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Delivering fundamental political, social and economic change is the challenge facing Sinn Féin today - Doherty

21 July, 2007

Sinn Féin Seanad Candidate Pearse Doherty today gave the main oration at the annual Volunteer Pat Cannon commemoration, which took place at Balgriffin Cemetery.

Pearse Doherty said:

“Patrick Cannon was a young man from this city. At a time when the political establishment in this State at best stood idly by and ignored the plight of the nationalist and republican community in the north he took a conscious decision to join the republican struggle.

“31 years ago, in July 1976, Patrick along with another young IRA Volunteer Peter McElchar from my own county of Donegal were killed in a premature explosion near Castlederg in County Tyrone.

“The decision by the IRA leadership to end the armed campaign ensures that a heavy burden of responsibility has been passed onto the shoulders of everyone here to advance our struggle for a united and independent country.

“A political and peaceful path to achieve Irish unity exists. But bringing about such fundamental political social and economic change will not happen by accident or will not happen if we do not bring it about. That is the task that faces us as Sinn Féin activists in the coming years.

“It may not seem it now but the local elections are not far off. We need to get the right candidates selected and we need to quickly get down to the hard work of delivering seats for Sinn Féin. Building political strength and using that strength to deliver change is the task we have set ourselves.

“We are in this for the long haul. The combined efforts of the British State, unionist death squads and heavy gangs in this state didn’t defeat our struggle. We need to build a party that is fit for purpose and fit to overcome the challenges of the new political environment we find ourselves in. Republicans have always had the ability to adapt to different and difficult circumstances and this is no different at this time.

“So I would say to people to stay focused, stayed united and keep your eye on the prize. Sinn Féin is playing for very big stakes. We are in this together and we are in this to win. So look back with pride upon the gains we have made. Consolidate them and press ahead with the next phase of our struggle. Let us gather here again next year with much of the rebuilding work done and with a party facing into a local election campaign giving leadership and confident of success.”CRÍOCH


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