Ireland does not stop at the border - Mary Lou McDonald
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil need to recognise that Ireland does not stop at the border.
Addressing the 100th Anniversary Commemoration for 1916 Leader and Proclamation signatory Seán Mac Diarmada, in the patriot’s home village of Kiltyclogher, Co. Leitrim, McDonald also said that the new Fine Gael-led Government better realise that Sinn Féin aimed at tearing down the Ireland that had failed so many citizens and to building a real Republic in its place.
Mary Lou McDonald said:
“The ideals of the Proclamation will remain unfulfilled, while our country is still partitioned.
“Partition has created false divisions. The artificial border, just over 100 metres from where we are standing, for decades cut the village of Kiltyclogher off from its natural hinterland.
“This border was not created by the democratic will of the Irish people, but under a threat from the British of ‘immediate and terrible war’.
“This border has separated families, farmlands and communities.
“How would Seán Mac Diarmada feel about the country he died for, still being partitioned 100 years after the Easter Rising?
“In much of the state commemorations of 1916, it seemed that for many in ‘official Ireland’, our country ends 150 yards from the statue of Seán Mac Diarmada here in Kiltyclogher.
“Well, if we send one message from here today to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, it is that Ireland does not end at Newry or at Kiltyclogher. Ireland is all of our 32 Counties and the Proclamation of 1916 is for all of our people.
”The Sinn Féin Deputy Leader told the huge crowd in Leitrim border town that the men and women of 1916 would have readily understood the republican struggle in the North of recent decades, and would have identified with the brave men who sacrificed their all on the 1981 Hunger Strike, the 35th anniversary of which coincides with the 1916 Centenary.
Pointing to the harsh conditions in Leitrim during Seán Mac Diarmada’s youth, she said that Leitrim and other counties had continued to suffer from emigration and neglect:
“Leitrim, like much of rural Ireland has been hard hit in recent years by a decline in public and commercial services. Rural communities have lost local hospitals, Garda stations, post offices and vital transport links."
This, McDonald said was not the type of Ireland that those who went out in 1916 had fought for.
Sinn Féin, she said, wished to create a new, equal Ireland and that the Fine Gael Government and their Fianna Fáil facilitators should realise that:
“Sinn Féin is absolutely serious about tearing down Ireland as it has been and replacing it with a real Republic of fairness, decency and equality”.