Cill Dara Shinn Féin Poblachtach

Irish Republicans will not be purchased or intimidated

Speaking at the Hunger Strike commemoration in Bundoran Co Donegal on Saturday August 28th the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton said:

“I have no prouder boast than to say I am Irish and have been privileged to fight for the Irish people and for Ireland. If I have a duty I will perform it to the full in the unshakable belief that we are a noble race and that chains and bonds have no part in us.” With these words addressed to the people of South Derry and surrounding areas Francis Hughes joined his comrade Bobby Sands on a Hunger Strike, which would end with his death after 59 days on May 12 1981.

There is much debate as to what is the legacy of the 1981 hunger strikers. We will not speculate as to what their position would be today – we leave that to others. We can only judge them on their words and actions during their lives. Let us not be accused of putting words in their mouths but rather let the men speak for themselves: In a statement on the commencement of the second hunger strike the POWs declared “We the republican POWs in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh, and our comrades in Armagh Prison, are entitled to and hereby demand political status, and we reject today as we have consistently rejected every day since September 14th, 1976, when the blanket protest began, the British government’s attempted criminalisation of ourselves and our struggle.”
The words of their leader Bobby Sands written in his diary as he embarked on his 65 day hunger for justice on March 1 1981: “I believe I am but another of those wretched Irishmen born of a risen generation with a deeply rooted and unquenchable desire for freedom. I am dying not just to attempt to end the barbarity of H-Block, or to gain the rightful recognition of a political prisoner, but primarily because what is lost in here is lost for the Republic and those wretched oppressed whom I am deeply proud to know as the ‘risen people”.

The heroism and prolonged sacrifice of the hunger strikers galvanised people in Ireland and throughout the world in support of the men and their cause. Bobby Sands like Kevin Barry for an earlier generation came to personify the struggle for Irish freedom.

The self-sacrifice, integrity and force of will displayed by these men are awe-inspiring and commands the respect of all who champion the cause of human freedom. With their bodies the only weapon available to them the men in Long Kesh and the women in Armagh jail pitted themselves against the forces of British imperialism and gave witness to the world that the Irish Nation was unconquered and unconquerable.

Today in Maghaberry prison the Republican prisoners have similarly resisted all attempts by the British Government and their puppet regime in Stormont to criminalise either them or the cause for which they suffer the loss of their liberty – Ireland’s right to national independence.

These men by their courage and determination in the face of the brutality of the British state have given the lie to those who claim that a line has been drawn under Irish history. That British rule and partition are now accepted and acceptable. The men in Maghaberry give testament to the lesson of Irish history. While England occupies Ireland there will always be a section of the Irish people to resist that occupation.

We salute the men in Maghaberry for their struggle and call now for the full implementation of the agreement secured by the Republican prisoners.

Westminster, Stormont and Leinster House are locked in an unholy alliance in order to reinforce British rule and the partition of Ireland. Over the past years they have attempted to sell the big lie to the Irish people and the world that British rule is normal. Next year they intend this process to culminate with a visit to the 26 Counties by the Queen of England. The symbolism of this visit is clear. Its intended message is that Ireland has been finally been either purchased or intimated into accepting the writ of the British Crown in Ireland.

Republican Sinn Féin will oppose this visit. We call on Republicans the length and breadth of Ireland to come out and show to the world that there remains a section of the Irish people who will never be purchased nor intimidated into accepting British rule in any part of Ireland.

Recently British Crown Minister Martin McGuinness claimed he had knowledge of secret talks between the British Government, the 26-County Administration and what were described in the media as “Dissident Republicans”. I can say now that Republican Sinn Féin has not engaged in any such talks. The only basis on which the leaders of Republican Ireland will engage in talks with the British Government will be to secure a full British withdrawal from Ireland. We cannot be any clearer. Mr McGuiness we suggest is playing his part in the machinery of British ‘black propaganda’.

A full British withdrawal from Ireland is the essential first step if a just and lasting settlement of the war between the British Government and the Irish people is to be achieved. Irish Republicans call on all sections of the Irish people to join us in building the New Ireland we set out in our proposals EIRE NUA.

We don’t want to create a 32-County Free State. We want to build the 32-County Democratic Socialist Republic and we call on those who would describe themselves as Unionists to take their rightful place in the historic Irish nation and join us in this task. We believe that EIRE NUA provides the framework within which this can be done.

I leave you the last lines of Bobby Sands’ diary One Day in My Life which sums up the message of heroic sacrifice but also of hope which Sands and his comrades have bequeathed to us: “They have nothing in their entire imperial arsenal to break the spirit of one single Republican Political Prisoner-of-War who refuses to be broken, I thought, and that was very true. They can not or never will break our spirit. I rolled over again freezing and the snow came in the window on top of my blankets. ‘Tiochfaidh ár lá’, I said to myself. ‘Tiochfaidh ár lá’.”

An Phoblacht Abú

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A new generation resists British rule

The events of recent days and weeks throughout the Six Counties bear testament to the enduring lesson of Ireland’s history. As long British political or military occupation remains in any part of Ireland it will be resisted.

A new risen generation have shown their willingness in areas such as Ardoyne to go out and take on the forces of British occupation and we salute them.

The response of the political elites of Stormont, Leinster House and Westminster is as unchanging as the resistance itself. Not for the first time another young idealistic and politically aware generation of Irish people are dismissed as a ‘mob’. To do so is to ignore the reality that British occupation will always be met with active resistance and the cycle of Irish history will continue.

Coupled with the acts of resistance on the streets, the ongoing struggle of the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison declares to the world that a section of the Irish people have not been intimidated, purchased or pacified.

The British policy of holding Ireland has taken many forms over the centuries ranging from blatant coercion to more subtle intrigue and pacification.

The utterances of the Provisionals contain an example of both. Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1 on the This Week programme on August 8, Martin McGuinness with forked tongue repeated an earlier call by Gerry Adams for Republicans to speak to the Provisionals.

In the same interview McGuinness said that the British government have a responsibility to “get to grips” with those who are resisting British rule in the Six Counties. His interview provides an example of the age-old policy of pacification coupled with increased coercion.

The leadership of Republican Sinn Féin have quite rightly rejected any notion of ‘talks’ with the Provisionals. The Provisionals are now part of the machinery of British rule and any ‘talks’ proposed by them would only have the purpose of undermining the historic struggle for Irish freedom.

Republican Sinn Féin and its leadership will continue its work of advancing and advocating among the Irish people the clear Republican alternative to British rule and partition. ÉIRE NUA is a practical working out of the aim of Theobald Wolfe Tone to unite Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter.

ÉIRE NUA provides the key for breaking out of the shackles of sectarianism and imperialism which have crippled our nation.

Editorial, SAOIRSE - the Voice of the Republican Movement, August 2010

Des Dalton, President of Sinn Féin Poblachtach, on the Nolan Show

The Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness says he knows that the British and Irish governments have been talking with so-called 'dissident' Republicans. A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Office said you cannot have meaningful talks with people who are not committed to peaceful means of pursuing their goals. In Dublin, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said "it has never been our practice to speak to these people". So what exactly is going on?

Des Dalton, President of Sinn Féin Poblachtach, speaking on the Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster on Friday, August 13, 2010: (direct link to show)

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Statement from POW Department of Republican Sinn Féin

The POW Department of Republican Sinn Féin welcomed the announcement on August 12, 2010 that the protest at Maghaberry jail by the Republican POWs in Roe House was finally over. The conditions that brought about the protest got worse as the protest escalated and the men endured a dreadful few months since they occupied the canteen on Easter Sunday last. This was the result of many years of campaigning for the restoration of political status signed away in 1998.

The POWs showed courage and resilience in their stand against the criminalisation policy of the British government and the petty vindictiveness of the screws. They endured more than any prisoner should be expected or asked to endure and they emerged victorious!

The politicians in Stormont were as unhelpful as the British government they work for. Having signed away political status they went on to implement British policy with vigour at the expense of the Republican prisoners. But the prisoners, like James Connolly, believed that Britain never had any right nor will ever have any right in Ireland and so like many before them had to do, they fought a hard fight to be recognised as political status.

Republican Sinn Féin would like to thank all those people who worked so hard on the outside to bring about this resolution. We thank the families, relatives, friends, comrades and ex-POWS, and supporters who ‘pounded the pavements’ over the years as they campaigned for the political status the men were entitled to. They never lost faith and their hard work is now rewarded. To the families who endured many years of harassment and humiliation a special word of praise. Week after week, in hail, rain, snow and sunshine they visited Maghaberry jail and put up with whatever was thrown at them: hostility, the drugs dog, refusal of visits etc.

And we thank the facilitators who over the last few weeks put in such an effort which was eventually so successful. They gave of their time willingly and we appreciate the amount of effort they put in.

And finally we thank the prisoners themselves for having faith in us to work with and for them. You have shown the world what you are capable of. You took on the British establishment, you never gave in, you saw it through to the end.

Echoing the sentiments expressed by our President Des Dalton WE SALUTE THE PRISONERS!

For confirmation:
Josephine Hayden

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Republican Sinn Féin salutes Republican POWs

Statement by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton

Republican Sinn Féin salutes the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison on securing their right to political status. This victory for the Republican prisoners was secured as a result of a courageous and single-minded struggle, a protest which they maintained since Easter Sunday April 4.

By their actions the Republican prisoners delivered a message, which reverberated, throughout the world that British rule in Ireland will never be normal or acceptable.

We would also like to commend the mediators who facilitated this settlement for the diligence, integrity and commitment shown by them over the past number of weeks.

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Hunger Strikers remembered in Dublin

The annual hunger strike commemoration was held in Dublin on July 10. The parade was led from the Garden of Remembrance by a lone piper in front of a colour party comprising Sinn Fein Poblachtach, Cumann na mBan and Na Fianna Éireann to the GPO where the commemoration was chaired by Andy Connolly, Regional Development Officer for Leinster.

A minutes silence was observed for all those who gave their lives for Irish freedom but especially the 22 hungers strikers since 1917. Padraig Ennis, Dublin read a statement from Ashleen McKenna, Lurgan who was unable to attend the commemoration. Ashleen’s two brothers are incarcerated in Maghaberry jail, Co Antrim:

“Over the past number of years Republican prisoners have been subjected to physical and mental abuse at the hands of the prison warders {screws}in Roe House, Maghaberry jail in Co Antrim which houses Republican prisoners [POWs].

“The POWs have engaged in a number of protests to highlight the conditions in Maghaberry jail. The conditions in the jail have led to a political protest, the abuses that the screws inflict on our men are political abuses and the only way to resolve this, is to take it head on in a political context. The tactics of the screws are to humiliate and criminalise the men but these efforts will fail as said by our comrade Bobby Sands 'never will they label our liberation struggle as criminal'. Bobby Sands a POW stayed true to this statement and so will the POW’S in Maghaberry; they are not asking for much just basic human rights as the conditions in Maghaberry are inhumane.

“The screws treat the POWs with a hostile nature and on a daily basis the POWs are strip searched. This is just a tactic used by the screws to humiliate our men. Over the past year the screws have been actively violent towards the prisoners, which has resulted in several POWs being assaulted. The prisoners are subjected to 23 hour lock downs with only two meals a day which are served in disposable containers and slid along the floor to the prisoners.

“The POWs are denied proper medical facilities; some prisoners have serious health problems and are not getting the medical treatment they need. The POWs domestic visits are stopped when they refuse to strip for the screws. The screws are also using their drug dogs to stop the POWs families from visiting.

“This protest began on Easter Sunday of this year when the Republican prisoners took control of part of the jail which lasted 48 hours. Since this time the prisoners only get a hour of the day to exercise, phone home, wash their clothes and receive a legal visit. Initially when the protest began the POWs as part of the protest didn't shave or cut their hair. Because of the lack of response from the Prison Authorities on improving the conditions, the POWs had no option but to escalate their protest. Because they have toilet facilities in their cells they commenced a dirty protest to dispose of their waste.

“This is an absolute disgrace to expect our POWs to live in such conditions. We need as much help as we can get from the people on the outside to try to resolve the impasses as soon as possible. The conditions are seriously affecting the health of the Republican prisoners, their weight loss is very worrying due to the lack of proper food and nourishment.

“We should remember what our comrade Bobby Sands said 'Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something.

“We the families, along with Republican Sinn Féin will continue the protests on the outside which will include pickets, marches and leaflet drops until the POWs receive their 5 demands which are:

1. Right to free association
2. End controlled movement
3. Right to full time education
4. End to strip searching
5. Adequate medical facilities

Political Status Now! Victory to POWS!”

The main speaker of the day was Shane O’Toole from Kildare. He delivered a very strong oration to loud applause.

“It’s an honour for me to address you all here today, the Republican people of Ireland. Twenty - nine years ago ten Irish soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of all the people of Ireland. One by one ten young Irish volunteers embarked an agonizing hunger strike to insure basic human rights and dignity of the right to political status for Republican Prisoners of War. These young Irish soldiers were imprisoned by an illegal force of occupation. They refused to allow Britain to criminalise Ireland's historic eight hundred year fight for freedom.

“After five long years on the blanket and dirty protest no real gains had been made towards restoring political status and decision was made by the prisoners to go on hunger strike. On May 5th 1981 Bobby Sands died after sixty-six days on hunger strike. One hundred thousand people attended his funeral. Marches and demonstrations were held over the world in support of the Republican prisoners. The true face of British rule in Ireland had been exposed to the world but still the British government refused the right to political status. It took the deaths of nine more volunteers for political status to be restored.

“Twenty-nine years on and the face of British rule in Ireland has not changed, only difference being they are now backed by there Provo puppets, who signed away the right to political status in yet another Treaty of Surrender. They surrendered the weapons given to them for the freedom of Ireland. They have sullied the memory of the ten brave men and all those who gave their lives for Irish freedom.

“These former Republicans try to give the lie that there are no longer any political prisoners in Ireland. The fact is that as long as there is any British presence in Ireland there will always be those brave Irish men and women who will resist the occupation of our country, and therefore as long as Britain occupies any part of Ireland there will always be political prisoners in Ireland. Today the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry face the same fight for political status inside a British prison in Ireland. The conditions inside Maghaberry have been deteriorating over the past few months and just like in 1981 the prisons are being used to try and break the spirit of Republican prisoners. They did not succeed then nor will they succeed today.

“The spirit of the ten brave men lives on in the Republican prisoners today. After exhausting every other avenue the Republican prisoners have been forced into embarking on a dirty protest to try and bring to an end the inhuman conditions which they are being forced to live in. 1981 saw the deaths of ten Irish soldiers before political status was restored. We must ensure that these events never have to happen again to win back the Republican prisoners right to political status.

“We, the true Republican people of Ireland pledge our full support to the prisoners and their families and will continue to fight for political status. We uphold the right of the Irish people to take up arms against an illegal force of occupation, and we salute the men and women who will give the cutting edge in the fight to finally end the illegal occupation of Ireland. Until every last British soldier has been driven from Irish soil and the Butchers Apron flies no more, the war against the Brits can and must continue until freedom has been achieved, and the responsibility for any loss of life will lie firmly at the doorstep of the British government.

“There are those who have tried to undermine the Republican Movement in recent times. These so called Republicans have disgraced themselves and have no place within Republicanism. After being overwhelmingly rejected at last years Ard Fheis, egos of certain people have been damaged and when positions of power they so desperately wanted had not gone their way. They resorted to doing the Brits dirty work, taking cheap shots and releasing statements with unfounded rubbish. The Republican movement has enjoyed over 100 years of unbroken continuity and we will not allow the actions of these people to derail that.

“The attempts to normalise British rule in Ireland is in full flow and we have seen this with the announcement by the Free State government that they are to bring the Queen of England on an official state visit. Republican Sinn Fein will vigorously oppose any visit to any part of Ireland by any British royal as long as Britain remains to occupy any part of our country. She is the head of the State that has oppressed and occupied our people for more than eight-hundred years. We call on all of the people of Ireland to fall in behind us in our opposition to this visit.

“Let us move forward and end partition and create a new Ireland for all of its people so that future generations can live free and decide then our destiny just as the men of 1916 fought and died for.

“We follow on in the footsteps of Tone, Pearse and Sands and will stay true to the cause so many before us have so bravely given their lives for, we will not betray the memory of our fallen heroes. We send a clear message to the Brits either signal your intent to leave Ireland for good or you will be met with the full force of the Republican movement and Ireland's sons and daughters will drive you out. Stay true to the cause of Irish freedom!!

“Victory to the POWs, An Phoblacht Abu”

Republican Sinn Féin President Des Dalton also spoke and reiterated Republican Sinn Féin's commitment to ending British rule in Ireland, and their opposition to any visit by any British monarch while their army remains in six of the nine counties of Ulster, or indeed in any part of Ireland.
The piper brought the proceedings to a close with the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann.

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"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."

Republican Sinn Féin Kildare © 2008. Powered by Republican Sinn Féin: 223 Parnell Street, Dublin /// 229 Falls Road, Belfast .