Pearse Doherty opens major Sinn Féin conference in Dublin
Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty speaking at the opening of a major party conference in Dublin this morning said:
“It has been a very busy six months for the party. In the Six Counties we have been leading the Executive with the DUP and in the 26 Counties we have been engaged in a process of consultation which was as intensive and fundamental as that during the Policing debate earlier this year.
“Since the election dozens of meetings have taken place – we have analysed the outcome of the election – our successes and our disappointments. We have examined the role of republicanism in the 21st century. We now need to learn the lessons of this experience and move on. We need to build the party on the ground and put a political programme before the electorate relevant to the needs of modern Ireland.
“Today’s meeting is the culmination of our discussions and the theme of the conference was very carefully chosen – Engaging Modern Ireland. We need to reach out and engage with communities and constituencies right across Ireland and we are beginning that process today with a range of invited speakers representing very different sectors:
Buidling the economy
Community safety and policing
New Irish, new communities.
“Our core principles remain the same – we are working for Irish re-unification, equality and justice. But we need to make sure that we also have policies that will deliver on these principles.
“This weekend Fianna Fáil announced that they have registered as a party in the Six Counties. It will take far more than a bit of paper from the Electoral Commission to make them an all-Ireland party. If Fianna Fáil are truly to become an all-Ireland party and move beyond a rhetorical position on Irish re-unification If they are really interested in Irish unity they need to begin the practical preparations now.
“2016 shouldn’t just be about commemorating our past, it should be about shaping the future. And that means more than lofty speeches. It means expanding the work of the All Ireland Ministerial Council, it means removing the impediments to all Ireland economic development, it means nothern representation in the Oireachtas, it means putting in place a practical strategy for re-unification. Only time will tell how serious they really are. And we will see what position they take on the measures we will be putting forwad in the Dáil and Seanad on preparing for unity and independence.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us. It is less than two years to the Local Government and EU elections but I am certain that we can regain political momentum. In this hall today we have the political leaders of the future. We have the people to deliver.”ENDS