Chathaoirligh, a Theachtaí is a Cháirde
fíor-chaoin fáilte rómhaibh
go léir ag an Ard-Fheis seo, an 101ú
ceann de chuid Shinn Féin. Ach is ócáid
ar leith í seo mar gur comóradh céad
bliain é an comhthionól inniu ar an
Ard-Fheis bhunaithe i 1905.
an 28ú Samhain a tionóladh an chéad
Ard-Fheis de Shinn Féin. Tháinig sí
le chéile céad slat ón láthair
seo - ins na Seomraí Rotunda ar Chearnóg
Pharnell. Agus tá an-bhród orainn
ar fad gur bhaill den eagraiócht seo muid
a sheas go diongmhálta leis an gcuspóir
bhunaithe riamh ó shoin - neamhspleáchas
náisiúnta na h-Éireann uile.
ann thar na blianta a scar linn agus a ghlac le
riail Shasana sa tír seo. Chabhraigh cuid
aca leis an námhaid eachtrannach, ach sheas
dream dílís an fód go daingean
neamhleithscéalach.In a measc siúd
tá Sinn Féin Poblachtach a thaobhaigh
gan briseadh le Bunreacht Shinn Féin riamh
anall. Ní beag sin.
sibh-se ionadaithe polaitiúla an dreama neamhghéilliúla
sin agus traoslaím daoibh bhúr ndílseacht,
bhúr ndúthracht agus bhúr gcuid
oibre ar son na Cúise. Lá breithe
sona do Shinn Féin!
cháirde, this month we celebrate the 100th
birthday of Sinn Féin. This, then, is no
ordinary Ard-Fheis but the centenary of our historic
organisation. Sinn Féin is mentioned in the
various encyclopaedias and even in dictionaries.
A sample entry (Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary
1981 Edition) reads: "A political movement
and party in Ireland championing a republic and
later opposing partition".
O'Higgins, writing in his Wolfe Tone Annual of 1949,
stated: "The constitution of Sinn Féin
in 1905, and certainly the spirit of it, was at
least as clearly Separatist as was the constitution
of Sinn Féin in and after1917". That
constitution of 1905 had as its object "the
re-establishment of the Independence of Ireland".
50 years later, Pádraig Mac Lógáin
gave his Presidential Address to the Ard-Fheis of
Sinn Féin, Brian O'Higgins and the Donegal
author and poet Séamus Mc Manus, who were
there in 1905, were still staunch Republicans and
supporters of the Movement.
50 years on and the Ard Oifig of Republican Sinn
Féin has carried a banner all year saying
"Sinn Féin 1905-2005 - One Hundred Years
- Unbroken Continuity".
suitable plaque to mark the centenary was unveiled
on the front wall of our Belfast office by veteran
Republican Billy McKee.
special commemorative calendar for 2005 has been
on sale over the past 12 months. It contains rare
photographs and dates as well as a list of the fifteen
Presidents from 1905 to date. It has been much in
demand and is sure to become a collector's item
in time to come. Also available are laminated pictures
from the calendar as well as commemorative badges
reprint of "A Proud History Gives Confidence
of Victory" by Margaret Buckley, the sole woman
President of Sinn Féin who held the office
during the lean years 1937-1950 is being arranged.
It covers the first 50 years of our organisation
up to 1955 and an update to 2005 is being added.
the day following his address at Bodenstown, the
current President handed over many of his personal
political papers at a ceremony in the James Hardiman
Library, NUI Galway. They will be available to interested
people from January 1st next. In the same month
will be launched a biography of the President entitled
"Ó Brádaigh - the Life and Politics
of an Irish Revolutionary". The author is Dr
Robert W White, Professor of Sociology at Indiana
University, USA. It will deal among other matters
with many controversial events.
Easter a much-appreciated Republican Garden of Remembrance
to the 12 hunger-strikers of 1974-81 was opened
in Bundoran. It also honours local men who made
the supreme sacrifice for Ireland in the same period.
It has drawn much favourable comment from the families
of those being honoured as well as from local people
and visitors to the area who stop at this impressive
and peaceful spot facing Donegal Bay and Sliabh
the beginning of the year Dan Keating of Kerry was
invested as Patron of Republican Sinn Féin
in succession to the late George Harrison of Mayo
and New York. Dan had attained the great age of
103 in January last and is a veteran Republican
of many battles, hardships, prisons and internment
camps. With pride we congratulate him on his uncompromising
stand down the decades. In September, at a joyous
and celebratory function in the capital, Comhairle
Ceantair Átha Cliath made a presentation
to the present incumbent in honour of the Office
of President as "guardian of the constitution
of Sinn Féin" over the hundred years.
in January "the marking of the centennial of
Sinn Féin, the oldest Irish political party"
was among the themes at the annual Michael and Pearl
Flannery Testimonial Awards Dinner in New York.
Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta (the National
Irish Freedom Committee) were the sponsors and the
President of Republican Sinn Féin's 20-minute
address was conveyed to those assembled in New York
by video link.
two weeks time on Saturday, November 26 a celebratory
march and open-air ceremony will be held in central
Dublin. That weekend is nearest to the 28th November,
the centenary of the foundation Ard-Fheis of Sinn
Féin. The parade will form up at the Garden
of Remembrance, Parnell Square and will march with
music to O'Connell Bridge, returning to the Ambassador
Cinema beside the Parnell Monument.
ceremony will be held on the open space in front
of the cinema which is adjacent to the Rotunda Rooms
where our organisation was founded. At this time
when all we stand for is under attack as never before,
a large attendance from all counties is expected
to show that as we enter our second century the
imperishable ideals, for which so much has been
sacrificed, still live on in the hearts of Irish
men and women.
Monday, November 15, last year the 26-County Special
Branch aimed a deadly blow at Republican Sinn Féin.
It was the day following on last year's Ard-Fheis
that they descended on the Dublin hotel which had
been the venue for our annual cómhthionól
Branch seized from the hotel staff the proceeds
of last year's National Draw and the takings at
the Ard-Fheis ballad session on the Saturday night.
A total of £4900 sterling and 3800euro was
grabbed by them. No warrant was produced, the money
was not even counted and no receipt was given. These
funds had been placed in the care of the hotel overnight.
correspondence between our solicitors and the Special
Branch revealed the real purpose of the seizure.
It was to cripple the Republican Sinn Féin
organisation financially by denying us access to
funds legitimately and openly acquired. Local elections
had been contested by us the previous summer and
we were committed to participate in the Údarás
na Gaeltachta elections the following April.
were long drawn out with voluminous correspondence
and requests by the Branch for meetings which they
never attended. A year later there is no movement
by them in this matter. However, an appeal to members,
supporters and friends to come to our aid financially
was a great success. Our well-wishers rallied to
our support immediately and in a short few weeks
subscriptions greatly exceeded the amount grabbed.
Meanwhile we are not content to let the matter rest.
We are continuing to take advice and are exploring
content with an illegal seizure of our funds, the
Branch are under orders by their political masters
to harass our membership in every way possible.
Following an Ard-Chomhairle meeting in Dublin on
February 12 two members were stopped and papers
taken from their car. These Ard-Comhairle documents
were held for an hour before being returned.
April 2, five members were accosted on their way
to an education seminar in Parnell Square, Dublin.
One man was handcuffed and a 16-year old girl given
a body search. This type of harassment is not new
and is part of a concerted campaign of intimidation.
Young members in particular have been targeted and
the intention is clearly to intimidate and disrupt
our organisation and criminalise us in the eyes
of the public. In fact it merely galvanises members
and supporters, making them all the more determined
to put forward the Irish Republican agenda of ending
British rule and building a New Ireland.
spite of the seizure of our funds and harassment
of our members Republican Sinn Féin continued
with its activities. Prominent among them was the
contest of the Údarás na Gaeltachta
elections in April.
Tomás Ó Curraoin dúinn arís
i dtoghlach Chonamara agus chuir sé féin
agus a chomrádaithe feachtas an-láidir
isteach. Tháinig baill de Shinn Féin
Poblachtach as chontaethe eile i gcabhair ortha
agus sheól lucht tacaíochta airgead
chuca nuair nach bhféadfadh siad taisteal.
the outcome Tomás increased his vote by 35%
on his 1999 performance - from 629 to 848 first
preferences. He was in seventh place for six seats
and remained in the running until the 13th count.
He was first in Bearna (2 boxes), Na Forbacha, Buaile
Beag and Cnoc na Cathrach on the edge of Galway
Tomás ag dlúthú a chuid tacaíochta
i gcónaí agus ag cur leis. Tréaslaíonn
muid leis agus len a chuid oibrí. Beidh lá
eile aca, le cúnamh Dé.
June 19 a Republican Sinn Féin protest was
made when 20 members of the Mac Curtáin-MacSwiney
Cumann mounted a picket against the visit of British
warship HMS Grafton to Cork city. The Cumann is
to be congratulated on their new website as is the
McKearney-Mc Caughey Cumann, Dungannon on a similar
achievement. Then on the weekend of July 3 the President
led a group of members from Mayo, Galway and Roscommon
at a huge protest march and public meeting in Castlebar.
This was in support of the jailed Ros Dumhach Five
and their demands. The men want the natural gas
from the Corrib Field off Mayo to be refined at
sea instead of on shore which will endanger the
lives and safety of local people. An interview was
given to Mid-West Radio, Ballyhaunis on that occasion.
Subsequent demonstrations in Ballina and other Mayo
towns and on a number of occasions in Dublin city
centre were attended by our members carrying banners
and selling our paper which had the headline "Boycott
Shell" on its front page in July.
we welcome the release of the Ros Dumhach Five after
more than three months imprisonment, we note that
their demands have not yet been met and that the
threat of re-imprisonment still hangs over them.
Indeed, it was stated in a letter to the Irish Times
signed by more than 40 UCD academics that Shell
had stated at a Bord Pleanála hearing that
refinement at sea would cost the company an extra
340,000euro per year. But refinement at sea is carried
out in the case of Kinsale Gas and indeed, all over
remember the Whiddy Island blast in Bantry Bay in
1979 that took 50 lives. Not alone is the Dublin
government supporting Shell in its operations, but
they have given away our natural resources to buy
them back at international market prices.
1975 exploration terms were fixed at a tax rate
of 50% on profits; an automatic 50% stake for the
state in any commercial wells and royalties per
unit of production as well. In 1987 the requirements
that the state have a 50% stake in any commercial
project and that royalties be received were abolished.
Also a facility whereby exploration expenses could
be written off against tax was introduced.
1992, even more concessions were granted to the
multinational companies when the corporation tax
rate on oil and gas production was reduced to 25%,
the lowest in the world. (Norway, for instance,
has a tax rate of 78%). The companies were also
allowed to write off all costs going back for 25
on August 16, the Leinster House politicians gave
a similar licence to Shell to explore for 16 years
off the coast of Co Donegal. The people of that
county can expect to be treated in a similar fashion
to the people of Mayo, but we know they will resist.
our part, we will continue to support the people
of Mayo and to agitate for a fair and safe share
of our oil and natural gas for the Irish people.
would also advocate a supply of the refined gas
to the towns in Co Mayo and that the main pipeline
should go past Westport to Leenane and on to the
Galway Gaeltacht beyond Maam, running along the
coast of Galway Bay, past the city before joining
up with another pipeline going to the east coast.
the first weekend of July also our members took
part in the 20,000 strong "Make Poverty History"
march in Dublin as part of world-wide protests against
the G8 Summit in Scotland. Then our two Vice-Presidents
went to Edinburgh to participate in the Alternative
G8 events there. Our Francis Hughes Cumann in Glasgow
sponsored their visit.
a statement Republican Sinn Féin said that
it was entering into the demonstrations to highlight
the fact that "the G8 countries' political
and economic agenda is the new imperialism of the
21st Century. Their goal is the enrichment of the
most powerful industrialised states of the northern
hemisphere regardless of the cost in terms of people
and the environment".
Des Dalton and Josephine Hayden took part in the
Anti-Poverty march which attracted a crowd of over
200,000 people in Edinburgh on July 2, as well as
addressing workshops at the Alternative G8 summit
in Edinburgh University on Sunday July 3. They along
with Stephen Coyle, cathaoirleach of the Francis
Hughes Cumann, spoke at a public meeting organised
by the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement, entitled
"Make Britain History". Josephine said
that imperialism and poverty are two sides of the
the 60 workshops, "Ireland: Britain's Forgotten
War" was addressed by Des. Both attended the
workshop "International Platform Against Isolation"
which dealt with political prisoners around the
world. In addition the reasons for Republican Sinn
Féin's rejection of the Stormont Agreement
of 1998 were explained, as was our alternative ÉIRE
NUA programme. All in all, interesting international
contacts were made. While most were aware of Republican
Sinn Féin's existence, few knew our stand
on Irish and world affairs.
an unsavoury development has taken place in that
immigrant workers are now being exploited in a scandalous
manner. Gama Construction (Ireland) Ltd., which
has been named as engaging in such practices, has
been in receipt of huge state and local council
companies import workers who do not speak English
from their home base, control their passports and
work permits, often accommodate them in company
housing, demand outrageous working hours and pay
about half the decreed minimum wage.
chairperson of Republican Sinn Féin in Co
Clare, Paddy Kenneally from Crusheen, is also secretary
of the Clare Plasterers' Union. He has been to the
fore in exposing such exploitation locally showing
that foreign skilled workers are paid half the going
rate for Irish union members. His union has decided
to unionise the foreign workers and to take strike
action if needed. Such people are entitled to the
protection of labour law in this country and to
be paid in accordance with recognised rates and
agreements in the industry.
Kenneally was threatened with High Court action
by a building contractor for setting foot on a site
in order to unionise foreign workers, but he received
the full backing of his union.
development will eventually affect Irish workers
and their pay rates as greedy builders seek to employ
only those who are prepared to work for the lower
rates. We have already seen the consequences of
such "outsourcing" of employment in the
case of the Irish Ferries company on the sea routes
to France. The outcome can be disastrous for Irish
workers and the situation must be confronted without
further ado. Our members who give a lead in this
regard are to be complimented.
language question must be dealt with, too, and union
leaflets should be made available in Polish, Portuguese,
Turkish or whatever is required.
annual Human Development Report for 2005, was published
by the United Nations last month. The 26-County
State, out of 18 industrialised countries surveyed,
was the second wealthiest in the world, based on
Gross Domestic Product, but was one of the most
unequal with the third highest level of poverty.
The report estimated that 15.2% of Irish people
lived in poverty. Only Italy and the United States
had a higher poverty rate.
addition, the State had the second highest rate
of illiteracy with 22.6% of the population lacking
functional literacy skills, that is the ability
to read a train or a bus timetable with effect.
report cited relatively low levels of investment
in education and health in the State. Some 2367
dollars per head of population was spent on health
in 2002 compared to 5274 dollars per capita in the
United States. In general, the report found the
State to be one of the most unequal countries in
the developed world, with the richest 10% having
9.7 times more wealth than the poorest 10%. Taking
the top 30 most developed countries in the world,
only the US, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Portugal
were said to be more unequal. The report warned
that in very unequal societies, economic growth
"may have little impact" on reducing poverty,
adding "far more attention should be paid to
creating conditions under which the poor can increase
their share of future national income gains".
the report noted that the State lagged behind its
UN commitment to overseas development aid of 0.7%
of GNP. On current trends there will be more than
twice as many, or 827 million people, in the world
living in extreme poverty in 2015 if the targets
set by the UN are not met.
inequality is contributed to also, the report says,
by differential life expectancy, educational attainment
and adult literacy between rich and poor people.
The Area Development Management report, published
on the same day, states that poverty rooted in certain
areas of the State, - Ballymun, Ballyfermot, west
Kerry and parts of Mayo are mentioned - also plays
a significant part in inequality. The social capital,
of which we have heard so much recently, is eroded
by the growing and persistent lack of equality.
in June Amnesty International criticised the Dublin
administration for allowing Shannon Airport to be
used by the US to transfer people involuntarily
across borders without due process and often in
secret. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights
(UNHCR) has established an inquiry into this and
into allegations that suspects passing through Shannon
are being moved to jurisdictions where they may
be tortured during interrogation. Egypt, Pakistan,
Kuwait and the US base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba
have been named.
and re-fuelling by US military planes ferrying troops
to and from Iraq and Afghanistan have increased
sharply. Our members with their banners and SAOIRSE
newspaper for sale have taken part in all anti-war
demonstrations during the year. We remain opposed
to imperialist wars and resist the steady erosion
of neutrality by the Dublin government.
further development during the year was the defeat
of the proposed new EU constitution in referendums,
first in France and later in Holland. This was a
major setback for the project to tighten the E U's
grip further. It halted for the time being the advance
towards a federal United States of Europe, with
among other measures a single EU Foreign Minister
to speak for all 25-member states.
an EU army is in the making with "battle groups"
being drawn from the various states and being integrated
into a force ready to operate up to 2000 miles outside
the European Union's borders. With military combination
and an attempt to harmonise foreign policy, it is
clear where all of this is leading. It would certainly
end military neutrality and political non-alignment.
Sinn Féin's attitude has been clear. We would
campaign for a "No" vote in any referendum.
In this connection Vice-President Des Dalton visited
Brittany as a guest of the Breton independence movement
EMGANN which often sent representatives to our Ard-Fheis.
The visit coincided with the final days of the referendum
in the French state and representatives of a number
of small nations in Europe gathered there.
nations have been denied their right to national
independence and they sought to highlight the fact
that the proposed EU constitution would worsen their
position. Des Dalton told the gathering at a press
conference in Rennes that Republican Sinn Féin
shared EMGANN's analysis of the issue. "The
entire EU project has been about consolidating the
power of the bigger states at the expense of the
various stateless nations of Europe. The EU simply
represented a new form of imperialism. Brittany,
the Basque country and Ireland had much in common",
the matter of regional development at home in Ireland,
every report issued on the economy of the western,
border and midland areas has cited the lack of infrastructure.
At various Ard-Fheiseanna of Republican Sinn Féin
for 12 or 15 years now calls have been made for
a major north-south motorway from Donegal to Limerick
and on to Roslare Europort. We have also regularly
sought the re-opening of the Western Corridor railway
line from Sligo to Limerick.
launch ten days ago of the "Transport in the
21st Century" proposals by the present 26-County
Administration contained a limited version of both
our demands. The line from Ennis to Claremorris
is to be opened over 10 years. Public opinion in
the West and our organisation have sought the completion
of the line northwards to Collooney. In addition
the Ennis to Limerick track should be diverted to
include Shannon Airport, less than 10 miles off
the line. Commuter arrangements from Tuam to Galway
city need to be established. Rail access to the
proposed midlands gateway, defined in the so-called
National Spatial Strategy as Athlone, Tullamore
and Mullingar, needs to be completed by re-opening
the already existing Athlone-Mullingar line. The
absence of investment in the Dublin-Roslare track
and services which run through the growing Wicklow-Wexford
area also shows a lack of commitment to regional
after the motorway programme already in hand has
been finished - under which all roads lead to Dublin
- will the proposed "Atlantic Road Corridor"
from Letterkenny via Cork to Waterford be commenced.
Stated to be in the interests of promoting an effective
counterbalance to the dominance of Dublin, it is
not to be built to motorway standards at all. Indeed
not even all of it is to be a dual carriageway and
some of it is to be developed only as a 2+1 road.
This is not the level of upgrade that more than
300 companies in the regions affected have been
lobbying for the past five years. Despite all the
grandiose plans for Dublin and its immediate environs,
a mere 20 extra buses are offered while 180 were
provided for in the 2000-2006 "National"
Development Plan. This move accompanied vague promises
to increase passenger journeys by 80,000 per day
over the next 10 years. The alleged "world-class
transport system for the 21st Century" falls
far short of a national transport plan. It is neither
national nor regional.
the past year the deterioration of the Provisional
Movement accelerated towards its inevitable conclusion.
The political surrender begun in 1986 with their
acceptance of the 26-County parliament at Leinster
House was followed in due course by their crawling
into Stormont and administering English rule in
the Six Counties as Ministers of the Crown.
in Westminster were taken up next with the acceptance
of heavy subsidies of £107,000 sterling per
year for each of their "Members of (the British)
Parliament". Well and truly can it be said
that those "who pay the piper call the tune".
Unlike the Officials who attempted to do all of
this in one move, the Provo leadership learned from
the Officials and proceeded more cautiously employing
deceit and duplicity and even downright untruths
to dupe their adherents. Three steps forward and
two backwards, making a net advance of one step
collapse followed political surrender as surely
as day followed night. Arms and volunteers were
there as never at any stage since 1922, but leadership
was lacking. As it did in the aftermath of the Treaty
of Surrender in 1921, the British government forced
the counter-revolution on the Provos, first with
a unilateral ceasefire and then with the voluntary
destruction of arms, ammunition and explosives.
This year they completed the demolition of all their
military stores. An army without arms is no longer
an army and the Provisionals can no longer pretend
to oppose British rule here in arms.
the while they seek to re-write history to their
own advantage. They tell the Irish people that the
struggle was merely for civil rights under British
rule and that they have won! In no way would sacrifices
such as were made since 1969 be justified simply
to reform English rule in this country. The struggle
was to get the British government OUT of Ireland
for good and glory and to make the Irish people
supreme in their own country - and for nothing less.
complete the counter-revolution, the British Establishment
requires the Provisionals to accept the RUC/PSNI,
to take part in their management, to recruit for
them and to join their ranks. If their performance
to date is anything to go by, they will become the
new Broy Harriers, hounding and oppressing their
former comrades in the interests of British imperialism.
Already they have joined the British forces and
the 26-County State forces in threatening and intimidating
owners and managers of premises where functions
are to be held in support of Republican prisoners'
Lily sellers are not immune from the Provos' attentions
as the occupation forces, the Free State and renegade
Republicans combine to drive our members off the
streets and put a strangle hold on the continued
struggle for Irish national independence.
spite of Mr. Ahern having said that "the constitutional
issue is settled", the struggle will continue
until the renowned Irish Question is resolved with
an end to the British government presence here.
The Éire Nua proposals for a new federation
of the four provinces provide for the sharing of
power on the basis of local majorities, including
a nine-county Ulster.
fact that the Provos have departed from the stage
and no longer pretend even to be a revolutionary
organisation is a definite gain. They can now clearly
be treated as just another establishment political
party. But the use by them - even in this centenary
year - of the historic name of Sinn Féin
when they have broken its constitution and treacherously
abandoned all that Sinn Féin stood for down
the decades is an obvious loss and causes confusion
in people's minds.
no way does that celebrated title belong in Westminster,
Stormont or Leinster House. After all, was not Sinn
Féin founded a hundred years ago to withdraw
from Westminster and all its works and pomp - the
fountain-head of imperialism - and yet the Provos
sup there. They take the shilling and drink the
the Stormont Agreement in 1998 the Provos signed
away political status for future Republican prisoners
- a right dearly won by our hunger-strikers. In
the years since then a hard struggle has been engaged
in, both inside and outside the prisons to reclaim
political status. This has been successful to a
degree but the Republican Prisoners Action Group
has this year listed the outstanding demands of
the prisoners in Maghaberry Jail.
are: the right to education, to adequate medical
treatment, to free association, to open family visits
and an end to humiliating strip-searching. An end
to harassment of visitors, and in some cases of
lawyers, is also sought. We must stand by the Republican
prisoners in Maghaberry and Portlaoise Prisons and
their families. We salute them all in their stand
and their endurance, and send warmest greetings
to them from this Ard-Fheis.
before the present Ard-Fheis assembled the long-awaited
Barron Report on the murder of Séamus Ludlow
outside Dundalk was published. It is 30 years since
his death at the hands of British-backed loyalists
and the report lay 14 months in the 26-County Department
of Justice before being made available to the public.
findings were similar to those in the cases of many
of the Irish people randomly done to death south
of the Border by the underground arm of the British
occupation forces. In the three and a half years
from December 1972 to May 1976 48 such killings
took place. In no case inquired into was there any
co-operation from the British government or British
forces. Yet forensics had been sent north to British
agencies for examination. In Séamus Ludlow's
case, it was the bullets that killed him - sent
back to those they originally came from! Four persons
were named in the report as being directly responsible
for his death and two of these were serving members
of the British Army's UDR. The inquiry further found
that files in the case were again missing from Garda
Headquarters. The investigation was shut down in
a few weeks - in other cases it was a few months
- and there was no paper trail to indicate who was
responsible. It would appear that this was done
verbally only. In none of the 48 cases was there
charges or convictions.
the Special Branch was insulting to Séamus
Ludlow's family and even alleged that Republicans
were responsible for his death. Why did all this
happen in the aftermath of such killings and why
did the Irish people have to wait 30 years for it
to come out? Because simply the 26-County State
since its foundation has by its very nature been
engaged in a policy of collaboration with the British
policy requires it to regard Republicans as the
only enemies of the State in the 26 Counties. The
British, for their part, regard the loyalist death
squads as allies of the British-imposed Six-County
statelet, and a positive asset to them. Occupation
regimes in any country find it useful to have a
hidden extension to their forces largely composed
of local people to operate outside the norm.
support the demand of the Ludlow family for an independent
public sworn inquiry into Séamus's death,
including the power to compel witnesses and the
discovery of documents. We do not want a secret,
behind-closed-doors inquiry as in the cases of the
33 people who died in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
Collusion and collaboration must be exposed for
what they are - instruments of British imperialism.
summer, according to published RUC/PSNI reports,
the number of sectarian attacks in the five months
April to August has doubled. Nationalist families,
throughout Co Antrim particularly, have been pipe-bombed,
paint-bombed and petrol-bombed out their homes.
Schools and churches have been targeted and we condemn
equally the attacks on Protestant as well as on
Catholic places of worship. Over 700 attacks took
place in the five months, twice the number in the
same period last year.
nationalist nightmare has increased in intensity.
Indeed it was pathetic to see a delegation from
the last remaining nationalist families in Ahoghill,
Co Antrim making its way to Leinster House in August
asking for help and protection. Many of you are,
no doubt, too young to remember but is this not
a repeat of such events in 1969 - only this time
the delegation was accompanied by a Provo councillor.
36 years and all that sacrifice, this is where the
Provisionals have led the people - back to where
they started out. Unfortunately for the nationalists
of the Six Counties, assistance and defence for
them from Leinster House are like Free State
purely verbal in nature.
unionist-oriented people, for their part, have seen
the certainties of the past give way to uncertainty,
confusion and bewilderment. England, on whom they
relied so much in the past, has little or nothing
to offer them at this stage. Many of them have come
to realise this.
nationalists, on the other hand, have cultural and
psychological links and a sense of belonging to
the people of the rest of Ireland. Continuous rebuffs
by England will increase the unionists' sense of
isolation and they could become the great losers
in all of this.
would remind them that their place in the Irish
nation was long since bought in their own blood.
We can visualise Henry Joy McCracken leading his
men into Antrim town and Henry Munro at the head
of the United Irishmen at Ballynahinch. The names
of Betsy Gray and Jemmy Hope come to mind.
ground the unionists stand on politically narrows
all the time, as can be seen from the results of
each successive local council election. We ask them,
once more, to consider the ÉIRE NUA programme
which offers the most secure and generous means
of taking their rightful place, as equals, in the
historic Irish nation.
wealth accumulates but at social and environmental
cost, an anti-national agenda is being pursued on
a wide scale. Unionist demands are increasing as
political commentators and letters to editors of
newspapers seek to have us as a people forget the
whole idea of a free and united Ireland. Unless
British rule in the Six Counties and the status
quo since 1921 is accepted, there will never be
peace in Ireland, they tell us. Neither the 26-County
Establishment nor the Provo political party who
have the ear of the media stand up to these people
and answer them.
the contrary these neo-unionists are encouraged
by the official actions of the Establishment on
a country-wide basis. A flotilla of the 26-County
navy was dispatched to take part in the bicentenary
celebrations of the English victory over the French
at Trafalgar. We recall that the French were the
allies of the Irish people in 1798 and 1803 - the
period immediately preceding Trafalgar.
month or so earlier in July, a minister of the 26-County
State unveiled a monument at Carrigaline, Co Cork
to Francis Drake, an official Elizabethan pirate
and privateer who took part in the massacre of civilians
of the Mac Donnell clan on Rathlin island in 1575.
A guard of honour of the State navy performed official
duties on that occasion. Within days a slogan in
Irish was inscribed on the monument: "Ní
seoiníní sinn go léir"
(We are not all West Britons). On a wall opposite
a faded slogan could be read "God's light (shine)
on you, Bobby Sands".
in Castlebar, Co Mayo a memorial was unveiled last
year over a British soldier who died 90 years earlier
and who was awarded the VC medal for his part in
crushing the Indian Mutiny against the British in
1857. Again the State army was officially represented
there. In Dún Laoghaire and at University
College Cork a year or two earlier, memorials to
the Famine Queen Victoria, as Maud Gonne called
her, were refurbished and put in place.
Nenagh, Co Tipperary a plaque, taken down 100 years
ago because of objections to the inscription on
it, is to be replaced now. It commemorates "the
unparalleled benevolence of the English nation to
the poor of Ireland at a season of extreme distress,
AD 1822". The patronising words, unacceptable
a century ago, are now to be swallowed in a slavish
and servile manner.
elements within the media were allowed by the GAA
leadership to set the agenda regarding Rules 21
and 42 in recent years. The invitation to teams
from the British occupation forces RUC/PSNI to take
part in the Sigerson Cup colleges competition is
part of the ongoing campaign to normalise English
rule in Ireland. These occupation forces came to
Croke Park before, to massacre spectators and even
a player on the pitch, all in the interests of British
rule. Their basic function today is to maintain
that British government presence in Six Irish Counties.
call on members of the GAA to make their voice heard;
we call on GAA Clubs and teams to refuse to play
against British forces teams. All of us should step
up the campaign against this latest attempt to turn
the GAA into a recruiting office for the British
forces in Ireland.
the debate on Rule 42, the fact that the GAA, an
amateur sporting organisation, had the courage and
the drive to build a world class stadium while professional
sporting bodies, particularly the FAI, have lacked
similar vision or competence has been ignored in
the whole debate. We ask what others have failed
to ask: what have they done with the financial resources
they must have accrued over the past 15 to 20 years
and why in that time were they not in a position
to build their own stadium?
the decision of the GAA to amend Rule 42, both the
IRFU and the FAI have said that they are still considering
alternative venues abroad a fact that makes people
wonder what agendas lay behind the entire debate.
Will the next campaign be to stop the flying of
the Irish national flag at GAA venues in the Six
Counties, or to prevent GAA clubs being named in
honour of Irish patriots? Is the tide of Anglicisation
to sweep everything in Ireland before it?
coming year requires renewed dedication and energy
from our members. Our political education programme
needs to be stepped up to counter the acceptance
of English rule here and the normalisation of English
influence; to foster matters Gaelic and strengthen
working class resistance to exploitation; to step
up our opposition to imperialist wars and protect
our environment and natural resources; to promote
ÉIRE NUA - a New Democracy, SAOL NUA - a
New Way of Life and Towards a Peaceful Ireland.
We need to develop a many-sided approach to our
objectives and prevent them being misrepresented
to the people.
year 2006 marks the 90th anniversary of the Easter
Rising of 1916 as well as the 25th commemoration
of the sacrifices on hunger-strike in 1981. We must
be up and doing, losing no opportunity to reach
the Irish people and make them aware of our glorious
past, our stimulating present and our vision of
to the Irish people