Sinn Féin – A united, effective, all Ireland Republican Party
Dublin Sinn Féin today held a commemoration in Glasnevin cemetery to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands.
The main speaker was Party President Gerry Adams TD.
Mr Adams expressed his delight at the party’s Assembly election result in the north.
He said: “Our MLAs and Councillors in the north and our Ministers in the Executive, will now join with our enhanced team of TDs and Seanadoiri to form a united, effective all Ireland Republican party dedicated to defending the rights and entitlements of citizens and promoting an end to partition and Irish unity.”
The Sinn Fein leader described the 1981 Hunger Strike as “a David and Goliath battle” which changed the shape of politics on this island.
He said: “Though the hunger strikers lost their lives, the British government lost the battle of criminalisation.
“In the years since then republicans have succeeded in increasing popular support for our goals and objectives.
“Last Wednesday on the eve of the Assembly and local government vote in the north I was in Belfast meeting the media and canvassing with our three new Seanadóirí.
“They have now joined our 14 TDs to forge a strong, effective and united republican opposition in the Dáil to the conservative politics of the other parties.
“Yesterday and today in count centres across the north Sinn Féin is advancing our republican goals through the election of experienced and dedicated MLAs.
“All of these incremental steps forward are about building the political strength necessary to effect real change in Ireland.”
“Bobby was inspired by the words of the Proclamation and writing on scraps of paper that were smuggled out of the prison he railed against “those who ignore injustice, and exploit and oppress working people.
“Writing in his prison diary on the 11th day of his hunger strike, and paraphrasing one of his heroes James Connolly, Bobby condemned those who ‘bubbling over with enthusiasm (or patriotism) for his country, who walks through the streets among his people, their degradation, poverty, and suffering, and who (for want of the right words) does nothing, is, in my mind, a fraud’.
“Imagine what James Connolly or Bobby would write if they had just visited Croke Vilas or St Teresa’s Garden, or Dolphin House, or, O Devenny Garden’s or Dominick Street or any of the other housing estates that were badly planned and built, and have been denied investment and regeneration.
“They would, as I was when Mary Lou and I visited Croke Vilas, be appalled and outraged at the living conditions for residents.
“What would they say about the state of our hospitals; of elderly patients forced to lie on trolleys or sleep on chairs in overcrowded A & E units?
“What would they think of a Universal Social Charge that will increase the number of children in this state living in poverty, or the introduction of a flat water charge that will force parents to chose between food on the table and the ESB bill?
“I know what they would think of bankers getting €3 million pensions.
“Our task as Irish republicans is to challenge and oppose the selfish actions of the golden circles.
“Sinn Fein is about transforming Ireland; ending partition; building a new relationship with our unionist neighbours and creating a new Ireland in which the rights of citizens are upheld.”
Commenting on the assembly elections Mr Adams said:
“The Assembly election results are yet to be concluded but it appears that Sinn Féin will succeed in our objective of consolidating our vote. I am delighted with that.
“I want to thank all of those who stood for Sinn Féin as candidates and their families, and our election workers who made this success possible.
“I also want to thank the voters who came out in such numbers and have placed their confidence in Sinn Fein to protect their interests and deliver real and positive change.
“There will now be an understandable interest in how the Ministries are allocated and which will be taken by the various parties.
“I have spoken in the last few days to all of the Sinn Féin Ministers.
“I thanked them for their leadership and dedication and the huge contribution they made to ensuring the success of the last term of the Assembly and Executive.
“The National Officer Board of the party will be meeting shortly and we will be considering our options in respect of which departments Sinn Féin will seek in the next Executive.
“I am not prepared to speculate on any of this at this time other than to say that I can confirm that Sinn Féin will be nominating Martin McGuinness for the post of Deputy First Minister.
“The only purpose for Sinn Féin in standing in any election is to win support for our republican objectives which include improving the quality of life of citizens, building peace and prosperity, creating jobs and defending public services.“Our MLAs and Councillors in the north and our Ministers in the Executive, will now join with our enhanced team of TDs and Seanadoiri to form a united, effective Republican party dedicated to defending the rights and entitlements of citizens and promoting an end to partition and Irish unity.” ENDS