Saturday, 3 January 2015

New Year Message from the Leadership of Republican Sinn Féin

'The message of 1916 must be carried forward and acted upon': Republican Sinn Féin extends New Year greetings to its members and supporters, Republican POWs and to all engaged in the struggle for political, social and economic democracy. The past year witnessed a rising tide of resistance by the people of the 26 Counties against the imposition of water charges and the wider policy of economic austerity that has been inflicted upon our people by the Leinster House regime. In the Six Counties Republican POWs continue their fight for political status while the sectarian Stormont regime lurches from one crisis to another. The so-called ‘Stormont House Agreement’ cobbled together before Christmas merely prepares the ground for the implementation of the British Tory-led Government’s neo-liberal economic policies of austerity and social cuts in the Six Counties while issues such as contentious Orange marches and the drafting and implementation of an Irish Language Act remain unresolved. The agreement merely underlines the fact that the Six Counties remain firmly under the control of the British Government with the Stormont Executive merely acting as colonial administrators. Internationally imperialism continues to exert itself. While we welcome the release of the remaining members of the Cuban 5 by the US Government, we urge caution to those rushing to applaud the normalisation of relations between the US and Cuba. Any such normalisation carries with it a price tag set by the US designed to undo the social progress made under the Cuban revolution and to exert US hegemony over central and South America. In the Middle East the Israeli State is waging a war on the Palestinian people designed to break their will. In Gaza the full weight of the Israeli military machine has been brought to bear on the entire population. We reiterate our support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for a viable and sovereign nation state. The coming year presents opportunities to further the goal of establishing a New Ireland. On both sides of the British imposed border the Irish people have shown an appetite for radical change. There are many false promises of achieving such change within the existing partitionist system, however we see in the case of the Provisionals that they speak out of both sides of their mouths. While promising change in the 26 Counties, in the Six-County state they have signed up to implementing the economic policies of the British Tory-led Government. The most recently proposed 26-County political party is simply a re-booting of the right-wing neo-liberal Progressive Democrats. Real transformation will not emerge from either Stormont or Leinster House. Those who promise reform will ultimately end up implementing the same policies they purport to oppose. What is required is revolutionary political, social and economic change. Our policies ÉIRE NUA and SAOL NUA provide the framework for a New Ireland that would be equal to the principles and promise of the 1916 Proclamation. On March 14 we will be holding a public forum in Belfast to engage in discussion and debate on the merits of ÉIRE NUA as an alternative to both partitionist states. This will be the first of a series of such meetings we propose to hold throughout Ireland in order to promote ÉIRE NUA as the viable alternative to the failed politics and Leinster House. The coming year, as part of the build-up to the centenary of the 1916 Rising, we will be marking the centenary of the famous oration, delivered by Pádraig Mac Piarais at the graveside of the great Fenian Diarmuid O'Donnabáin Rosa. As the only political organisation still committed to the undiluted gospel of revolutionary Irish Republicanism and the re-establishment of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week it is our duty to ensure that the message of 1916 is carried forward and acted upon. The forces of reaction and revisionism are attempting to rob us of our history, of its meaning and relevance in order to make our people compliant and subservient to the present day forces of political and economic imperialism. Instead we must reaffirm ownership of that history. The revolutionary generation of a century ago were men and women of vision. They showed us by their example what can be achieved by ordinary people when they unite together on the basis of principle and idealism. The coming year will see a stepping up of the campaign of economic resistance and we urge people to come out and join that campaign. Ordinary people have it within themselves to decide their own destiny for this and future generations. The only effective means of bringing about revolutionary change is political and social activism. Republican Sinn Féin will be taking its place in the vanguard of that struggle. Críoch/Ends

Friday, 12 December 2014

RSF Ard Chomhairle sets the record straight

Statement from the Ard Chomhairle of Republican Sinn Féin: We wish to place on record the facts relating to the events which followed the Ard Fheis. In her resignation statement Cait Trainor attempted to portray her resignation as being based on a point of principle. Coupled with this she also attempted to create a narrative in which she and others were persecuted because of a resolution put forward by her cumann at the Ard Fheis. All of this is entirely false. Firstly, far from viewing her position as being untenable within Republican Sinn Féin in the aftermath of the Ard Fheis she instead accepted positions on a number of Ard Chomhairle committees. Her decision to do so contradicts the attitude she adopts in her statement. Secondly, the charges that were brought against her were done so because of her behaviour during and following the Ard Fheis. Her right to support and speak on her cumann’s resolution was respected at all times and had absolutely no bearing on the Ard Chomhairle’s decision to bring charges against her. We point out that members of the Ard Chomhairle who had supported her cumann’s resolution also supported the levelling of charges against her. The charges brought against her were on the following grounds: A) That she engaged in conduct unbecoming a national officer of Sinn Féin by her conduct at the Ard Fheis on Sunday November 9. Her walk out of the Ard Fheis without explanation was a calculated insult to the Ard Fheis, the office of An tUachtarán and to the leadership of Sinn Féin. The position of a national officer and Leas Uactarán carries with it great responsibility. It is also a position of respect and consequently good example should be set by the office holder. Cait Trainor’s behaviour undermined that position. (B) That by posting a status on Facebook on Monday November 10 Cait Trainor was inviting public attack and ridicule on the organisation thereby undermining both Sinn Féin and its leadership. This was in gross violation of her trust as a national officer to safeguard the well being and good name of Sinn Féin.” The facts of the matter are these: a contentious motion was put to the Ard Fheis as was the right of the proposing cumann. Full rights were accorded to both sides and an open and democratic vote was taken following a full and open debate. However instead of accepting the democratic decision of the Ard Fheis certain sections of those who led the debate in proposing the motion that was rejected were not prepared to accept the democratic decision of the Ard Fheis. Instead the Ard Fheis was snubbed, with the actions of Cáit Trainor designed to send out a clear signal of contempt for the democratic decision of the Ard Fheis, the supreme authority of Sinn Féin. We are an open and democratic organisation, members can of course disagree and debate issues in an open and democratic manner. Where good will and sincerely held views are held by both sides reconciliation and comradeship will always follow. However when people are not prepared to engage in open and democratic debate and accept decisions that have been democratically arrived at and instead engage in open attacks on the integrity of our movement then we are faced with a threat to our organisation as a whole. When Cáit Trainor went on to facebook on November 10 she was inviting attacks on Republican Sinn Féin and its leadership. Her actions were an encouragement to the internet trolls to attack Republican Sinn Féin. This was a calculated decision and a throwing down of the gauntlet to the leadership of Republican Sinn Féin. Faced with such a challenge the Ard Chomhairle was left with no choice but to act decisively in order to protect the organisation. To do otherwise would have been a dereliction of our duty as a leadership and in violation of the mandate given to us to safeguard Sinn Féin.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

No cooperation with British Forces of Occupation! Build RSF in North Armagh!

Statement from the Thomas Harte Cumann, Republican Sinn Fein In statement, the PRO of the Thomas Harte Cumann Republican Sinn Féin Lurgan/Craigavon, responded to allegations made in public against members of the Cumann in recent days. In the statement, the PRO of the Thomas Harte Cumann said that no one in Republican Sinn Féin in general and in the Thomas Harte Cumann in particular has any intention to ever seek permission from the British Occupation Forces to march on the streets of Ireland. Instead, the Thomas Harte Cumann is actively building a strong and revolutionary Easter Commemoration on the Centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016. The statement read: “Contrary to myths spread in public over the recent days, the status quo remains the same. This status quo was and is that no member of the Thomas Harte Cumann has any intention to cooperate with the British Occupation Forces in any way. Republican Sinn Féin is determined to resist British Rule at all times and by all means necessary. One of the main areas of this resistance to British Rule in Ireland is on the streets of Ireland. “In previous years, dozens of Irish nationalists and Republican activists were charged for attending marches in support of then-internee Martin Corey and Easter Parades organised by Republican Sinn Féin in Lurgan. These were attempts to break the Republican spirit of Lurgan and drive Irish people opposed to British Rule in Ireland off the streets of Ireland. “The Thomas Harte Cumann, supported by the nationalist community in North Armagh, successfully resisted these attempts to silence political opposition to British Rule in Ireland. Consequently, in the last two years, the Thomas Harte Cumann rebuilt successfully the Easter Parades in Lurgan. This resulted in one of the most successful parades for many years on Easter Saturday 2014. “Lead by a masked Colour Party, hundreds of supporters from all over North Armagh, other parts of Ireland, and from abroad marched together with two Flute Bands, one travelling to the Parade from as far as Scotland. Sunday papers carried this parade on their front pages. This parade sent a clear and revolutionary message across Ireland and abroad: The Republican Movement is alive and well in the Occupied Six Counties; the British Forces of Occupation will not succeed in driving Irish people off the streets of Ireland. Republican Sinn Féin in North Armagh and the Thomas Harte Cumann will resist any attempts by the British Forces of Occupation to criminalise those marching on the streets of Ireland. “The Thomas Harte Cumann is determined to build on the success of the Easter Parade in 2014. The Thomas Harte Cumann stresses that neither the Cumann nor any individual member of Republican Sinn Féin will seek permission to march at Easter in Lurgan. “Our aim for the coming two years is to build the Republican Movement in the North Armagh area and organise a large and successful Easter Parade marching through the streets of Lurgan on the Centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016. Only a successful Easter Parade, led by a strong and well-organised Republican Sinn Féin organisation will send a clear revolutionary message throughout the world: One hundred years after the Proclamation of the Irish Republic outside the GPO in Dublin, the Republican Movement is alive and well in the Six Occupied Counties.” Críoch/Ends

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Don’t let them steal our history

The recent ceremony held in Glasnevin cemetery on July 31 marking the centenary of the beginning of the First World War - attended by representatives of both the 26-County State and the British State - was but part of a wider campaign designed to normalise British rule in Ireland by sanitising our history. Within the media the cheerleaders are already in full voice. Joe Duffy, from his bully pulpit launched a scathing attack on Republican Sinn Féin and its protest held at Glasnevin. Duffy refused to engage with the issues and instead went on a rant describing the protesters as “yobs” and seemed fixated on their clothing for some bizarre reason known only to himself. When I came on the air to talk about our protest and the issues underlying it on August 5, Duffy refused to allow any meaningful discussion or debate. At one point, when I put it to him that I didn’t come on to his programme to be lectured he said he would never lecture Republican Sinn Féin as he claimed he would be “afraid ”to. While refusing to engage with the ideas and ideology of the protest he was quite content to demonise an entire political organisation. Such tactics are as old as the hills. In 1858 in West Cork a local newspaper editor wrote about the drilling and marching which Fenians in the Skibbereen area were engaging in. He called on the British colonial police to arrest the men. Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa described the action of the editor as “felon setting”. (The ‘Treason Felony Act of 1848’ which remains in force, was used against the Young Irelanders and the Fenian Movement).Irish history was unkind to the ‘felon-setters’ of 1858 and all who assumed that role ever since. Joe Duffy’s words and actions are merely a modern manifestation of this ignoble practice. Republicans should be aware that this type of felon-setting often precedes a wave of coercion. A narrative is being crafted that places the First World War on the same plane as the 1916 Rising and attempts to incorporate it into our national story. This process involves sanitising our history to the point that it is denuded of any real meaning. It is rarely I find myself in agreement with Ronan Fanning however I cannot but agree with his analysis of the process of “massaging history” that is being practiced by the political establishments: Writing in The Irish Times on August 16 Fanning states that what is happening is: “…the propagation of a bland, bloodless, bowdlerised and inaccurate hybrid of history, which if carried to extremes is more likely to provoke political outrage than to command intellectual respect, let alone consensus.” An example of this is a listing in the National Museum at Collins Barracks in Dublin of all Irishmen killed between April 24 and May 12 1916. No distinction is made between those who died in arms opposing British rule in Ireland and those killed while serving in the ranks of the British army in the various theatres of the First World War. Thus for example James Connolly is simply listed among other Irishmen killed while serving in the ranks of the British army on the same day. This is not only unhistorical but does a disservice to those trying to grapple with the complexities of this key period in our history. How are our young people expected to come to an understanding of their history if such a distorted and confused narrative is given to them by the National Museum? By simply listing those killed without any context or explanation the whole period becomes a blur of militarism with nothing to distinguish those who died opposing imperialism from those who served in its ranks. Reading this list of names there is noting to tell the visitor that James Connolly died facing a British army firing squad in defiance of empire and in defence of Irish national independence. It is impossible to imagine any other self-respecting nation allowing its history to be diluted in such a manner. Such a way leads to the theft of any meaningful national narrative from this and future generations. Can you picture for instance France listing off the names of those who died in the Vichy forces or who collaborated with the German occupation alongside those who died in the French army or with the French Resistance? Would the United States honour those who served the British forces against the Revolutionary Continental Army? All of this may be uncomfortable and does not fit into the new orthodoxy of the so-called peace process but it is our history nonetheless. We should not have to apologise for it. Those Irishmen who died during the First World War were victims of a political class who viewed them as expendable. Many were economic conscripts forced by circumstances into the ranks of the British army while others were duped into believing that by volunteering to serve in the British army they would hasten the granting of Home Rule. The leaders of constitutional nationalism such as John Redmond enticed young men to sacrifice their lives so that they could prove that their nation was worthy of Home Rule. This is a blood sacrifice we hear little about from the revisionist historians. James Connolly was very clear about what was going on, in an article entitled ‘Tell the Truth: A Challenge to Mr Birrell’ published in The Irish Worker on November 28 1914 (Augustine Birrell was British Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1907 to 1916) Connolly boldly declares: “Let the truth be known! Count every corpse that the Empire requires us to pay for its victory; add up the total the wrecked human lives of the wounded soldiers, let us know the sum of the tears that the women and children must shed in oceans that Britannia might rule the waves and browbeat the nations.” Unfortunately today we are instead being subjected to a nostalgia fest of militarism based on the myth of the “war for the freedom of small nations”. It is a revisiting of what Connolly described in 1914 as a “…carnival of English jingoism.” Connolly warned that the consequences of embracing this cult of empire would be: “…the abandonment of all the high hopes and holy aspirations that sanctified Irish history and made the sacrifices of the past the foundation of noble achievements in the future.” That is exactly what is going on today. We are being asked to abandon the high ideals that inspired that revolutionary generation of a century ago and instead embrace the mythology of empire. It is evident that in the decade of centenaries the political establishments of Leinster House, Stormont and Westminster are determined to draw a line under Irish history. By demonising and isolating Irish Republicanism and refusing it access to public debate they hope that it will simply fade from the public consciousness, robbed of historical or political legitimacy. Joe Duffy’s column in The Irish Mail on Sunday on August 10 refers to “our war dead”. The First World War was not our war, our war was fought here in Ireland for the freedom of Ireland. The First World War was an imperialist slaughter in which sadly many of our countrymen were caught up. They were victims of empire but alas they cannot be numbered among the pantheon of our patriot dead. “Oh, had they died by Pearse's side or fought with Cathal Brugha Their graves we'd keep where the Fenians sleep, 'neath the shroud of the foggy dew.” Canon Charles O’Neill

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Summer School

The inaugural Ruairí Ó Brádaigh Summer School will take place at the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon on June 6,7, and 8. The event will involve discussion and debate covering a range of topics and issues which were central to the life of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh such as the history and development of Irish Republicanism, the Irish language, the international dimension of the Irish struggle in the context of global anti-imperialism and the Éire Nua programme for a New Ireland of which Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was an architect and champion. The summer school will also include a reflection on the life of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh by people who were comrades and friends over many decades. Among the speakers are Professor Robert W. White, biographer of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Desmond Fennell, Dr Kevin Bean, Dr Marisa McGlinchey, Maura Harrington and the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton. The weekend will culminate with a commemoration at the graveside of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in St Coman’s Cemetery on Sunday June 8 at 12 Noon where the oration will be given by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton. The weekend will be a celebration of the life of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and a forum for engagement with the issues which motivated and inspired him throughout his life. Críoch/Ends

Friday, 7 March 2014

Republican Sinn Féin Treasurer arrested for speaking Irish

Statement by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton: The actions of the RUC/PSNII in arresting and charging Diarmuid Mac Dubhghlais a National Treasurer of Republican Sinn Féin for speaking Irish, serves as a reminder that the nature of British Rule in Ireland has not changed. He is charged simply with insisting on his right to converse in the Irish language, reinforcing the point that within the Six-County state it remains a crime to speak Irish. So much for the Strormont Agreement’s commitment to: “full respect for, and equality of, civil, political, social and cultural rights, of freedom from discrimination for all citizens. and of parity of esteem and of just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities.” Such actions expose this for the empty rhetoric that it is. The Six-County state is an abnormal and undemocratic entity whose relationship with the nationalist people is that of a coloniser. Consequently the very markers of a distinct Irish identity such as out language are regarded as a threat to the Six-County state. Despite promises to introduce an Irish Language Act for the Six Counties nothing has been delivered and that was always the intention of the British Government. Former British Six-County Direct Ruler Peter Hain let ‘the cat out of the bag’ regarding the British government’s real attitude to the Irish language. The newspaper Gaelscéal in 2012 reported Hain as admitting that the promise of an Irish Language Act for the Six Counties was off set by moving its ratification from Westminster to Stormont where, Hain proclaimed there would be an “inbuilt majority” against it. The attempted criminalisation of Irish speakers is only what is expected of a colonial state whose intention is the eradication of any vestiges of Irish nationality, culture or history. We call on Irish language organisations, civil liberties bodies and activists to speak out against this assault on the right of Irish people to speak their native language in their own country. This should be recognised for what it is and no amount of sophistry or spin by the Stormont regime and its apologists should be allowed to obscure the truth about what is happening here. It is simply the suppression of the most basic civil and human rights, the right to a distinct cultural and national identity. As we are reminded by Pádraig Mac Piarais. “Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam.” Críoch

Friday, 3 January 2014

The only fitting way to honour 1916 is to build a New Ireland

T New Year Statement from the Leadership of Republican Sinn Féin: Republican Sinn Féin extends fraternal New Year greetings and solidarity to our friends, supporters and comrades both at home and abroad. The coming year will be one of ongoing struggle for working-class people in Ireland and across the world. Ireland’s struggle for national independence is not an isolated one but is part of the wider fight against imperialism across the globe. It is this realisation which must inform our thinking and also gives us heart as we once more take up the banner of Irish Republicanism in 2014. The recent Haass talks were served up by the British and Stormont political establishments as a distraction from the real issues. No amount of political window -dressing can disguise the fact that the Six-County State is an abnormal and undemocratic political entity. The right to political protest is denied to those who refuse to conform to the parameters of the Stormont Agreement. For the Stormont regime and its British masters civil rights only apply to those who accept the writ of the British Crown in Ireland. The age-old methods of repression continue to be used, such as internment without trial and internment by remand. Special laws and special prisons are used to silence and contain any voices that advocate any alternative to the failed partionist system. We extend our greetings to the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry who refuse to allow themselves or their struggle to be criminalised and pledge them our continued support. We call for the unconditional release of Martin Corey who in now entering his fourth year as a political hostage, imprisoned without trial or sight of any evidence against him. We believe that ÉIRE NUA provides the best means of breaking the logjam and creating the basis for a just and lasting peace. It is a political programme that is based on true All-Ireland democracy empowering people in a real way in contrast to the undemocratic sectarian carve-up that is Stormont. In the 26 Counties the economic and social struggle must be an integral part of the drive for a New Ireland. The policies of the Leinster House regime are designed to force our young people to emigrate and to disenfranchise those who remain at home. The social infrastructure of the 26-County State has been sacrificed in order to prop up the neo-liberal economic system of the EU. As we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising the only fitting way to commemorate that historic event is to complete its task by re-establishing the All-Ireland Republic as set out in the 1916 Proclamation. In this decade of centenary our history has become part of the battle-ground as the 26-County Administration attempts to politically neutralise the coming generation by denying them access to the inspiration of their revolutionary history. Already we have calls for the GAA to commemorate World War One as part of an attempt to dilute the meaning and message of 1916 in a torrent of imperialist nostalgia. There is no equivalence between the 1916 Rising and the First World War. The 1916 Rising was part of a democratic revolution to secure national liberation for the Irish people and to establish the ownership of Ireland for the people of Ireland. Its radical and progressive programme set out in the Proclamation of Easter Week still resonates with people in the Ireland of the 21st Century. World War One on the other hand was a war of imperialist conquest, fought out between the imperial powers of Europe, turning the continent of Europe into a charnel-house for the working-class. Its aims were neither democratic nor progressive but merely about consolidating the grip of the big imperial powers. James Connolly was very clear about the nature of that war: “Would it not be better for all capable of bearing arms to resolve to fight, and if need be to die, for Freedom here at home rather than be slaughtered for the benefit of kings and capitalists abroad?” This year we will commemorate the centenary of the founding of Cumann na mBan and the landing of arms in Howth and Kilcoole as part of the build-up to 2016. We are engaged in a fight not only against political and economic imperialism but also a cultural imperialism which seeks to rob us of the very markers of a separate identity such as our language and history. In the forthcoming 26-County Local Elections our candidates will be standing on a revolutionary and truly democratic programme. Due to the undemocratic political test oath Sinn Féin have been precluded from contesting local elections in the Six Counties. This effectively disenfranchises those who wish to support candidates standing on a truly Irish Republican manifesto. We in Republican Sinn Féin stand unequivocally for the re-establishment of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week. We reject any dilution of Ireland’s right to national independence. In our political, social and economic policies ÉIRE NUA and SAOL NUA we have a programme that realises the dreams of the revolutionary generation of a century ago and importantly meets the needs of the Ireland of the 21st Century. ENDS