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The legacy of 1916 belongs to all the Irish people – Tóibín

9 October, 2015

Sinn Féin Deputy Peadar Tóibín spoke today in favour of a National Republic Day to commemorate the events of 1916.

“The legacy of 1916 belongs to all of the Irish people. No one has a right to commandeer it and no one can claim sole ownership of Republicanism.

“Sinn Féin will continue to strive to realize the Republic as laid out in the Proclamation of 1916 and we would encourage all others to do the same.

“Recent utterances about the commandeering of 1916 and Republicanism, however, are usually delivered by TDs who feel increasingly defensive as the centenary of 1916 approaches. Those who want to cash in on the political kudos of Irish republicanism without having made the investment into furthering the ideals.

“The men and women of 1916 fought for a 32 county Irish republic. They did not die for partition. There are many within the establishment of this state whose positions are protected by partition and quietly cling on to it for dear life.

“The Proclamation laid out a vision of an equal and just Ireland. Yet the word equality cannot be stretched to include repaying billions of unsecured debt whilst hundreds of thousands remain on housing waiting lists and thousands remain homeless.

“Is this the justice that inspired the men and women who risked death and jail on this spot all those years ago? 

“Irish Republicanism is a powerful objective. It is a realisable goal and it is the remedy to the mé féin attitude at the heart of this state.  It’s not the property of one political party but is certainly not an elastic meaningless tool of some spin doctor used to rebrand decades of neglect and indifference.

“The goals of full independence, equality and justice will not be achieved solely by Sinn Féin. It will only happen when each sector of Irish society join together and play their part. We in Sinn Féin have held 1916 commemorations for nearly 100 years. We tended the graves of fallen heroes when others found no political profit within it.

“Another debate rages around how best to commemorate these men and women. The establishment have tied themselves in knots to try and commemorate these people while ignoring what they stood for. The truth is that the only way to truly commemorate these heroes is for this generation to complete their objectives. This job is not for other people. Republicanism is not a spectator sport. The Government should not let these commemorations pass by without stepping up to the plate.”

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