Sinn Féin - On Your Side

All Ireland agenda must be advanced

27 February, 2004

Head of Sinn Féin all Ireland group, Martina Anderson speaking at the party's Ard Fheis in Dublin this evening said "Collectively, All Republican Activists from Kerry to Derry have a duty and a responsibility to cultivate that demand by showing through the All Ireland Strategies now in place, how a new Ireland of equals can be achieved". Ms Anderson said:

Republicans have always had vision — and our vision of a new Ireland of equals is not based on discrimination, but a society of equals, which respects and implements HRs and which advocates equality of outcome — not equality of opportunity.

The potential of all-Ireland structures for Governance as outlined by the strategies of Sinn Féin's All Ireland Agenda — and the motions before us this evening, make reference to national reconciliation, the expansion of all Ireland institutions and areas of work, cross border corridor strategy and Presidential voting rights - all of which suggests that new political all Ireland frameworks could map out the route for social, political, economic and cultural re-unification — all influencing the need for constitutional reunification. In this period of transition, with all its challenges, Sinn Féin's all Ireland strategies aim to ensure that the people of Ireland are involved in determining this new society. Whether the Northern Assembly is functional or not - our All Ireland activity can forged ahead.

Comrades we are not just a party that is a bit different than others with a Charismatic Leader — yes we have the most popular leader in Ireland, but he knows that he has a party of Activists who passionately want to improve their lives of the people of Ireland. He knows that we are embracing the programme of work that facilitates a process of engaging the people in shaping and building this New Ireland that will bring about this vision of an Ireland Of equals.

Indeed, we recently embarked upon a process of consultation with civic society across Ireland on Sinn Féin's Rights for All Charter, which was influenced by the South African Freedom Charter. Through this process of engagement and discussion, we are actively involving people in formulating their own vision of an alternative society and by so doing they will begin to see how far away Ireland, divided as it is, is from what they want.

Even if we took power tomorrow we could not give people an Ireland of Equals — People have to want it and demand it. Collectively, All Republican Activists from Kerry to Derry have a duty and a responsibility to cultivate that demand by showing through the All Ireland Strategies now in place, how a new Ireland of equals can be achieved. From Cumainn to AC Activists, we all need to priorities and coordinate All Ireland activity. Our primary objective of reunification of equals, does not and must not compete with any other demand — it is the overarching project that must permeate throughout our activism in a way that reminds us daily - why we are here — why we work 24 - 7 - and what it is we are out to achieve. And that is not a 32 county corrupt-ridden Free State shaped by successive Irish governments that have rolled out an agenda of minimising the role of the state in providing services and facilities to which everyone is entitled.

Our commitment to all-Ireland activity is not unconditional. It is primarily guided by our progressive agenda for social justice - a value that is not part of the British or Irish Governments' physhe. With the conviction that underpins our movement we must collectively strengthen our party structures and forge external links with civic society that will advance the logic for an Ireland of Equals. To that end, our party structures must reflect consolidation and coordination between SF elected and non-elected Activists so that we channel our collective energies, establishing Joint Working Mechanisms, pursuing joint working initiatives which will make reintegration and reunification an actionable reality.

We are the only All Ireland Party, and comrades we are the generation that carries the duty to drive a republican all-Ireland agenda forward. We have a vision of a new and different Ireland, which itself can only be achieved with the participation of the People of Ireland. It is after all the people of Ireland who are sovereign. Indeed through greatly superior numbers, we can move though contest, to achieve an Ireland where for the first time the voice of the marginalised ceases to be ignored. It is a path to inspire us; as well as to show that a new Ireland of equals — another world, another Ireland can be achieved.

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