Cill Dara Shinn Féin Poblachtach

New Year Statement 2012

A vision of hope and inspiration
New Year Statement from the leadership of Republican Sinn Féin

Republican Sinn Féin extends fraternal New Year greetings to all of our comrades, friends and supporters both at home and abroad. The coming year will be a challenging one for working-class people in Ireland and across Europe. The threats facing us are manifold. Economically people are faced with the consequences of the austerity programme imposed on them by the EU political and financial elite. For Irish Republicans increasing repression highlights the reality of the old imperialism of British rule in Ireland.

The economic policies being pursued by the Leinster House and Stormont regimes are all part and parcel of the same finance capitalism which created the present world economic crisis. The very markers of a civilised society – the right to health, education and protection of the most vulnerable – are being sacrificed to uphold a failed and undemocratic EU. This should serve as a call to arms to all who wish to build a new world from the ashes of a failed political and economic model.

In the 26 Counties the introduction of a regressive property tax presents working people with an opportunity to find their own voice and strike the first blows of resistance against the Leinster House political class. Republican Sinn Féin is calling on people to refuse to register as a first step to refusing to pay this unjust tax.

In the Middle East people are being applauded for their courage in taking to the streets to seek political change but in the Occupied Six Counties Irish Republicans are being prosecuted for doing the same thing. In January our President Des Dalton and Vice-President Fergal Moore, along with 35 others, are being tried in Craigavon for taking part in a march in Lurgan in January 2011 calling for the release of the interned veteran Republican Martin Corry. This represents part of a pattern of repression directed against Republican Sinn Féin and all of those who refuse to accept British occupation and the partition of the historic Irish nation. The Craigavon trial is an attempt to force Republicans off the streets. We will not bow to such intimidation and reaffirm our commitment to resisting British imperialism in Ireland.

We also take this opportunity to extend greetings and solidarity to the Republican POWs in Maghaberry and Portlaoise prisons. These men are imprisoned because they refused to compromise on Ireland’s right to national freedom. We pledge our continued support to the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison in their ongoing struggle for the right to political status. We also renew our call for the release of Martin Corey and Marian Price, both of whom are political hostages held without trial in Maghaberry prison simply because of their political beliefs.

In 2012 Republican Sinn Féin will be launching our build-up to the centenary of the 1916 Rising with a one-day seminar in Dublin on April 21 entitled Who Fears to Speak of Easter Week. We will be appealing to all who wish, as unapologetic Irish Republicans, to commemorate the sacrifices of the men and women of Easter Week to join with us in planning for 2016. As the legitimate inheritors of the mantle of 1916 Republican Sinn Féin will commemorate 1916 not merely as an historic event but as a task yet to be completed with a living message for the Ireland of today.

As Irish Republicans we are the successors of a revolutionary tradition which stretches back to the foundation of the Society of United Irishmen 220 years ago. For this reason we make no apology for guarding the integrity of that tradition from all impostors or criminal elements who would attempt to besmirch it or misuse its noble title.

The year ahead will be difficult but it also provides many opportunities to further our goal of creating a New Ireland ÉIRE NUA and SAOL NUA set out a vision of hope and inspiration for an Ireland which truly “cherishes all the children of the nation equally”. Our duty as revolutionaries is to confront the twin of British occupation and EU finance capitalism and in so doing shape an Ireland worthy of the high ideals of the 1916 Proclamation.

Fight the cuts by refusing to pay property tax

At its December meeting the Ard Chomhairle of Republican Sinn Féin called on people not to register in January for the 100 Euro property tax.

“We are calling on people not to register for payment of the 100 Euro property tax this coming January. This tax is just the latest in a wave of attacks on working people by the 26-County Administration in order to prop up the failed EU banking system and currency. By refusing to register, working people will be empowering themselves while also sending out a strong message to the political and financial elite that they will not allow the many to be sacrificed in order to protect the vested interests of the few.

“As we predicted, the last 26-County election did not deliver any political or economic change. It was merely a case of exchanging one set of gombeen politicians for another. For too long the Leinster House political class have used working people as voting fodder at election time, the campaign against the property tax allows ordinary Irish people to once more find their own political voice. By thinking and acting in their own interests rather than those of a powerful elite, this campaign can be mark the beginning of the fight back against the cuts and the first step in reclaiming our nation.”

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Des Dalton on Twitter

Follow the Republican Sinn Féin President Des Dalton on Twitter!!/IrelandherownLink

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Pictures from Frank Driver & Kevin Barry Commemorations

Report: Frank Driver Commemoration . . .

Report: Kevin Barry Commemoration . . .

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Republican Sinn Féin supports student occupation of TD’s office

Kildare Republican Sinn Féin expresses its support for the students who have occupied the constituency office of Fine Gael TD Anthony Lawler in Naas. Their action is a positive statement of the determination of ordinary people throughout Ireland to resist the attacks of the financial and political elite on essential social services as well as education and health in both the 26 and Six-County states.

Education is a right for all people and its provision a marker of any civilised society. By its policies the present Fine Gael/Labour administration is sacrificing not only this but future generations to bailout the failed and undemocratic EU political, economic and banking system. The radical action of a new generation in protesting their right to access third level education gives hope for the future.

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The ‘Treaty of Surrender’ and its legacy

This month marks the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on December 6 1921. It was renamed the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ by faithful Irish Republicans because its terms subverted the All-Ireland Republic established according to the democratic will of the people of All-Ireland as expressed in the historic 1918 General Election – the last occasion in which the people of Ireland have been allowed to vote as one unit. That election led to the convening of the First 32-County Dáil Éireann on January 21 1919 and the setting up of a functioning Irish Republic.

The All-Ireland Republic quickly established active government departments and maintained a standing army in the field - the Irish Republican Army. Through its Department of Local Government it secured the allegiance of the vast majority of the county, town and city councils and other layers of local administration throughout Ireland. It also established its own policing and court system while internationally envoys and diplomatic missions were set-up.

The British Government’s response to this democratic expression of self-determination by the Irish people was to intensify its repression by introducing martial law in large swathes of Ireland including the entire province of Munster. From England it recruited extra RIC divisions, the notorious Black-and-Tans as well as the Auxiliaries.

This sets the backdrop to the negotiation of a Treaty, which would overturn the democratic will of the people of Ireland as well as partitioning the historic Irish nation. In his authoritive history of the Civil War or Counter-Revolution Green Against Green the historian Michael Hopkinson said of the Treaty: “No document could have more effectively brought out into the open divisions in the philosophy and leadership of the Sinn Féin movement. If it had offered a little more or a little less, it may well have unified opinion for or against it.”

Realising they could not defeat the Republic militarily, the British Government showing all the darks arts of intrigue and manipulation sharpened over centuries of empire building decided on a strategy of division and subversion from within.

Following the calling of a Truce on July 11 the British Government opened a dialogue with the Government of the All-Ireland Republic leading ultimately to the opening of formal negotiations on October 11 1921. The delegates chosen by the Government of the Republic were led by Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins and also included Eamonn Duggan, George Gavin Duffy and Robert Barton. According to Liam Mellows speaking during the Dáil’s Treaty debates, they had clear instructions as to any proposed treaty. Item three of the instructions given to the delegates quoted by Mellows stated: “It is also understood that the complete text of the draft Treaty about to be signed will be similarly submitted to Dublin's and a reply awaited.”. This was disputed by Collins and Griffith who claimed they had full plenipotentiary powers to negotiate and sign.

Within the negotiations themselves the British played their hand well dividing the Irish delegates up and concentrating in particular on Collins and Griffith. Thus they ensured that whilst their decisions and actions were tightly coordinated and carefully though out the Irish delegation was in disarray. Duggan, Barton and Gavin Duffy were in the dark regarding much of Collins’ and Griffith’s secret talks with Winston Churchill and British Prime Minister Lloyd George. In the introduction to the Whitehall Diary of Deputy Secretary to the British Cabinet Thomas Jones historian Nicholas Mansergh wrote that the negotiations involved: “concessions wrung by devices, some of which can be described at best as devious…”The care taken by the British in the negotiation is illustrated by a comment by Thomas Jones, in his diary: “….every word used and every nuance was so important.” When the leadership of the Republican Movement were about to engage in talks with the British Government in 1972 for the first time since the Treaty negotiations of 1921 they turned to Seán MacBride for advice as he had been part of the staff attached to the Irish delegation during the Treaty negotiations. His most important piece of advice was not to allow their delegation to be separated.

These were the circumstances in which the hard fought for and fully functioning All-Ireland Republic was undermined. The past 90 years of war and conflict in Ireland has flowed from the decisions made in those fateful months of late 1921 and early 1922. Speaking in the Dáil debate on the Treaty on January 4 Liam Mellows prophetically set out the consequences of abandoning the Republic and setting up a 26-County Free State: “The Government of the Free State will, with those who support it now liking it or not, eventually occupy the same relationship towards the people of Ireland as Dublin Castle does to-day, because, it will be the barrier government between the British and the Irish people. And the Irish people before they can struggle on will have to do something to remove that Free State Government. That, I think, has been the history of this country most of the time, as it is the history of most countries that go the way now urged by those who support the Free State. If the Free State is accepted and put into operation it will provide the means for the British Government to get its hold back again.”

The conspiratorial “internal methods” used to coerce and cajole deputies into voting for the Treaty in the Dáil as well as within the army of the Republic –the IRA – by the Irish Republican Brotherhood would be adopted by others in the years ahead to similarly divert the Republican Movement away from the path to the full freedom of Ireland.

Its legacy was a vicious civil war or more accurately counter-revolution, which robbed Ireland of some of its brightest and best political leaders. It poisoned politics in Ireland dividing families as well as territory. And in buying the pup of the Boundary Commission which in 1925 copper-fastened partition those who supported the Treaty condemned the nationalists population of the Six Counties to decades of sectarian Unionist domination and discrimination and British rule. It is a legacy that we remain burdened with today.

Its is best to leave the final word to Brian Murphy in his excellent book Patrick Pearse and the Lost Republican Ideal: “The Treaty, hailed by those who accepted it as a victory for democracy, has to be accessed in the knowledge that those advocated it, be they from the ranks of the IRB or the Catholic clergy, were influenced by secret manoeuvres which were hardly compatible with the democratic process. If the Treaty was a victory for anyone, it was for the policy of the British administration.”

Brian P. Murphy: Patrick Pearse and the Lost Republican Ideal.
Thomas Jones: Whitehall Diary.
Dáil Éireann: Official Report of the debate on the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland

Taken from Des Dalton's Blog The Singing Flame . . .

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