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Sinn Féin to hold Major Conference on Irish Unity

24 November, 2005

Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin was today joined by Mayor of Monaghan Cllr. Pat Treanor and Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew to reveal details of a major party conference to be held in Monaghan this weekend to coincide with the date 100 years ago when Sinn Féin was first formed.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"This weekend, to mark the 100th anniversary of Sinn Féin, the party is hosting a major conference 'An Ireland of Equals' in County Monaghan. The event is being hosted by Mayor of Monaghan Pat Treanor and will discuss the shape, form and nature that a re-united Ireland will take.

"We need to start discussing the practical steps that need to be taken to complete the journey to Irish independence and unity and the challenges and opportunities facing all of us on the island. Following the launch of our campaign earlier this year to get the Irish government to bring forward a Green Paper on Irish unity, we have seen the opening up of the debate right across the island. The government are re-instating the commemoration for the Easter Rising, Fine Gael are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Sinn Féin and last month we had the first ever debate on Irish unity in the Dáil. Irish unity must be more than an aspiration or an objective, however sincerely held, if we are serious we need to work together towards Irish unity.

"This weekend Sinn Féin will be discussing a number of key themes: Framework for governance in a re-united Ireland Practical planning in the transition to Irish unity A constitution for new Ireland Social inclusion, human rights and participatory democracy

"The all-Ireland aspects of the Good Friday Agreement need to be strengthened and built upon. The Irish government needs to bring forward a Green Paper on Irish unity. They should be initiating and sustaining a planned programme of all-Ireland social and economic development which aims to remove the obstacles created by partition, strengthen the links between the people in all parts of Ireland and integrate the economy and society.

"Sinn Féin is setting out our vision of an inclusive Ireland - an Ireland where diversity is valued and the greatest possible participation of the people of the island in the civil and political life of the country is a primary objective. Republicanism is about much more than re-uniting Ireland. It is about equality and utilising the resources of the country in the interests of all of us who live here.

"Addressing the conference will be Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Caitríona Ruane and Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. There will also be a wide range of speakers including: Trade Unionists Inez McCormick and Mick O'Reilly, Kate Burns - Cross Border Corridor Group - ICBAN, Daithi Joyce - Irish Travellers' Movement, Sanna Brolin - Swedish Left Party and a number of speakers from the community sector and human rights organisations.

"1905 was a time of renewal and rebirth in Ireland and Sinn Féin was the political expression of that new confidence. There was a coming together of republicans, nationalists, the Trade Union movement, the Women's Suffrage movement, the Gaelic League. If Irish unity is to be achieved we need to see the coming together of all those who want to bring it about." ENDS

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