More than 200 years ago the United Irish banner was unfurled here in Wexford and throughout the island as every effort was made to smash the colonial ascendancy – an ancient régime propped up with penal laws, rotten boroughs, and the lure of an English king’s shilling.
Inspired by revolutions in America and France, and with Tom Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’ resonating in the streets of Belfast and Dublin – Irish Republicanism was born as the United Irishmen infused a radical blend of egalitarian reform, social justice and an unquenchable desire for national sovereignty.
Comrades this is the radical heritage we must embrace if we are to meet the challenges of building a truly new republic, where the rights of Irish citizens trump the rights of international consortiums.
Where the complaints of the disenfranchised and the downtrodden are no longer ignored, but are examined and removed.
There can be no doubt that the successive Irish Governments have hollowed out the heart of the 1916 Proclamation, they have stripped away the values embedded in the 1919 Democratic Programme.
Partition and the counter-revolution has achieved nothing but a cycle of economic failure, emigration, inequality, and two political states weighted against the rights of citizens – the interests of Irish men, women and children.
Trust and confidence in the political system has been shattered as a consequence of this disastrous mismanagement of the economy, public services and state finances by the previous Fianna Fáil-led administration and the inaction of the current government in delivering on their promise of introducing political reform.
The Fine Gael and Labour approach to political reform has been piecemeal, minimalist. It has been all spin, no substance; in their own words it has been “deplorable.”
Sinn Féin demand political reform based on sovereignty, democracy, accountability and transparency, national unity, equality, and the empowering of local communities – an Ireland where the citizens come first.
It is why we have launched our proposals for political reform – real and enduring reform based on the egalitarian principles of social justice and genuine democracy.
We believe these proposals have the potential to fulfill an urgent need and desire among citizens to drag our political system into the 21st Century. To once and for all eradicate the sleaze, to obliterate the golden circles, and to discard the culture of cronyism.
Ours is the vision of the United Irishmen, a vision that demonstrates to the people of Ireland that our programme of reform is ripe to answer the questions of today and a creed capable of adjusting to the wants of tomorrow.
It is then comrades, and only then, that we will finally see the Rising of the Moon.”