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!