Cill Dara Shinn Féin Poblachtach

Tony Benn: A true friend of Ireland

Statement by Des Dalton President of Republican Sinn Féin
It is with great sadness that Sinn Féin notes the passing of Tony Benn. He was truly a man of the highest integrity and principle who was fearless in speaking truth to power and privilege. His famous five questions to be put to those in power are a template for real democratic engagement by people with the political process and a challenge to unaccountable power elites everywhere:
“1. What power do you have? 2. Where did you get it? 3. In whose interests do you exercise it? 4. To whom are you accountable? 5. And, how can we get rid of you? Anyone who cannot answer the last of those questions does not live in a democratic system.”  When the leadership of the British Labour Party betrayed the miners of Scotland, Wales and England during the Miner’s Strike of 1984/85 Tony Benn was resolute in his support for them.
He was an internationalist in the truest sense of that word and was consistent in his opposition to imperialism and colonialism. Unlike many who can safely espouse causes that are far removed from them by distance etc Tony Benn was consistent in opposing imperialism and exploitation wherever it was to be found. In this regard he was a true friend of Ireland and spoke out against the British occupation of Ireland, recognising that it was only the Irish people themselves who could resolve any conflict in Ireland.
He recognised the British presence in Ireland as a fundamental cause of the ongoing war in Ireland. Oppressed peoples everywhere have lost a true champion of their cause. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis!

Republican Sinn Féin Treasure 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.”

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh/Maolmhuire Ó Raghallaigh Cumann established in Co Wicklow

A new Republican Sinn Féin Cumann has been established in County Wicklow. It is a historic moment as the Republican movement hasn't had an active Cumann in the Garden county since the pre-1986 era. The Cumann has been named in honour of local man Maolmhuire Ó Raghallaigh and the recently deceased Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. Both men gave a lifetime of service to the Republican cause and stayed true to their principles to the end. Ó Raghallaigh saw active service during the Counter-revolution of 1922-23 as a member of Neil 'Plunkett' O'Boyle's Flying Column, and remained a dedicated Republican throughout all the defections over the years until passing away in 1992. Ó Brádaigh joined the movement in 1950 and went on to become a legendary figure, serving as IRA Chief Of Staff during Operation Harvest and also serving two lengthy terms as president of Sinn Féin.
The Ruairí Ó Brádaigh/Maolmhuire Ó Raghallaigh Cumann pledge to offer the people of County Wicklow a Republican alternative to the failed policies of the Leinster House parties through the Éire Nua programme. Republican Sinn Féin stand for a complete British withdrawal from Ireland and the deliverance of social justice through the full implementation of the 1916 Proclamation. As well as promoting the policies of the Republican movement, we endeavour to highlight local issues affecting local people and the ongoing use of selective internment in the occupied six counties.
The Cumann has members from all over County Wicklow and is looking for fresh recruits. For further information you can contact the Republican Sinn Féin head office at 018729747 or visit either of these websites:

Wicklow County Council Condemned

Republican Sinn Fein in Wicklow wishes to highlight an issue which has been brought to our attention in recent weeks. Residents and visitors of Wicklow town have approached us at their wits end with the unsatisfactory situation at hand.
The quays and piers in the town are very popular among tourists and locals alike. Walkers, sailors, fishing enthusiasts and people who just come to take in the areas natural beauty are among the many people who frequent the area daily. However this popular area is being tarnished and polluted at the hands of inept local authorities.
The port for a considerable time now has been exporting "refuse derived fuel" to Germany. At one stage 1,800 tonnes of this waste were being stored in the port. Foul smells from the quay have been reported by many people in the area. Local councillors last January claimed "these smells have been eliminated". However this is a total fallacy. People frequenting the area are often been forced to leave with the foul smell.
Wicklow County Council have "passed the buck" so to speak, to the EPA in regard to the policing of the waste that is stored in the port. They have been tasked with "minimising the odour in the port". Clearly they are not fulfilling their brief in this regard and they are causing serious damage not just environmentally but also economically to the area. Tourists and visitors are not staying around and in turn they are not spending their money in the town.
Ironically, just a few miles outside the town a landfill which accepts 150,000 tonnes of waste each year, is in operation for the last number of years.  Also causing serious odour problems.  We of Republican Sinn Fein in Wicklow ask the question "is it fitting to call Wicklow the garden of Ireland anymore?". A county which boasts amazing natural beauty is been let down badly by those who claim they are there to protect it.

RSF calls for independent and public inquiry into banking system

Statement by Des Dalton, President of Republican Sinn Féin 

Republican Sinn Féin called for a fully independent, comprehensive and public inquiry into the banking system on June 27. Such an inquiry should also look at the role played by the then 26-County administration as well, along with their neo-liberal economic cheerleaders on the opposition benches of the Leinster House Assembly.
The contempt displayed by senior executives of the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank – as revealed in the so-called “Anglo tapes” - merely serves to illustrate the contempt in which the political and financial elite hold the mass of the Irish people. The subsequent decision of the 26-County State to bail out the banking system heralded the beginning of a vicious war of economic attrition waged against ordinary people throughout the 26 Counties. The very fact that the Leinster House political class think even now they should have a role in investigating what occurred within the banking system underlines their disconnect from the public mood.
The same political elite who are proposing to hold an in-house inquiry into the banking, championed the very concept of so-called “light-touch” regulation. This was of course just code for the free-for-all that was not only tolerated but encouraged by the political establishment that took place within the financial sector. When this pyramid scheme economic system collapsed it was the Irish people who were expected to foot the bill.
All of this reinforces our argument for a banking system which first and foremost serves a social function, serving as an economic driver for the essentials of a just and civilised society capable of providing truly national health programme accessible to all at the point of need, equal access to education at all levels and a system of real social protection for our old, young and those on the margins of society. As we point out in our social and economic programme Saol Nua (A New Way of Life), social control of capital is essential to ensure capital serves people rather than people being the slaves of capital.
By doing so you ensure balanced development and equitable distribution of wealth. Money must be regarded, not as a commodity, but as an accounting system in which all participate.

Annual pilgrimage to grave of Wolfe Tone

On June 16 Republican Sinn Féin held the annual Theobald Wolfe Tone commemoration in Bodenstown.
The parade, led by a colour party, Cumann na mBan and Na Fianna assembled in Sallins and marched to the grave of Wolfe Tone at Bodenstown. The Chief Marshall was Seosamh Ó Maoileoin, Iar Mhí.
The colourful parade, with many banners and the new Republican Sinn Féin flags, marched in glorious sunshine along with the Pride of Éireann flute band from Portadown, Co Armagh and Seán Doyle, the piper from North Antrim.
At the memorial to Wolfe Tone proceedings were chaired by An Chomhairleoir Tomás Ó Curraoin, Gaillimh who spoke in Irish and English. He called on Veteran Republican Cecilia Conway, Kildare to lay the wreath on behalf of the Republican Movement.
The Chief Marshall then called the parade to Attention for the Dipping of the Flags, accompanied by a lament from the piper.
Tomás Ó Curraoin asked the National Graves Association representative, Peig Galligan, to say a few words and she spoke movingly of Liam Lynch and his comrades, done to death by Free State forces 90 years ago.
Tomás then introduced the President of Republican Sinn Féin, Des Dalton, Kildare to give the main oration.
Following the oration Tomás Ó Curraoin had harsh words to say regarding the (as usual) over-the-top policing of the parade and said that Republicans would not be intimidated or diverted from the task before them – the achievement of a 32-County Ireland.
While the parade was in Bodenstown, members of the 26-County police seized the proceeds of the Republican Sinn Féin bookstall in Sallins. The money was later returned to members of the Officer Board.

Oration at the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone

Bodenstown Cemetery, Sunday, June 16 by President, Republican Sinn Féin, Des Dalton.

“We have come to the holiest place in Ireland; holier to us even than the place where Patrick sleeps in Down. Patrick brought us life, but this man died for us. And though many before him and some since have died in testimony of the truth of Ireland’s claim to nationhood, Wolfe Tone was the greatest of all that have made that testimony, the greatest of all that have died for Ireland whether in old time or in new. He was the greatest of Irish Nationalists; I believe he was the greatest of Irishmen. And if I am right in this I am right in saying that we stand in the holiest place in Ireland, for it must be that holiest sod of a nation’s soil is the sod where the greatest of her dead lies buried.” Thus spoke Pearse in 1913, one hundred years later those words still hold true. As Irish Republicans we come here each year to reaffirm our commitment to the ideals passed down to us by Tone and the Society of United Irishmen.

Standing here on this sacred soil we come into communion with the spirit of Tone and renew our Republican vow first taken by Tone and his comrades on Belfast’s Cavehill in 1795: “Never to desist in our efforts until we have subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted her independence.” This was the programme of Tone and it remains the programme of the Republican Movement today. We are proud of our continuity of ideology and organisation with the United Irishmen, just as veterans of the United Irishmen endorsed and supported the Young Irelanders in the 1840s, today’s movement represents a meeting of the generations in common struggle.
The historian C. Desmond Greaves described the reorganisation of the United Irishmen in 1795, transforming itself into a fully revolutionary movement as a: “…turning point in Irish history. For the first time the Irish nation was exclusively identified with Irish democracy”.
Today the Republican Movement continues to champion and lead the fight for true All-Ireland democracy in defiance of the forces of reaction led by Westminster, Stormont and Leinster House. The political and economic conditions experienced by the Irish people today are a gross betrayal of the high ideals and vision for a new Ireland articulated by Republicanism from Tone and Emmet right up to today.

Last week we laid to rest our Patron and former President Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. Throughout his life he was a gifted and tireless worker for such an Ireland, an Ireland worthy of the sacrifice given to achieve it and one that lived up the high idealism of the historic Republican Movement. The actions of the 26-County police evoked memories of the funeral of Frank Stagg and if anything were a testament to power of a revolutionary idea over the seeming might of a corrupt and failed state. In life they feared Ó Brádaigh and the cause which he served and articulated with great skill, conviction and courage and in death they showed that the power of the ideals and ideas he espoused lived on with the same potency as before. 
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was one who lived fully according to the template of Republicanism set out by the United Irishmen. For him sectarianism was a weapon in the arsenal of the British State and one that must be countered as forcefully as any political or military threat posed by that same state. Along with his friend and comrade Dáithí Ó Conaill and other Republicans, he devised ÉIRE NUA as a means of making a reality of Tone’s dream of substituting the common name of Irish man and Irish woman for the denominations of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter. The central thrust of ÉIRE NUA is the maximum devolution of power from national to provincial, regional, right down to local or community level. The Provincial Parliaments will be elected by the people of each province according to a system of proportional representation.

Unionists and Nationalists within a nine-county Ulster would have a real and meaningful input and control over the political, social, economic and cultural life of their province, regions and communities. Unlike the institutions set up under the Stormont and St Andrew’s Agreements, the governmental structures set out in ÉIRE NUA, would be accountable only to the people who elected them. Under ÉIRE NUA the sovereignty of the Irish people is paramount.
As an alternative ÉIRE NUA offers a framework within which all sections of the Irish people are the decision-makers on the vital issues for their communities, their regions and their nation.

The people of Ulster within a free and Federal Ireland will make decisions affecting the people of a nine-county Ulster – they will not be dependent on the whim of a foreign parliament or government.

Speaking in University College Cork in January 2008, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said: “We do not want to back the Unionists on to a cliff-edge politically where they will oppose us all the more. Neither do we seek to have them as a permanent and disgruntled political minority in one corner of Ireland.

“During the 1970s, soundings were taken with every shade of unionism to obtain reactions. The result in all cases was similar; first choice was an independent Six Counties. We did not think that would be viable. All said, in that case they would opt for our ‘four provinces idea’ as the ‘most generous on offer’.

“Apart from providing a solution to the Ulster situation, these proposals would bring power nearer to the people and help to correct east-west economic imbalance nationally. Republicans submit that such structures will be necessary to ensure justice for all, including the 18% of the national population who have supported the unionist position.”

Tone had realised from the beginning that an effective union of the all the people of Ireland would be necessary to affect a revolution. As James Connolly pointed out in Labour in Irish History what was required to bring about such a union of hearts and minds was: “The activity of a revolutionist with statesmanship enough to find a common point upon which the two elements could unite, and some great event, dramatic enough in its character, to arrest the attention of all and fire them with a common feeling.” The figure with the qualities set out by Connolly was Tone and the event capable of firing the people with a revolutionary fervour was the French Revolution.

 ÉIRE NUA also proposes a new All –Ireland constitution which would be put to the people of Ireland for adoption and which would include a Charter of Rights. A draft Charter of Rights contained within ÉIRE NUA enshrines such fundamental rights as freedom of conscience, religion, ethical or political beliefs; freedom of expression and communication, the right to education, to join a trade union, the right to access adequate housing, food and medical care. It is also proposed that the European Convention on Human Rights be made part of the internal domestic law of the New Ireland. In fighting back against the new imperialism of the finance capitalists of the EU superstate we carry an alternative social and economic programme SAOL NUA. Our social and economic programme SAOL NUA – A New Way of Life - represents a vision of Ireland based on Republican, Socialist, and Self-reliance and Ecological principles; it identifies the obstacles to be overcome and the goals to be reached if we are to build an All-Ireland Federal Democratic Socialist Republic

SAOL NUA is based on the principle that “…every person is entitled to have his or her inherent human dignity respected and every citizen should be able to enjoy freedom from poverty or insecurity and to have access to a fair and adequate share of the nation's wealth. All citizens should be equal before the law and all have the duty and the right to contribute by work to their own welfare and the welfare of society.”

It identifies the essential elements of Democratic Socialism which are required in building the New Ireland; banking and all key industries must be brought under democratic or social control and the further development of community banking such as Credit Unions.
Social control of capital is essential to ensure capital serves people rather than people being the slaves of capital. By doing so you ensure balanced development and equitable distribution of wealth. Money must be regarded, not as a commodity, but as an accounting system in which all participate.

We must have new indicators of what constitutes economic success to replace the discredited indices of GNP and GDP. They merely record economic activity in terms of transaction and movement of money, commodities etc. They take no account of the voluntary sector, those who work in the home etc -- all of who make a valuable contribution to the local and domestic economy. Quality of Life is a far more valid index of human development and progress, the recording of adult and infant mortality, literacy, access to health services, nutrition etc.

The UN Human Development Report mission statement is clear on what distinguishes meaningful human development: “The goal is human freedom. And in pursuing capabilities and realising rights, this freedom is vital. People must be free to exercise their choices and to participate in decision-making that affects their lives.”

ÉIRE NUA and SAOL NUA give us a blueprint for the future built on the sure foundation of true All-Ireland political and economic democracy.  A New Ireland fashioned from the ideals of the 1916 Proclamation and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil. As Liam Mellows reminded us we are back to Tone: “Our freedom must be had at all hazards. If the men of property will not help us they must fall; we will free ourselves by the aid of that large and respectable class of the community – the men of no property.”

We have set out here what distguinishes Irish Republicanism from those who collaborate in the interests of British or EU imperialism against the Irish people. Because of this Irish Republicanism has throughout its history faced the full brunt of British and later Free State repression. But all of their gallows, firing squads, jails and internment camps could not and never will quench the flame of true revolutionary Irish Republicanism. However the forces of the State have introduced a new a more insidious threat to Republicanism, one if unchallenged threatens to drive a wedge between Republicanism and the people of Ireland. Even those who would declare themselves as opponents of the revolutionary Republican tradition have admitted to a grudging respect for the idealism and integrity that underpins it.

Writing in the Irish Times on September 14 John Waters, whilst dismissing the organisations to which Bobby Sands and Patsy O’Hara belonged to in withering terms he still acknowledged: “there was something noble and redemptive”. Over the past number of years we have seen a plethora of groups emerge, a number of which have taken on the name of the historic Irish Republican Army. The emergence of groupings styling themselves as ‘Republican’ who in reality are merely using that noble title to mask their real purpose of extortion and racketeering. In some cases such groupings masquerade as anti-drugs activists, posing as ‘champions of the community’. These pseudo-Republican groups seek to control their communities through fear. Posing as revolutionaries but merely hiding the grim reality that the only war they wage is not one of national liberation but instead a war on the youth of their own communities. The forcing of a parent to present their son for a punishment shooting as happened in Derry is medieval and far removed from any ideal of progressive Republicanism.

The drugs’ gangs who peddle their wares in communities throughout Ireland and across all classes are enemies of the Irish people. The community and political activists who oppose them deserve our full and active support. However the pseudo-Republican groupings that take money from the drug dealers are no less parasitical than the drug dealers themselves. In many ways they are worse in that they leech from the communities they purport to defend – in effect they are drug dealers by proxy with the added insult of sullying the noble name of Republicanism in doing so.
The activities of these pseudo-Republican gangs have the potential to eat away like a cancer at the very heart of Irish Republicanism, leaving in their wake an empty husk with neither relevance nor credibility. Such groups have descended into a bloody feud with criminal gangs in a wasteful and futile exercise, which has already resulted in much needless death. Sadly the feuds and deaths which they have led to do not contribute in any way to the historic fight for Irish freedom. The duty to halt this slide lies with those who claim the title deeds of Republicanism.  We have a bounden duty to hold out against this hijacking of the Republican ideal; we must lead by example in ensuring that authentic Irish Republicanism continues to live in the hearts of the Irish people. It is not enough to claim those title deeds without acting on them. To do so we in Republican Sinn Féin must ensure that a clear distinction can be made between what represents true Republicanism and those who instead provide a perverse and twisted parody of it.

We must look first to ourselves if we are serious about building a credible and effective opposition to the political and economic enslavement of the Irish people. There are those who believe that there is a short cut to this by creating a false unity, a so-called unity based on ignoring fundamental principle. To do so is to build on sand and any movement built on such a foundation contains within it the seeds of its own fragmentation and division. We must instead concentrate our energies and focus our attention on building the Republican Movement into what Dáithí Ó Conaill described as its historic role: “It was the catalyst for the for the progressive forces of this country and abroad who desired the establishment of a sovereign democratic socialist Republic.” We must have confidence in ourselves and our own Movement and not relying on other groups or organisations who may on the surface provide a certain glamour and gloss but who lack the necessary ideological depth and commitment to the task of achieving our ultimate goal, the complete ending of British occupation and the re-establishment of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week. It is our duty to take up the torch of freedom and carry it forward; each person has a key role to play and must be willing to play it if we are serious about completing our noble task.

The political analysis provided by Republican Sinn Féin of the political trajectory of the current process of embedding British rule in Ireland has proven to be accurate. The very fact that the British Government and their surrogates in Stormont still rely the draconian laws, secret evidence and internment to protect their undemocratic statelet points to the abnormality of British rule and partition. The continued interment without trial of Martin Corey – justified by the British State on the basis of secret evidence – the continued attempt to criminalise Republican POWs – the repressive deployment of an armed colonial police force all illustrate for those who wish to see that the nature and reality of British occupation has not changed.
Our analysis is sound because it is based on the lessons of Irish history. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are not to be found within the portals of Leinster House, Stormont or Westminster; they are to be found only by a revolutionary awakening of the Irish people to their own strengths and possibilities as a people and nation. Wolfe Tone was clear about this in his own day, he too rejected the puppet parliament of College Green, he recognised it as merely an agent of the English Government, an institution anchored in greed and corruption.
In words which are applicable to both partitionist states today he wrote of the Dublin Parliament in scathing terms: “The revolution of 1782 was a Revolution which enabled Irishmen to sell at a much higher price their honour, their integrity and the interests of their country; it was a revolution which, while at one stroke it doubled the value of every borough-monger in the kingdom, left three-fourths of our countrymen slaves as it found them, and the government of Ireland in the base and wicked and contemptible hands of those who had spent their lives in degrading and plundering her . . . The power remained in the hands of our enemies, again to be exerted for our ruin, with this difference, that formerly we had our distress, our injuries, and our insults gratis at the hands of England, but now we pay very dearly to receive the same with aggravation, through the hands of Irishmen.”

The French Revolution armed the Society of United Irishmen with the ideological tools to formulate a democratic programme for a free and independent Irish Republic. Drawing on that rich tradition Irish Republicanism has remained truly international in character. Irish Republicans are not bound by the narrow vision of reaction and reformism but by the wide and embracing ideals of progress and the revolutionary possibility of all peoples. Our cause is the cause of humanity and in the words of the Proclamation of 1916: “…we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine.”

As we turn from this honoured place we should consider again the words of Theobald Wolfe Tone: “To break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils, and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of past dissensions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter, these were my means.”  As Pearse puts it, here we have “implicit all the philosophy of Irish Nationalism”, the very definition of Ireland a nation. I leave you with the words of Pearse spoken here one hundred years ago:
“To that definition and to that programme we declare our adhesion anew; pledging ourselves as Tone pledged himself – and in this sacred place, by this graveside, let us not pledge ourselves to follow in the steps of Tone, never to rest, either by day or by night, until his work be accomplished, deeming it the proudest of all privileges to fight for freedom, to fight, not in despondency, but in great joy, hoping for the victory in our day, but fighting on whether victory seem near or far, never lowering our ideal, never bartering one jot or tittle of our birthright, holding faith to the memory and the inspiration of Tone, and accounting ourselves base as long as we endure the evil thing against which he testified with his blood.”

An Phoblacht Abú.

Funeral of Vol. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

"We of Republican Sinn Féin are the nucleus, which represents what Emmet represented,
the soul of Ireland,the prophetic shock minority, those who are neither purchased nor intimidated."

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