Adams - We will see a united Ireland in our lifetime
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP addressing more than 1,000 supporters at a major event in the City West Hotel in Dublin to mark the 100th anniversary of the party said: "We will see a united Ireland in our lifetime".
Mr. Adams said:
"As Sinn Féin celebrates its first 100 years, Ireland stands on the threshold of great change. The people of Ireland are closer than ever to achieving the united, independent and prosperous country which previous generations of our people have struggled for.
"Even though the IRA initiative of formally ending its campaign and putting arms beyond use occurred only a few months ago already a debate has started within unionism. This may take sometime to play out but it is positive none the less And in the 26 Counties the other political parties are facing up to the reality that the political landscape is being transformed. The old political certainties are being challenged.
"All the main political parties in this state say that Irish unity is one of their aims. This is to be welcomed. But aims and objectives are things that must be worked for. The unity and independence of Ireland must be more than a mere aspiration.
"In Leinster House this week Sinn Fein put the issue of a united Ireland back on the political agenda when for the first time in decades, Irish unity was debated. But much more needs to happen. We need to see the coming together of all strands of Irish nationalism, republicanism and the labour movement to build a new united Ireland.
"Those of us who want to see an end to British rule and the establishment of the republic need to build new alliances, to devise and develop new strategies and shared positions and to drive forward the united Ireland agenda in the time ahead. A key part of this must be a genuine engagement with the unionist community. The type of Ireland we want to create involves the coming together of Orange and Green on the basis of equality and respect.
"Republicanism is about much more than re-uniting Ireland. Republicanism is about equality. There is now the wealth in this state to make that a reality.
"Republicanism is about utilising natural resources for the national good and not giving them to a multi national corporations like Shell. Republicanism is about cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, not about marginalising or discriminating against them. The fact is that there is no political will at this time to tackle these issues because the ethos which guides the conservative parties favours the wealthy and big business. Sinn Féin is about changing all of this.
"Irish people are more confident in our ability to tackle the issues which face us as a nation, to eradicate social inequality and build an island economy that serves the needs of all our citizens.
"Irish citizens in the North share that sense of confidence and are determined to play their part in building that new Ireland. Nationalists in the North are no longer 2nd class citizens and fully intend to play their part in the life of the Irish nation.
"Republicanism is stronger than at any time in recent memory. We are moving forward with confidence and I believe that if we work together we will see a united Ireland in our lifetime." ENDS