Sinn Féin determined to advance republicanism in this new phase of struggle - Adams
Speaking at today’s annual Edentubber commemoration in north County Louth Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP MLA welcomed the veterans of the campaign and the families of the five republicans killed in 1957 at the foot of the EdentubberMountain.
Mr Adams said:
“Irish republicanism owes a huge debt of gratitude to the courage and self-sacrifice of the republican activists of the 1950s. They kept faith with the republican past and they ensured the future of our struggle.
Commenting on the disappointing general election results earlier this year; efforts by political opponents to undermine Sinn Féin and claims by Fianna Fáil that it would crush the party the Sinn Féin leader said:
“This party and republicanism is set to continue to grow in the time ahead. Why am I so confident? Because Republicans have demonstrated time and time again our unswerving commitment to our national objectives, and an ability to strategise and plan and build republican politics in an unprecedented way. We are doing that now. During the summer the Sinn Féin leadership commenced a critical and inclusive analysis of our election performance in the south. The resolve shown by party members since the election has been inspiring. What is abundantly clear is that activists and supporters are up for the challenge of building the party, and achieving our political goals.”
Responding accusations of republican involvement in crime and the recent murder of Paul Quinn Gerry Adams said that as Sinn Féin seeks to advance it’s republican goals there will be those who “fear our agenda for change”, Mr Adams continued:
“They will continue to attack us. The opposition to genuine republicanism is considerable.
It encompasses powerful vested interests which support and in turn are supported by the conservative parties. It includes a small number of anti-republican journalists who seek at every opportunity to make allegations trying to link republicans with criminals and criminal activities.
“A few weeks ago Paul Quinn was murdered in CountyMonaghan. He was murdered by criminals. It was a crime which people across Ireland have rightly condemned. An alliance of some unionist and SDLP politicians, criminal elements, and some former republican activists, have sought to exploit this dreadful killing to undermine Sinn Féin. They will not succeed. I want to make Sinn Féin's position absolutely clear on this point. We have a zero tolerance attitude to all criminal activity. We want to make the policing institutions and the judicial systems accountable. We will continue to resolutely oppose political policing north and south. This is totally unacceptable. But let me be very direct. Sinn Fein is committed to law and order. We fully support the fight against crime. We support An Garda Síochana and the PSNI, and the criminal justice systems North and South and the effective delivery of fair and impartial justice.”
Gerry Adams also said it is time “for the UDA to get off the backs of the unionist people and remove itself as a threat to those ordinary Catholics who have most often been its victims.”
“Right thinking people will support real efforts by thinking loyalists to move the UDA or other loyalist paramilitaries into the peace process. So, Sinn Féin welcomes in a positive way any progress on this front. We are very mindful however that the UDA was established by the British government; that it was a front for them; and that it is consumed in criminal activities, including drug pushing. So there can be no tolerance for this. Attempts to bribe organisations like this, as the British did in a very cynical way are unacceptable. What the UDA needs to do is to get off the backs of the unionist people and remove itself as a threat to those ordinary Catholics who have most often been its victims”.
Commenting on suggestions that Fianna Fáil might organise in the north and on the future of the SDLP the Sinn Féin leader said:
“Some commentators have speculated on the effects of Fianna Fáil organizing on an all-Ireland basis. We welcome this development – in its own way it can help erode the partitionist mentality that pervades so much of Fianna Fáil’s politics. Its potential effect is a greater worry for SDLP and for the future of that party. The SDLP have always enjoyed enormous political patronage from Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the PDs and Labour. The SDLP is now a party without direction; unable to come to terms with its own electoral setbacks; trying to carve out a space in the Assembly as a party in government and in opposition at the same time; and undecided as to whether it joins the UUP or Fianna Fáil. Either way the northern electorate have seen the future and it is a future without the SDLP.
“As for Fianna Fáil - if its intention is to seek a mandate on a 32-county basis, then now is the time for the Taoiseach to act on those key All-Ireland commitments arising out of the Good Friday Agreement, which he has failed thus far to deliver. Principal among these is his failure to provide representation in the Oireachtas for citizens in the Six Counties.”
The Sinn Fein President also spoke about other republicans “in small militaristic groups attack us with great bitterness”.
“Martin Meehan and his wife Briege received five death threats from these elements in the week before his untimely death. No republican objectives are advanced by such behaviour. On the contrary the activities of these groups play into the hands of those who are against change. These groups have no strategy, no programmes, no popular support and no real capacity – militarily or otherwise.
“They have chosen random acts of intimidation and isolated acts of individual violence which are politically ineffective and result only in pain and suffering for the individuals targeted and their families. The overall effect is retrograde at every level and in every sense when what is required is forward momentum. I would appeal to them once again therefore to cease all activities. I will engage with all or any of these groups to persuade them of the imperative for everyone genuinely interested in republicanism to advance it in a peaceful manner.”
Finally, Gerry Adams spoke of his confidence for the future:
“We have laid the foundations for greater progress and more advances in the time ahead. This leadership, the thousands of republican activists, and the hundreds of thousands of citizens who are in increasing numbers voting for our party, are able and determined to advance republicanism in this new phase of struggle. I am confident of achieving our goals.
"I have confidence in republicanism, in republicans and in our strategy. Together we can build a united, sovereign Irish republic based on equality for all. This will be the only truly fitting monument to those who died here at Edentubber and all those who died in the cause of Irish freedom – a free, independent, united Ireland.
“Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.” CRÍOCH