Chathaoirligh, a theachtaí is a cháirde
Céad míle fáilte romhaibh ag
an ArdFheis seo, an 99ú ceann de chuid
When last we met in national convention the restored
Stormont had just been suspended for the fourth
time in as many years and the seventh occasion since
1972. All of this demonstrates the chronic instability
of English rule in Ireland. More than a year later
it has still not been re-assembled the artificial
means cobbled together to administer an artificial
statelet remains in crisis.
past year has been marked by the stepping up of repression
on both sides of the British-made Border in Ireland.
During February last the Donagh area of Co. Fermanagh
was subjected to a three-day siege by large numbers
of heavily-armed Crown Forces. Homes were ordered
to be evacuated and one Republican family in particular
was singled out for special attention. Mickey and
Mary Lavelle were arrested by the RUC on the first
day, Mickeys brother Jimmy the following day
and on the third the couples son Emmet was taken
son, Michael junior was viciously set upon by members
of the RUC and badly beaten also on the third
day as part of the terror tactics. Two other
children still in their teens were ordered from their
home at twelve midnight without anywhere for them
to go. This was to allow the attackers to smash in
the rear door of the house the following morning and
to conduct a search without the knowledge, consent
or most importantly the presence of any family member
or independent observer. Was this tactic used to allow
alleged incriminating evidence to be planted?
months later Mary Lavelle is still on bail, while
Emmet was given bail eight months subsequent to his
arrest. Mickey Lavelle remains on remand in Maghaberry
Prison, Co Antrim. All of them face what we believe
are politically-motivated trumped up charges.
the nationalist community was outraged the local SDLP
representatives and spokespersons were conspicuous
by their silence possibly because of their membership
of an RUC liaison board and a district police partnership
committee? One clergyman did speak out publicly to
the press on the question of bail for Mary Lavelle,
the mother of eight children.
the year, nationalist families were terrorised in
their homes by loyalist gangs and in many cases forced
out of them, especially in the Larne, Antrim town,
Coleraine and North Belfast areas. All the while British
forces harassed nationalists but loyalists were given
a free hand.
south of the border the trial took place in the Special
Non-jury Court in Dublins Green St. of the Limerick
Eight who had spent a year and a half on remand since
before Christmas 2001. The proceedings took three
months and cost the 26-County State several million
Euro. Seven of the eight were acquitted while Pat
O Shea was sentenced to four years. He was a victim
of the ongoing campaign of State harassment directed
against Republican Sinn Féin, a campaign aimed
at criminalising anyone who rejects the Stormont Agreement
of 1998 and opposes English rule in Ireland.
campaign of harassment, smearing and felon-setting,
with occasional show-trials, has as its purpose the
retarding of the growth and development of Republican
Sinn Féin. Both the British government and
the Dublin administration have stated publicly their
intention to crush all opposition to the re-jigged
Stormont set-up, which is sectarian in nature and
has failed to date.
members and supporters will not be intimidated by
this campaign of coercion, but will continue to organise
and recruit throughout Ireland, putting forward unashamedly
the Irish Republican agenda of ending British rule
and creating a New Ireland negotiated by the Irish
people themselves. We wish to compliment all of the
Limerick Eight on their uncompromising and unflinching
stand over the eighteen months.
July and August another well-publicised show-trial
resulted in Michael Mc Kevitt being sentenced to 20
years on the word of a paid agent provocateur employed
by the FBI and the British Security Services.
occasion was availed of to slander members of the
national leadership of Republican Sinn Féin.
The truth is that Mr Rupert made political demands
on us promising an unlimited supply of dollars on
condition that we amalgamated with the 32-County Sovereignty
Committee. Republican Sinn Féin feels vindicated
in its decision, on ideological grounds, to reject
Mr. Ruperts demands and his money, and to have
nothing to do with him.
meetings during the year between the British Supremo
for the Six Counties and the 26-County Minister for
Justice indicate the drafting of yet further draconian
legislation aimed at coercing Republicans.
presence at these meetings of the RUC/PSNI Chief Hugh
Orde and the 26-County police Commissioner only reinforces
the view that the real agenda behind the sectarian
Stormont Agreement is the bedding down of English
rule here by means of increased collaboration between
the British forces of occupation and those of the
26-County State. It is becoming clearer that if the
ailing Agreement is again patched up the hammer will
once more fall on true Irish Republicans who refuse
to accept British rule in Ireland.
While Republican prisoners in Maghaberry struggle
for political status, the proprietors and managers
of premises across the Six Counties who agree to host
functions in aid of the prisoners dependants
are intimidated by former comrades and forced to refuse
will the situation be when the Provos don the uniform
of the British police in Ireland.? The example of
de Valeras Broy Harriers, who consisted in the
main of former IRA Volunteers, gives us a clear indication
of what to expect. They will enforce British rule
with gusto as they hound former comrades who continue
young people see these roles acted out in public,
they will come to realise who is on Englands
side in all of this and who stands for the freedom
of Ireland. Many older people have come to realise
the position already, but coming events will clarify
it for all. Republican Sinn Féin must be there
to give the lead.
this summer the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry
escalated their protests in support of their demand
for segregation from loyalist and ordinary prisoners.
This limited demand was won and the prisoners were
moved to separate accommodation. We here at this Ard-Fheis
congratulate them on their partial victory on the
well-worn road to restore political status.
attitude of many of the prison staff in implementing
this gain has been grudging, to say the least. The
questions still needing to be resolved include the
continuation of closed or screened visits, the use
of sniffer dogs, the lack of education facilities
in the Republican prisoners own area, the miniscule
size of the exercise yard and the despicable attitude
of prison warders towards families.
most immediate and pressing problem is the matter
of securing separated visits. Families have to travel
from the gate to the visiting area and back again
with loyalists. This has exposed them to harassment
even to the extent of being pursued by loyalists on
the journey home from the prison. It is a subject
that needs priority and speedy resolution. The prisoners
and their families require constant support and with
the coming of Christmas fund-raising must be stepped
the year our members took part in protests against
the imperialist war launched by the Bush administration
in Washington and the Blair government in London against
the people of Iraq. This was done contrary to the
United Nations Charter and we marked it out as the
first of the resource wars of the 21st Century
forecast by Jacques Delors a decade ago. Control of
the supply of oil was the real issue here.
participated under our own banners and with our own
literature with the 100 000 people who demonstrated
in the centre of Dublin. We opposed at Shannon and
other centres the action of the 26-County Administration
in allowing US warplanes to refuel at that Airport
and to overfly Irish airspace.
Such action was a slavish and flagrant breach of Irish
neutrality and had to be opposed. Now the White House
and Downing Street want the world, including Ireland
to supply bodies to police their occupation of Iraq
and funds to reconstruct that country. The responsibility
for these tasks rests with those who waged a horrific
war of conquest on the people of Iraq.
Bush came to Belfast in the middle of that war to
be greeted by among others the SDLP
and the Provisionals who had publicly opposed the
war. This exercise in hypocrisy was engaged in to
lend weight to the US support of the imposition of
a civil rights type solution under British rule in
the Six Counties.
powerful Washington establishment has consistently
supported the stronger side in various conflicts as
evidenced by their involvement in Palestine where
they have sponsored an Israeli dictated so-called
peace process which has led only to a daily death
toll of Palestinian men, women and children.
Nelson Mandela condemned the unilateral action against
Iraq by what he called people without a vision,
without a depth of thinking. Speaking at NUI
Galway, where he received an honorary degree last
June, he put the issue clearly without naming the
US specifically: Any country which went to war
outside the remit of the United Nations represented
a danger to the world. No weapons of mass destruction
were found in Iraq, neither were any links to Al-Qaeda.
recent World Trade Organisation conference at Cancún,
Mexico where the US and the EU joined forces to face
down the Third World was a failure because the one
remaining superpower and its ally could not impose
their will on the billions on this planet who survive
in abject poverty.
words of Johann Hari writing in the Sunday Tribune
of September14 deserve to be quoted: A concerted
global effort to deal with poverty could yield amazing
is no mystery. The checklist is well known: End agricultural
subsidies in the rich world. Open our markets to products
from poor nations. Allow developing economies to protect
themselves, as we did when we were emerging from poverty.
Allow the poor to manufacture life-saving drugs. Cancel
all poor world debt.
as the global anti-apartheid campaign delegitimised
that system, we may need another vast movement to
transform the systems that are betraying the poor.
The Fortress Europe that Republican Sinn Féin
warned thirty years ago would be built by the EEC
against the Third World has indeed come to pass.
this time last year the second referendum on the Nice
Treaty was pushed through, having failed the first
time. One reality needs to be borne in mind in this
regard. That is that more than half a million people
have consistently opposed the militarisation , centralisation
and domination by the larger states in the EU. The
big lie proclaimed by the Establishment about Nice
was that it was about enlargement, when in fact it
was about making internal arrangements in the EU prior
to enlargement, to the disadvantage of smaller states.
on the heels of Nice comes the EU draft constitution
from the Intergovernmental Conference. This will not
be a permanent settlement for the European Union or
any permanent or lasting balance between the powers
of Brussels and those of its member states. The practice
of an EU Treaty escalator, carrying the people of
Europes nations further and further into an
ever closer union, with new powers for Brussels constantly
emerging, is to continue. It is set to roll on relentlessly.
draft EU constitution in Article 40 obliges the 26-County
State to spend more money on defence, and commits
the State to mutual defence thus destroying Irish
Neutrality. In practice this neutrality no longer
exists since the current administration participated
in the illegal conquest of Iraq by turning Shannon
Airport into a US airbase. We must oppose the emerging
EU nuclear armed superstate.
proposed constitution in Article 1. 10.1. says: The
Constitution adopted by the Unions Institutions
in exercising competences conferred on it, shall have
primacy over the law of the Member States. Clearly
States that put themselves under a Constitution with
such an article can no longer regard themselves as
independent or sovereign in the way the worlds
other 170 or so States are. EU Members will come closer
to being subordinate states or provinces within a
superior European Federal State. We must oppose this
move as never before and build on the half a million
voters who have steadily and constantly rejected the
tightening of the EU grip.
been more than 30 years in the making, an Irish Language
Act has at last been enacted in the 26-County State.
It is a first step in moving towards guaranteeing
the rights of Irish speakers. Is féidir cúis
a chur in aghaidh chomhlacht poiblí má
déanann sé faillí ina dhualgas
an scéim a chur i bhfeidhim. Tig le duine é
sin a dhéanamh go pearsanta nó ligint
don Chomisinéir Teanga an cás a chur.
may have your case heard in Irish in court, but still
the judge can waive the right in criminal cases. This
is not good; in fact it is the worst aspect of the
thiocfaidh an t-Acht í bhfeidhm go cionn trí
bhliain eile. Deirtear gur mhithid an mhoill seo chun
am a thúirt do na comhlachtaí poiblí
a chuid scéimeanna a dhréachtadh agus
dul in oiriúint don scéim. Ba leór
bhlian amháin leis an ngnó sin a dhéanamh.
éifeacht an Achta ar an Aire Ghaeltachta agus
an Aire Airgeadais chun é a chur i bhfeidhm.
Muna mbíonn dóthain airgid ar fáil
ní éireoidh leis an dlí nua seo.
De réir Alt 1 (5) den chéad sceideal
den Bhille is féidir scóp an Achta a
leathnú do rannóga eile den eacnamaíocht,
mar shampla, comhlachtaí teileachumarsaide,
bancanna agus comhlachtaí árachais.
Dá luaithe a déantar é sin sea
Irish language bodies are satisfied with this Irish
Language Act. It is a start but it needs to be amended
to ensure effectiveness. Feicfear le h-imeacht aimsire
cén toradh a bhéas air.
year being the bicentenary of Robert Emmets
Rising, the event was suitably honoured on both sides
of the English-imposed Border. Cló Saoirse
Irish Freedom Press had a highly successful
launch during April of a book entitled Bold Robert
Emmet by Seán O Brádaigh which has been
described in one review as short and easy to
read and having the very real benefit
of being tempting to the reader while retaining historical
September at the very date and hour of Emmets
execution a worthy commemoration was held at St Catherines
Church, Thomas Street, Dublin, the scene of his sacrifice.
Emmets Rising was a repudiation before the world
of the Act of Union as a British-imposed settlement
in the aftermath of the great National Uprising of
October, Downpatrick, Co Down was the scene of another
fitting commemoration, this time at the grave of Thomas
Russell in the Church of Ireland cemetery. Russell,
a native of Cork, was a United Irish leader and close
friend of Wolfe Tone who stood with him and others
on Cave Hill, outside Belfast, where they made their
famous vow never to desist in our efforts until
we have achieved the independence of our country.
was the first Librarian of the Linenhall Library in
Belfast and honoured with him were all 22 Republicans
who were hanged in 1803, especially the other two
executed in Downpatrick and the two who died for Ireland
on Englands gallows tree in Carrickfergus, Co
Antrim. Later in Dublin, the annual Bobby Sands Memorial
lecture was devoted to Robert Emmet and the Rising
of 1803.Throughout the bicentennial year, no voice
was raised to declare that the time had come to write
Emmets epitaph ----------No, not yet.
our Ard-Fheis of 1992, SAOL NUA - A New Way of Life,
our Social and Economic Programme was finalised. It
was published at the end of January 1993, a time when
unemployment in the 26 Counties reached the all-time
high mark of 300 000. At last years Ard-Fheis
a resolution from Belfast was adopted instructing
An Ard-Chomhairle to review, update and publish
SAOL NUA . A lot had happened in the intervening
ten years since the New Way of Life policy
document was first published.
the past year the work has been completed, as directed
by the Ard-Fheis. It remains to be published. To give
you just a flavour of the new updated text the following
passages are quoted:
nine decades of the twentieth century, one out of
every two persons born in Ireland was forced to
emigrate. Those who remained experienced unemployment
rates of up to 20% in the 26 Counties and 15% in
the Six Counties at various times.
during the period of the Celtic Tiger, one in every
four households and one in every five people in
the 26 Counties were living in poverty. These figures
are from Economic and Social Research Institute
(ESRI) data and are based on the EST+RI 50% poverty
line. This poverty line, which is used in many European
studies, is a line which is half average income,
adjusted for family size and composition. On this
basis, the ESRI figures show a substantial increase
in poverty between 1987 and 2000.
United Nations Human Development Report, launched
in Dublin in July 2003, contains some shocking statistics
for the 26 Counties:
of those born today are not expected to survive
the age of 60;
22.6% of adults lack functional literary skills;
live below the poverty line, as defined by the UN.
means that the 26-County State is second only to
the United States as
the most unequal society in what is known as the
Developed World, that is second worst out of 17
countries. The United Kingdom , which
includes the Six Counties, is ranked fifteenth.
Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands have the lowest
level of poverty.
substantial increase in employment opportunities
which came with the Celtic Tiger was brought about
by the arrival of EU structural funds and the encouragement
of foreign, mainly US, capital investment by reducing
tax on corporate profits. A lot of the new employment
is in low-paid service jobs. A significant price
has been and will be paid for this strategy.
sea fisheries have already been decimated by the
fleets of other EU states and tens of thousands
of farmers have been driven off the land. Indigenous
industry has been neglected. Housing accommodation
is outrageously expensive. The tax base has been
narrowed in such a way that our spending on Social
Protection Expenditure has become the lowest in
the EU. This expenditure includes spending on healthcare,
unemployment, disability, old age, family/children
and initiatives to deal with social exclusion.
advent of the Euro currency has deprived us of one
of the pillars of national sovereignty, a national
currency and the right to set our own interest and
exchange rates. All of these developments place
us in a precarious position whenever the foreign
capitalists begin to pull out and locate elsewhere
in the world wherever they can find cheaper labour.
of this free movement of capital has produced a
real danger that the Irish banking system will fall
completely into foreign ownership.
family farms are being eliminated and the rural
economy is collapsing. There is a lot of real poverty,
inadequate health and education services and increasing
unemployment as foreign capitalists pull out of
Ireland. This in turn produces grave social problems
and personal misery for thousands of individuals
and families. Emigration, the safety valve which
let politicians off the hook for generations, could
quick-fix solutions, based on a sell-out of national
sovereignty, natural resources and national identity
is a poor substitute for developing our own resources
according to the needs of our own people.
economic growth of recent years has been based on
production and consumption, the consumer society,
and has been achieved at the expense of many positive
values. In financial terms, it has enriched the
elite and left the majority relatively worse off.
Selfishness and individualism are replacing the
old Irish traditions of neighbourliness and social
this regard, two quotations from commentators are
Ours is a time of patented locks, burglar
alarms, barbed-wire fences, neighbourhood watch
and vigilantes! - Zygmunt Banman in Globalisation:
The Human Consequences (1998).
A regime which provides human beings no
deep reasons to care about one another cannot long
preserve its legitimacy Richard
Sennett in The Corrosion of Character: The Personal
Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (1998).
Programme of Immediate Action lists sixteen issues.
Some will be deleted and some amended but at least
one will be added as follows: Campaigning
against the exorbitant price being demanded for
building land by a small number of speculators who
have managed to acquire large tracts and the campaigning
for the implementation of the Kenny Report
ends the extracts from the updated SAOL NUA . It remains
to have it printed and published and to put it before
the people. The sixteen points for Immediate Action
can be implemented on the ground straight away.
part of the filching of our natural resources another
step was taken by the EU in October when the so-called
Irish Box to protect fisheries off our coast for 50
miles was replaced by a conservation area
of one third its size. The new area stretches a little
further south than the Irish Box but it excludes the
western, north-western, eastern and south-eastern
waters entirely. The Irish Box was introduced when
Spain and Portugal joined the EEC in 1985.
cod-fish is gone from many areas of the world due
to over-fishing and if the spawning grounds off the
Irish coastline are not preserved, other species,
for example hake, are in danger of being fished out
entirely. Under the new arrangements even big foreign
factory ships will be permitted to fish right up to
most of the Irish coastline.
step backwards for the fishing industry is the taking
over of the marketing functions of Bord Iascaigh Mhara
(the Irish Seafisheries Board ) by An Bord Bia and
An Bord Glas of the Dublin Department of Agriculture.
These matters of importance to coastal communities
can be raised at next years local elections
in the 26 Counties and the following years Udarás
na Gaeltachta elections.
further stage in the concerted campaign by the British
government and the 26-County State to normalise English
rule in Ireland was seen during the year when Gaelic
football matches were held between the 26-County police
and the RUC/PNSI, The British Army of occupation and
26-County forces at the Curragh and finally between
Leinster House representatives and the RUC/PSNI.
motivation behind the Dublin Administrations
pressure on the GAA to drop its Rule 21 is now crystal
clear it is part of the agenda which underpins
the Stormont Agreement. Republican Sinn Féin
points out yet again that a British military or policing
presence in Ireland is neither acceptable nor normal,
but rather represents the root cause of conflict in
our country. These matches have nothing to do with
sport but everything to do with collaborationist politics.
vice-chair of the RUC/PSNI policing board Denis Bradley
put a question to those opposed to the Stormont Agreement:
Do they or do they not accept the sovereignty
of the Irish people? The response is that the
two concurrent referenda held under duress in geographical
fragments of Ireland purported to cede or surrender
sovereignty over the Six Occupied Counties to England.
The answer is No; we do not accept such a surrender.
when the Provo ex-prisoners committee, Coiste na nIarchimí,
called for the lifting of the bans preventing its
members from serving in the British police in Ireland
or joining district policing partnerships,
they like Mr Bradley and his kind accept
and surrender to British sovereignty in the Six Counties.
Sinn Féin repeats its call of last May for
full disclosure about the events surrounding the Dublin
and Monaghan bombings of May 1974 which resulted in
the biggest loss of life in the present conflict.
It commends the work of the Justice for the Forgotten
group of relatives and deplores the delaying tactics
of the British government whose lack of co-operation
has frustrated the work of the inquiry during the
past four years.
this regard we would seriously question why the hearings
of the Barron Commission established by the Dublin
government were held in private. The revelations of
the British-sponsored Stevens Report were partially
released only but served to highlight the fact that
the English government have used Loyalist Death Squads
as another arm of its military machine in Ireland.
Republicans have been pointing this out since the
early 1970s. The Dublin and Monaghan bombings
were very much part of the dirty war which
Britain waged against the Irish people.
findings of a delegation from the European Convention
for the Prevention of Torture, published in September,
serve only to confirm what many Irish Republicans,
mainly young people, have experienced at the hands
of the 26-County police, whether on the street, at
work or in custody. Following visits to a number of
police barracks the delegation found that there was
credibility to allegations of abuse made by people
who have been in police custody.
have for long borne the brunt of a concerted campaign
of intimidation. In many cases young people have been
arrested and released without charge as often as five
times in a twelve month period, as well as being subjected
to raids on their homes and random body searches.
We welcome these findings but we feel that while the
26-County police remain unaccountable and have recourse
to some of the most draconian legislation in western
Europe, for example the Offences Against the State
Acts, human and civil rights will never be secure
within the 26-County State.
in the 26 Counties the official policy in recent years
of keeping general taxation down has resulted in stealth
taxes, i.e. charges on many services, both centrally
and locally administered. The recent imposition of
refuse charges in Dublin is but another example of
this policy in action and it has proved to be a flashpoint.
In general these imposts do not take into account
the ability of the taxpayer to pay. We commend our
members and supporters, and all involved in the anti-bin
we would enter a caveat in this connection: the last
thing that the most vulnerable in society want is
the privatisation of the refuse service with its spiralling
charges and absence of waivers for the unemployed
and the destitute. We would point out that as our
policy documents EIRE NUA and SAOL NUA state, effective
change can only be brought about by local communities
taking control of their own affairs, true democracy
Justice Commission of the Conference of Religious
in Ireland (CORI) in its interesting pre-budget submission
issued during October called for an increase in the
lowest social welfare payment by at least 12 Euro
for a single person and 20 Euro for a couple. CORI
recommends among other things that income tax should
not be increased, but that corporation tax should
be to 17%, that capital gains tax be raised and that
the levy on financial institutions be added to. CORI
has always championed the least well off in our society
whom unjust taxation has always hit the hardest.
has perhaps the largest wind resource in Europe, and
could be a net exporter of electricity if even a small
portion of this resource was harnessed. Ireland is
also over 90% dependent on imported energy sources,
a figure which is increasing rapidly as our native
peat resources deplete. The 26-County State is already
30% ahead of its permitted CO2 emissions agreed in
the Kyoto protocol, under which emissions taxes over
€1 BN per annum could be charged in 2008. The
building of wind farms will help reduce these fines
in the future.
on both sides of the Border have completely failed
to develop this wind resource to supply the country
with a clean and secure energy supply. The recent
AER 6 renewables contracts resulted in over 80% of
the renewable energy contracts going to the ESB and
Bórd na Móna, leaving many small-scale
operators out in the cold. Republican Sinn Féin
recognises that community and small-scale ownership
of wind farms has been the hallmark of the highly-successful
wind energy regimes in Denmark and Germany. We call
on the 26-County government to pay a higher price
for energy from wind to operators large and small,
which will ensure that wind farms to be economically-viable,
need not be placed only on high mountains, where they
are in conflict with delicate eco-systems, as was
seen in the last week in Co. Galway.
year that has passed has seen planning permission
granted by An Bord Pleanála for the countrys
first large-scale waste incinerator near Duleek in
Co. Meath. Despite increasing waste separation, reaching
over 50% in at least one city, the Dublin government
is pushing ahead with its policy of building the large
cancer-factories, despite opposition by
tens of thousands of local people. Republicans must
oppose Environment Minister Cullens plans to
include waste incinerators among the fast-track planning
route for critical infrastructure.
slick-horror waste advertisements on television urging
people to re-use, reduce and recycle are undermined
by the fact that, apart from one paper mill in Dublin
and one glass factory in Fermanagh, the country has
no significant recycling facilities. The ordinary
people are not the problem they will recycle
when given the opportunity to do so but Governments
must encourage the recycling industry here, and thus
provide jobs in Ireland from our waste resources.
Over 90% of the materials separated by citizens is
being exported to the Third World rather than being
recycled here in Ireland.
only glass factory in the 26 Counties, the Irish Glass
Bottle Company in Dublin which engaged in large-scale
recycling of glass, was allowed to be sold off while
the Dublin Administration stood idly by. Many of the
issues mentioned here can be raised in the local election
of next summer and it is encouraging to note that
candidates have already been selected in Limerick
and Galway. For them the campaign has got under way.
look to other areas to follow suit. All areas must
contribute in one way or another and the sooner the
better. Issues include energy from our natural resources,
(wind, gas and possibly oil), fishing, waste disposal,
transport, housing policy, and most importantly, planning
including County Development Plans and Spatial planning.
the Six Occupied Counties a survey carried out last
March by the University of Ulster confirmed Republican
Sinn Féins analysis of the Stormont Agreement
five years earlier. We warned that it would only further
entrench the artificial divisions created among our
people by Britain, as it was based on a sectarian
it has fostered sectarianism is borne out by the figures.
In the period 1996 to 2001 the proportion of people
who believed that relations between the two communities
had improved fell by 22% , backing for mixed areas
fell by more than 20% among Unionists from 81% to
59%, whilst among Nationalists it fell from 85% to
72%; support for mixed workplaces has also fallen
substantially among both communities.
to Dr Gillian Robinson of the University of Ulster
School of Policy Studies: The indicators suggest
a marked deterioration in community relations and
a distinct retreat towards single-identity communities
since 1996. Similarly, a poll conducted in February
by Queens University and the Belfast Telegraph
highlighted the growing frustration of powerlessness
felt by the Unionist population.
that same month of February Republican Sinn Féin
launched in Belfast An Address to the People of Ireland
with a special appeal to the people of the Unionist
persuasion. It pointed out: We believe that
neither London nor Dublin can guarantee the future
welfare of the people of Ulster. Only the people of
Ulster themselves can do that and they can
best achieve it by taking their rightful place, as
equals, in the historic Irish nation, where their
rights would be guaranteed by a new constitution and
they would have access to real power.
attempts continue to patch together what is a fatally
flawed and sectarian Agreement it is time to look
again at what is the only credible alternative to
ongoing conflict and division. With trust foundering
on all sides, we ask everybody to consider again our
ÉIRE NUA programme for a four-province federal
Ireland, with optimum devolution of powers down to
The Address continues: The nightmare of the
Nationalist community still endures: watchtowers,
patrols and checkpoints still operate, prisoners are
denied political status and sectarian attacks and
killings continue. Now, the Unionist community also
experiences a sense of apprehension and insecurity,
as the certainties of the past give way to uncertainty,
confusion and bewilderment.
Address was stated in an attached statement to be
a clear statement of Irish Republicanism as we had
inherited it from our predecessors over two centuries.
We had taken a positive attitude in it and hoped for
reciprocation to it. Other parties were engaged in
a never-ending wrangle towards a short-term solution
which was bound to fail in the medium to long-term.
We believed - and we still believe - that the framework
of an enduring, inclusive and just solution lies in
the tenets of Irish Republicanism.
added that we considered the Address worthy of notice
and careful study and appealed to the media to treat
it accordingly. Apart from the Irish News (Belfast),
Carn, (the quarterly journal of the Celtic League),
the BBC Radio Ulster Talkback Show which did a live
radio interview with the Republican Sinn Féin
President in recent weeks, the media appeared to ignore
our initiative to Unionists.
seems as though an editorial line to promote the Stormont
Agreement at all costs and to reject all appearance
of an alternative is being strictly enforced. However
there have been some responses from individuals and
these are being followed up on and contact is being
in recent weeks on October 21 Mr Adams
stated that the Agreement provides the context
in which the Provos and the Unionists will,
as equals, pursue their objectives peacefully, thus
providing full and final closure of the conflict.
He added: We are opposed to any use or threat
of force for any political purpose.
Republican Sinn Féin bases its stand on the
fact that Ireland is a sovereign nation, and sovereign
nations the world over have the right to defend themselves
and to resist foreign aggression. We state that Ireland
is no exception to this principle. We state further
that there will be no full and final closure
to the conflict between Irish Republicanism
and English imperialism and colonialism until the
British government signals to the world its intention
of leaving Ireland forever. We reject Mr Adamss
present an election campaign is taking place to restore
the Stormont assembly. It is not a free and fair election.
Under an edict of Margaret Thatcher in 1989 all candidates
in Stormont or local council elections in the Six
Counties must, to secure nomination, subscribe to
a political test oath to (a) disown publicly the organisations
of the Republican Movement and (b) to deny the right
of the Irish people to resist English rule in Ireland.
is not democracy. It is not even what is known as
civil rights. There are no political test
oaths in England, Scotland or Wales. There are none
in the 26-County State. It is a basic civil right
of all citizens in a true democracy to stand for election
irrespective of their political views and beliefs.
If one accepts English rule in Ireland one can contest
this election. If not, one cannot. Therefore Republican
Sinn Féin cannot take part in it. We are people
of our word.
are engaged in distributing many thousands of leaflets
and hundreds of posters conveying this message. Because
it is not a free and fair election we are asking people
to reject it by either Boycotting the poll or Spoiling
their votes. In that way they will be supporting civil
rights to the Irish nation and an end to English rule.
It is not the right of an occupying government, or
of any government, to reject an individuals
candidature by virtue of a political test oath.
has been stated already, this is the bicentenary year
of Robert Emmets Rising in 1803. He, with the
men and women of 1798, set a course for the Irish
nation with their appeal to Catholic, Protestant and
Dissenter under the common name of Irishman which
will, we believe, eventually bear abundant fruit.
In conclusion, then, let us repeat the solemn
obligation which Thomas Russell, hanged in Downpatrick
in 1803 , Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy Mc Cracken and others
took on Cave Hill, overlooking Belfast:
to desist in our efforts until we had subverted
the authority of England over our country and asserted
Phoblacht Abú! Victory to the All-Ireland Republic!
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