the normalisation
agenda could only be described as outrageous.
most important event during the year was our participation
in the local elections in the 26 Counties in June.
With seven candidates, one each for Longford and
Galway Co Councils, two for Limerick City Council
and one in each of Athy Town Council in Kildare
and Cóbh and Midleton
Town Councils in Cork an amount of hard work was
done in canvassing, leafleting, postering, advertising,
raising finance and securing coverage in local newspapers
the huge Conamara electoral area of Co Galway, Tomás
Ó Curraoin and his team put in a spectacular
performance, coming eighth for seven seats. With
1076 first preferences he increased his vote by
84% from 1999. With transfers he reached 1345 before
being eliminated on the 14th count. This result
speaks for itself and it is well to remember that
the great majority of Tomáss first
preferences came from his own Gaeltacht area, Bearna,
Na Forbacha agus An Spidéal.
30 years, veteran Republican Sinn Féin councillor
Seán Lynch lost his seat in the Drumlish
area of Co Longford by 90 votes. The Provos contested
the area for the first time securing 107 first preferences
at the bottom of the poll. Great credit is due to
Seáns hard work and that of his few
helpers during the campaign.
The Longford Leader commented on the remarkable
record of real public service that will never be
surpassed in Co Longford put in by Seán
and his late father Seán F. who was an Independent
Republican councillor for 35 years until his death
in 1969. Seán junior was chairperson of Longford
Co Council in 1980-81 during the H-Blocks and Armagh
hunger strikes and was Election Agent for Martin
Hurson as candidate in Longford-Westmeath. His service
to the All-Ireland Republic, his dedication to duty
and commitment are deeply appreciated here today.
long and hard campaign was fought by he two Limerick
City candidates, Seán Ó Neill in Ward
4 and Michael Ryan in Ward 1. Their vote was the
highest achieved by Republican Sinn Féin
candidates in local elections in the city since
Paddy Mulcahy was elected in 1955. In a post-election
statement local Director of Elections Joe Lynch
said: We shall continue to work within the
community to raise the concerns of the people and
we are pleased with the foundation laid in the local
elections so that we can now build for the future.
Cork a father and son contested. Dónal Varian,
the trade unionist who so ably defended workers
rights during the Irish Steel sell-off, stood for
Cóbh Town Council and came 10th for nine
seats. His son, Terence went forward for Midleton
Town Council with a result that augurs well for
the future. Members from Cork city went out day
after day to assist in the campaign.
Kildare, Des Dalton made his mark in a first outing
for Athy Town Council. Again he was 10th for nine
seats. The local Leinster Leader said His
final figure of 175 may not seem too far behind
the successful candidates who did not reach the
quota and quoted the Republican Sinn Féin
candidate as saying: One thing that clearly
emerges from the results ---- there is a seat there
to be won. I am determined more than ever to do
just that in five years time.
Ard-Fheis appreciates the hard work of these standard-bearers
for local and All-Ireland democracy and of their
teams of workers. For the most part their efforts
raised sufficient funding locally; in one or two
cases the central election fund helped out and now
all expenses are cleared. No praise is high enough
for these election workers who went out, faced the
people and in four cases narrowly missed election.
However, near-misses are not enough. We need successes.
sum up, a lot more could be done by areas not contesting.
The areas fighting for public support feel that.
At a minimum, finances could have been raised. Some
neighbouring personnel did assist but there was
not enough of that. A number of the central election
directorate were candidates themselves or were otherwise
engaged and so were dispersed from giving direction.
new directorate has already been appointed and will
be required to get down to work immediately. The
Galway members even now are preparing for the Údarás
na Gaeltachta elections next summer and before we
realise it the 2009 local elections in the 26 Counties
will again be upon us. Let us get ready now.
at the eve of May Day launch of our local election
Manifesto, the updated version of Republican Sinn
Féins social and economic programme,
SAOL NUA was also introduced to the public. This
marked the fulfilment, as required by a Resolution
of the 2002 Ard-Fheis, of an undertaking given here
at that time.
the year two reports carried in the print media
and ignored by the 26-County Establishment
deserve to be brought to the attention of
the Ard-Fheis. The first is the annual CORI (Conference
of Religious of Ireland) socio-economic review published
in April which finds that no other EU state spends
less proportionally than the 26-County State on
social services and supports for the unemployed,
the homeless, the elderly, the disabled and other
marginalized groups. The 16 savage cuts
in the last Budget come to mind.
findings only highlight the real priorities of an
administration which can devote huge sums of public
money to pet projects such as Punchestown and can
give massive tax breaks to the very rich including
the millionaires who do not pay even a single cent
in income tax and those within the bloodstock industry.
social and economic policies of this administration
feed into an extreme right-wing agenda; they are
policies which are not about serving the needs of
the greater number of people but rather about protecting
the interests of the elite and privileged few. As
CORI starkly points out: current policy focus
will ensure that substantial numbers of people are
condemned to live in social exclusion and substantially
larger numbers of people will be forced to accept
a poor quality of life for the foreseeable future.
second document for your consideration is the annual
United Nations Human Development Report published
in July last. It is an indictment of the 26-County
State and particularly the right-wing social and
economic policies which have been aggressively pursued
by the Fianna Fáil/PD coalition over the
past seven years.
report finds that the 26-County State, in spite
of rising prosperity, has the second highest level
of poverty in the Western World; the gap between
rich and poor is wider only in the United States.
As the Irish Times pointed out on July 16 on
a Human Poverty Index the 26-County State
is ranked 16th out of 17 states, just ahead
of the United States.
ever increasing numbers of people who have had to
spend days on trolleys in hospital corridors across
the state because of bed shortages will not be surprised
to learn that of the top ten countries on the Human
Development Index, the 26-County State has the lowest
life expectancy and is among the lowest in terms
of spending on health and education. The report
continues: Some 22.3% of Irish people are
functionally illiterate, worse than in any other
Western country. Functionally illiterate is
defined in the report as lacking the ability to
read a timetable or a set of rules for taking tablets.
response of the Dublin administration is to bury
its head in the sand, as it has done with previous
UNHD reports; it has attempted to discredit this
report by saying that the figures in it are out
of date, despite the fact that they themselves supplied
the figures. The rest of the world is out of step
in how it measures poverty, it seems, not the 26-County
State, as the Irish Times pointed out on the day
of its publication.
report underlines the stark reality that the State
south of the Border is now closer to Boston than
to Berlin, with the current Administration ideologically
committed to unbridled economics. Using Gross National
Product and Gross Domestic Product as the only measure
of economic success has led to a situation where
the top ten per cent of the population is almost
ten times wealthier than the bottom ten per cent.
well: these are not Republican Sinn Féin
statistics. They come from respected national and
international bodies which have been compiling them
for the past 15 years. As we move on in a new century
we need a radical change in direction: the policies
set out in SAOL NUA are people-centred and based
on sound Republican, democratic socialist, ecological
and self-reliance principles, providing people with
a real alternative.
recent decision by the EPA to grant draft licences
to Indaver Ireland to operate a municipal waste
incinerator in Duleek, Co. Meath and a toxic waste
incinerator in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork has to be condemned
due to the health hazards of incineration to the
public. The fact is that the EPA is hopelessly compromised
by the government - when it appointed Mary Kelly
(formerly of IBEC and favouring incineration) as
its Director, and more recently appointed Laura
Burke, former Project Manager at Indaver for the
two incinerators, as Director of Environmental Enforcement.
The fox has truly been put in charge of the hen
house by this government.
the recent decision by the Dublin Government not
to adopt a carbon tax is contrary to international
practices and destroys any chance of the 26-County
State reaching its greenhouse gas emissions targets
agreed under the Kyoto Agreement we are already
120% above our 1990 CO2 levels, though our allowed
emissions target is only a 13% increase.
the nuclear industry is trying to put itself forward
as the solution to the climate change being caused
by greenhouse gases. Republicans have always opposed
nuclear power as being unsustainable and dangerous
we opposed the plant planned for Carnsore
Point in Wexford in the late 1970s and will
oppose any attempt to propose nuclear power as a
part of our future energy supply.
has enough wind energy potential both onshore
and offshore to power 100% of our energy
needs, and when wave, tidal and solar power become
commercial we will be able to export power to Britain
and the European continent.
have always proposed the maximum usage of our National
resources, and support the exploitation of our fossil
fuels, such as the Corrib Gas field but only
if the benefits of these resources will accrue to
the Irish people and only if this exploitation
does no damage to our valuable environment. The
planning permission recently given by An Bórd
Pleanála to Enterprise Oil should be opposed
on both counts the wrong price, and the wrong
place. A sea-based gas terminal, and a proper royalty
and tax package for the Irish people is what is
Meanwhile a new EU constitution is being introduced
which was described last June by the Belgian prime
minister, Guy Verhofstadt as the capstone
of a European federal state. It represents
the consolidation of the various treaties which
have been pushed through in the course of the past
twenty years or so. It states quite clearly its
basis: The (EU) constitution, and the law
adopted by the unions institutions in exercising
competences conferred on it, shall have primacy
over the law of member-states.
other words the nation-states taking part in the
EU are becoming so many provinces or regions of
a federal United States of Europe. The proposed
constitution provides for a high-profile President
and a Minister for Foreign Affairs. How long will
it be before there is an EU Minister for Defence,
or more accurately a Minister for War, as the security
articles contained in the constitution could well
lead to the final loss of neutrality? Already the
26-County State is tied into the NATO-led Partnership
For Peace and the EU Rapid Reaction Force authorised
to act up to 2500 miles outside the borders of the
on this proposed constitution will have to be held
in ten of the 25 EU member states. In keeping with
our inheritance and the democratic legacy of the
French Revolution the right of nations and
peoples to self-determination we must oppose
this further tightening of the EU grip by the political
elites of the former imperial powers in the interests
of European-based trans-national capital.
must be founded on co-operation not domination.
We need a Europe of equals not one with a constitution
which takes precedence over the constitutions of
nation-states. And we must reject the resource
wars of the 21st century which have already
commenced with great loss of civilian life. All
that means voting No to this proposed
Sinn Féin last March welcomed the EUs
support for the ending of Turkish occupation and
re-unification of Cyprus prior to any poll being
taken on EU accession in that country.
we described the EU stance on Cyprus as hypocritical
in view of the fact that the EU has ignored the
partition and British occupation of Ireland since
both the 26-County State and Britain joined the
EEC in 1973. Britain is an outstanding example of
a member of the EU which claims sovereignty over
and maintains a military presence in the territory
of another member.
the month of March last a very valuable review of
the organisation, or a think in , was
engaged in over an entire week-end. The attendance
of about 40 consisted of Ard-Chomhairle members
and key-members from various parts of the country.
The method adopted was a SWOT analysis: Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The Strengths
and Weaknesses are within the organisation itself;
the Opportunities and Threats are external factors
in the environment.
was hard work as the extent to which Republican
Sinn Féin can cope with its environment was
thought through. A realistic assessment was made
and the information gleaned was used in order to
decide how to move forward in a strategic plan.
Operational plans would be needed to implement this
and regular assessment of progress made with revisions
of the scheme where necessary.
strengths were felt to lie in our core values, the
organisation itself, the membership, the monthly
newspaper SAOIRSE, the website, our policy documents,
the offices in Dublin and Belfast, the commemorations,
especially at Easter, the funerals expressing gratitude
and honour to those who have given long service
to the All-Ireland Republic, and educational meetings
and the like. These are considerable strengths but
the use we make of them may sometimes be inadequate.
listed were mainly personnel problems, e.g. members
stretched too far, failure to attract new members,
small Cumainn, internal meetings being irregular,
members spending too much time in their own circles
instead of being outward looking and influencing
the public, problems with the leadership and head
office and here An Ard-Chomhairle criticised itself.
included the failure of the Stormont process, corruption
in public life, rising expectations especially regarding
health services and the environment, e.g. opposition
to incineration, trade union representation, cost
of housing, access to research data, e.g. CORI and
ICTU, our own website, third level institutions,
social issues, British royal visits and anti-war
demos, factory closures, exposing exploitation at
home and abroad. There is a lack of good honest
leadership and there is commercial exploitation
of young people.
Threats are powerful: the two partition states and
their draconian legislation, all-out anti-Republican
propaganda, the compliant anti-national media, the
whole range of anti-national forces, revisionism,
acceptance of the Unionist Veto, the attempted removal
of British responsibility from the national question,
apathy and indifference, the culture of greed and
the Omagh factor. The threats by those who accept
English rule here as permanent are considerable
Way Forward is to bring Strengths to bear on Opportunities.
This involves SAOIRSE, leaflets and access to local
papers and radio on local issues, anti-war and trade
union work, advertising our website address, inviting
friends and associates to commemorations with literature
always available, circulating policy documents to
third-level students, making the economic points
from SAOL NUA, keeping core values to the forefront
and linking the local to the national, seminars
for new members and later open to the public, underlining
losses to the Irish people from the Agreement and
pushing the ÉIRE NUA alternative, Cumann
meetings and networking, the leadership to emphasise
commitment and motivation.
list of proposed solutions to weaknesses was made
(eight in number) and nine ways of how to minimise
the threats. The conclusion states that Republican
Sinn Féin has set itself a task of massive
proportions. To enable the work to be done, the
overriding compelling imperative is to find plenty
of good quality workers. Recruitment, training and
development of members is a priority.
period since the reorganisation of 1986, it says,
can be divided into two phases: 1986-1998 and 1998
to date. Because so many people put their faith
in the Stormont Agreement and were prepared to give
it a chance, the second phase has probably been
more difficult. Recent developments would suggest
that that phase is coming to an end, with imminent
collapse of the deal, or at least the disenchantment
of many Republican-minded people.
is suggested that all members get a copy of this
Report of the Review Exercise of last March. It
is essential reading for Republican activists and
copies can be made available for a nominal figure.
All participants were agreed that the exercise was
the most important week-ends work since 1986.
cháirde, the way ahead is clear to all attending
here today. The task is to convey that assessment
to others. Those who have accepted English rule
in Ireland are prepared to destroy all their remaining
arms a deed without precedent in Irish history
and to disband themselves at the behest of
the British government.
they are being recruited to the British forces as
the new Broy Harriers. David Trimble, leader of
the official Unionists, has stated that they should
be admitted to the RUC/PNSI. No doubt he and his
kind together with the Brits have unfinished work
for them to crush the remaining resistance
to English rule here.
they commence their impossible task it is well to
draw their and the Irish peoples attention
to a revealing letter in the Irish Times of May
21 last. The architect of the Sticky
road, as it has been called, makes the situation
absolutely clear to all who want to see. Dr Roy
Johnston writes of the attempt he, Cathal Goulding
and others made in the 1960s to politicise
the republican movement, that is, of course,
to constitutionalise it.
the August 1969 armed pogroms, he continues,
our politicisation project was, for a time,
bypassed. I welcome its re-emergence, under the
leadership of Gerry Adams, and hope he succeeds
where we failed.
those who protected the British Army and the RUC
from the righteous anger of the people on the streets
of Ardoyne last July 12 will fail again and the
dynamic of Irish national liberation will assert
itself and press forward to final victory.
to the Irish people!