Cill Dara Shinn Féin Poblachtach

RSF address to Celtic League AGM

An address to the Celtic League 50th Anniversary AGM held in Falkirk,Scotland on Saturday October 29 from the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton.

For 50 years the Celtic League has been a tireless champion of the political, cultural, social, economic and environmental rights of the Celtic nations. Our Patron Ruairí Ó Brádaigh is a long-standing member of the Celtic League and he joins with me in extending greetings and Celtic solidarity to you all on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin.

As Irish Republicans we view Ireland’s long struggle for national freedom as part of the international struggle against imperialism. In keeping with this position Republican Sinn Féin’s foreign policy – first put forward in 1976 – calls for action in three concentric circles: (A) With the other Celtic countries toward a Celtic League on the lines of the Nordic Council or the Arab League; (B) with the stateless nationalities of Europe and the working class movements in Europe toward “a free federation of free peoples” (which was James Connolly’s goal); and (C) with the formerly colonized nations and the people still struggling against colonialism such as Palestine.

The world of today presents us with huge challenges and threats. In Ireland we are being squeezed between the old and new imperialisms. On the one hand the old imperialism of British Rule is still a reality in the Six Occupied Counties in the northeastern corner of our country. Arbitrary arrest, house raids and harassment remain the stock-in-trade of the British Colonial Police in Ireland.

The past year has seen a concerted effort by the British State to silence Republican Sinn Féin. In May of this year –just days before the Queen of England’s unwelcome visit to the 26-County State – two of our members Cait Trainor from Co Armagh - a member of our Ard Chomhairle (National Executive) - and Sean Maloney also from Co Armagh -a former Republican Prisoner - were arrested and charged as a result of political views they expressed in an interview with Channel Four News in September of last year. The charge is being taken under the draconian ‘Terrorism Act’ of 2006. The arrests and charges are an attack on the basic right to hold and express a political opinion and are reminiscent of the kind of draconian legislation used by the Spanish State in the Basque Country. We are calling on the Celtic League to highlight this case internationally,

In July of this year the President and Vice President of Republican Sinn Féin, Des Dalton and Fergal Moore were arrested in Lurgan Co Armagh and charged with participating in an ‘illegal’ march in Lurgan on January 23. The protest march in question was held to call for the release of veteran Republican Martin Corey who has been interned without trial in Maghaberry prison since April 2010. Again this is a deliberate attempt to put Republicans off the streets of the Six Counties. And we must also note that this year as Irish Republicans marked the 30th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes in the H Blocks of Long Kesh young Irish Republican prisoners are locked in a struggle for the same right to political status in Maghaberry Prison.

All of this shows that the nature of British occupation in Ireland has not changed. The British policy of “divisions carefully fostered by an alien government” created and sustained the Six-County State. It was a state built on sectarianism, discrimination, inequality and repression. The Stormont Agreement merely institutionalised sectarianism with a resultant increase in the polarisation of the two communities. Provisional Sinn Féin on the one side and the DUP on the other are more than happy to base their political supremacy on this sectarian divide. Posing as the political face of their respective ‘tribes’.

In the 26 Counties we face the new imperialism of the IMF/ECB and IMF.

The most vulnerable and marginalised in society are in the sights of this political and economic elite not just in Ireland but also across Europe. In Greece the people have been told they must pay the debts of the financial elite at the cost of the ownership of the very land beneath their feet. In Ireland the old, the young, the unemployed and those with special needs are to be the fodder used to bolster a failed currency and the failed political project that is the EU. The political and economic reality is that the 26-County Administration are merely managers of a programme that has been set out for them by the EU/ECB and IMF. It is time to cast off the shackles of the old imperialism of London – in occupation of part of our country - and the new imperialism of the EU/ECB/IMF.

The way forward for the Celtic peoples is to build an alliance of free peoples. In this regard we applaud Scotland’s progress towards independence. The Scots, Welsh, Cornish and even English nationalities or nationalisms are asserting themselves once more. The ties which bind the “Union” are fraying, a certain momentum is building up and we all need to be planning for a better future. We also salute the ongoing struggle of our comrades in Brittany for nationhood. The old order is being questioned more and more, people are receptive to new ideas and the circumstances are opportune again. What better basis on which to build a free, united, federal Ireland of over six million people?

In Ireland we believe that our programme for a Federal Ireland Éire Nua holds the key to building a New Ireland for all of the Irish people and replacing the two failed partitionist states. Republicans have never advocated the achievement of a united Ireland by adding the Six Counties to the 26, under either the 1922 or the 1937 Free State Constitutions. We have never proposed or recommended a 32-County Free State. We have never accepted either state but seek to restore the All-Ireland Republic which was overthrown in 1922.

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 Nationalist, 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 Andrews 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.

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. “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.”

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.

And so comrades and friends let us go forward together advancing the goal of a community of free Celtic Nations. I leave you with the words of the father of Irish Republicanism Theobald Wolfe Tone: “Let the nations go abreast. Let the interchange of sentiments among mankind concerning the Rights of Man be as immediate as possible”.

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No other law

Writing in the series Perspectives on the presidency in the Irish Times of October 13 Tom Hickey; lecturer in the School of Law NUI Galway gives a definition of Republicanism with which one could readily identify.

However he then puts a construct on Irish Republicanism, which is a misrepresentation of a 220 year-old revolutionary tradition. He writes that Irish Republicanism has for many become a “dirty word, gradually conflated with sectarian nationalism.” He goes on then to accuse Irish Republicans of defining Irish nationality along sectarian lines – reserved only for one section of the Irish people.

Irish Republicanism stands as a polar opposite to sectarianism. Drawing from the wellspring of the enlightenment, it rejects the ‘Divine Right of Kings’ and replaces it with the sovereignty of the people and the universal ‘Rights of Man’. The Father of Irish Republicanism Theobald Wolfe Tone could not have been clearer as to the foundation upon which a free All-Ireland Republic would be built: “To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissentions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in the place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic, and Dissenter - these were my means.”

This has remained the bedrock of Irish Republicanism right up to the present day. Indeed it is this rejection of sectarianism, which was one of the two primary reasons advanced by Republican Sinn Féin in rejecting the 1998 Stormont Agreement. Because it served only to institutionalise sectarianism in what was already an undemocratic and sectarian statelet in the Six Counties. The other of course was that it copper-fastened British rule in Ireland.

Tom Hickey writes that in a real Republic the two “distinct pillars” are the “sanctity of the public space, and of the common public good.” He then says: “this requires meaningful deliberative engagement on the part of all citizens, and participation.”

The second pillar he identifies as “equal citizenship” and immunity from “arbitrary power.” I would invite Tom Hickey to read Éire Nua if he wishes to see a definition of just such a republic based on real participation and the common good. The Éire Nua proposals make tangible the Republic aspired to by Tone, Emmet, Davis, Lalor, Pearse and Connolly. Éire Nua presents a vision and a programme for a New Ireland that is in stark contrast to both failed partitionist states.

In an article published in Saoirse marking 40 years since the launch of Éire Nua Sean Ó Bradaigh had this to say about the nature of the two partition states: “The partition of Ireland in 1922 created not one, but two unnatural entities, not just a ‘Protestant parliament for a Protestant people’ in the Six Counties, but also a Catholic state in the 26 Counties.

“The Unionist majority in the North behaved very badly in their gerrymandering of electoral boundaries and in discrimination against the minority. The, mostly hidden, hand of the Orange Order was behind serious civil rights abuses. Westminster consistently refused to intervene and the whole thing blew up in all our faces in 1969. This would not have happened in a 32-County pluralist Ireland which guaranteed equal rights and equal opportunities to all her citizens.

“The same unnatural partition affected the 26 Counties also. A 32-County state with its balance of different religions could hardly have brought about the controversy over the appointment of a Protestant librarian in Co Mayo in 1931; the banning of Edna O’Brien’s short novels; the hounding from office of Dr Noel Browne, Minister for Health in 1951; the scandals of the Magdalene Laundries and the Industrial Schools, for examples.”
The opposition of unionists to the idea of being incorporated into such a state is understandable what is not is their treatment over a prolonged period of the minority within the Six-County State something that was shameful and unworthy of the descendants of the first Irish Republicans of the 1790s.
Not unreasonably unionists have expressed frustration at the apparent lack any concrete proposals setting out the shape of a future free and united Ireland. One Unionist, David Adams, writing in the Irish Times on December 3 2009, criticising this percieved failure of nationalist or republican Ireland to propose a blueprint for a united Ireland. He wrote: “Clarity is what the people of Northern Ireland (sic) need.” However he also noted: “The Éire Nua document, authored by Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill in the 1970s, remains the only serious bid by any strand of nationalism or republicanism to address the issue at all.”

There is an onus on Irish Republicans to be very clear and precise in setting out our vision. Irish Republicans have never advocated a 32-County Free State. We believe that a New Ireland for all of the Irish people is required if we are to advance politically, socially and econimally. In short we seek the restoration of the 32-County Republic which was subverted in 1922.

Éire Nua proposes a Federal Ireland based on the historic four provinces including a nine-county Ulster. This would be horizontal democracy based on sharing autonomy and sovereignty between provinces, regions right down to local or community level within the framework of an independent nation state. This would represent meaningful decentralisation of power and decision-making. A nine-county Ulster Parliament would have considerably more power than any Stormont Assembly ever had. Importantly an Ulster Parliament or Dáil Uladh would be soverign and could not be suspended over the heads of its elected members by an outside parliament such as Westminster, as is the case today.

Again as Sean Ó Brádaigh points out : “Éire Nua includes a Draft Charter of Rights and the right of Petition or Initiative. This right of Initiative is much used in Switzerland. It is a constitutional modus operandi whereby a referendum can be resorted to on an issue of importance if a sufficient number of signatures are collected. This can be done at local, provincial or national level. Issues like Shell to Sea or the M3 motorway near Tara come to mind. This is direct participative democracy at work, as distinct from representative democracy.”

Tom Hickey concludes by saying if we are to “renew our Republic (sic) in advance of 2016 we must first restore the idea of republicanism.” I would agree with this sentiment but would go further and say that we must also restore the Republic of 1916, a Republic that was stolen from us and reconnect with the ideals enshrined in the 1916 Proclamation. To quote Liam Lynch: “We have declared for an Irish Republic and will not live under any other law”

Taken from Des Dalton's Blog

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Candle Light Vigil at GPO marks 30th Anniversary of End of Hunger Strike

Republican Sinn Féin marked the 30th anniversary of the ending of the hunger strikes in the H Blocks of Long Kesh with a candle light vigil at the GPO in O’Connell St in Dublin on October 5.

Addressing the crowd the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton said that the hunger striker was not simply in pursuit of political status. “Bobby Sands and his comrades gave their lives that the All-Ireland Republic might live. These young Irishmen were willing to give their lives that their children might live in a New Ireland. 30 years later the fact that there are young Irishmen in Maghaberry prison locked in a struggle for political status tells us that nothing has changed. Ireland still suffers British occupation and partition. Here in the 26-Counties the people are being sold out to the new imperialists of the EU/ECB and IMF. The most fitting monument we can erect to the martyrs of 1981 is to bring about that All-Ireland Federal Democratic Socialist Republic.” He concluded by quoting from the statement issued by the Republican POWs: “There were several reasons given by our comrades for going on hunger-strike. One was because we had no choice and no other means of securing a principled solution to the four-year protest.

“Another, and of fundamental importance, was to advance the Irish people's right to liberty. We believe that the age-old struggle for Irish self-determination and freedom has been immeasurably advanced by this hunger-strike and therefore we claim a massive political victory. The hunger-strikers, by their selflessness, have politicised a very substantial section of the Irish nation and exposed the shallow, unprincipled nature of the Irish partitions bloc.

“Our comrades have lit with their very lives an eternal beacon which will inspire this nation and people to rise and crush oppression forever and his nation can be proud that it produced such a quality of man hood.

“We pay a special tribute to the families of our dead comrades. You have suffered greatly and with immense dignity. Your loved ones, our comrades and friends, were and would be very proud of you for standing by them. No tribute is to great.

“Also, we give a special mention to those families who could not bear to watch their loved ones die in pain and agony. We prisoners understand the pressure you were under and stand by you.

“We thank the National H-Block/Armagh Committee, the H-Block movement, the nationalist people of Ireland, and all those who championed our cause abroad, we are indebted to you and ask you to continue your good work on our behalf.

“Lastly we reaffirm our commitment to the achievement of the five demands by whatever means we believe necessary and expedient. We rule nothing out.

“Under no circumstances are we going to devalue the memory of our dead comrades by submitting ourselves to a dehumanising and degrading régime.”

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Sham politics in a sham state

The ongoing soap opera, which we will laughingly refer to as the 26-County Presidential Election is an obscenity in terms of the cost estimated at €20 million and the fact that it is being used by the political elite as a very convenient distraction from the harsh economic realties faced by Irish people the length and breadth of the 32 Counties.

The office itself is a meaningless and empty position carrying no political weight. It was a position created by Éamon De Valera to replace the old position of Governor General when he introduced his 1937 Free State Constitution. The blandness of the rhetoric coming from the candidates reflects the shallowness of the well-paid position they are all jockeying for.

Martin McGuinness tells us he wants a “New Republic”. Perhaps Martin could enlighten us as to how he will “lead us to the Republic” from the Vice Regal lodge.

Martin has said he will fearlessly uphold all the institutions of the 26-County State – including its army and police force. Well at least here he is consistent, as he has already made a similar pledge to uphold the institutions of British rule in the Six Counties. It seems if Martin is going to uphold partition it’s a case of all or nothing!

This election is a parody of democracy a case of fiddling while Rome burns. The political class are playing their little games hoping that the people will be distracted enough not to notice that their country and the future of their children is being sold off. All the elements that go towards creating a civilised society – access to health at the point of need – equal access to education – socia protection of the young – the old – those with special needs either physical or mental are being sacrificed. The effects of this will be felt not just by this but also by future generations.

So as the rhetoric flies and the platitudes are trotted out by the various candidates telling us they “believe in people” or want to “encourage and inspire” or God preserve us “build bridges” just remember you can register your disgust and protest at this sham politics in a sham state. Either stay at home on polling day or if you do feel the need to go to the polling station write an appropriate slogan across the face of the ballot paper and send them your own message of protest and your aspiration for a truly New Ireland.

Taken from:

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Boycott 26-County election

Statement by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton

The forthcoming 26-County Presidential election is a costly distraction from the very real issues confronting the people of Ireland such as the fact that political and economic sovereignty have been signed away to the unelected and unaccountable elite of the EU/ECB and IMF.

Our people are being sacrificed in order to bailout the undemocratic EU Superstate and its failed currency. While essential services such as health and education are being slashed €20 Million is being spent on a meaningless election to a meaningless position.

We are calling on people to register their rejection of the failed politics of a failed state by boycotting this election. It is time for a New Ireland based on the principles of the 1916 proclamation and the reestablishment of: “the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland”.

Statement in Spanish 'El R.SF propugna el boicot a las elecciones presidenciales en los 26 Condados' . . .

Statement in German 'Republikaner rufen zu Wahlboykott auf' . . .

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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."

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