17 November 2005 Edition
Mapping the road to an Ireland of Equals
Key conference: United Ireland must involve structural change
An open conference will be held in Monaghan on Saturday 26 November to discuss the shape of a new Ireland. The conference, entitled An Ireland of Equals/Eire na gComhionann, forms part of Sinn Féin's Céad Bliain commemorative events and brings together activists from within and outside of Sinn Féin, to engage on ways of advancing human rights-based governance and participatory democracy in a new Ireland.
The conference agenda underlines the need to discuss new structures of governance, social and economic organisation, and the type of constitution required in a new Ireland of equals, which is not based on impoverishment and the persistent exclusion of sections of society.
A new, united Ireland must include structural change. The question is what new structures need to emerge. Many people have pointed out that if society does not discuss such ideas now, that the type of united Ireland which could come about would take the form of a '32-County Free State', with all the attendant injustices and inequalities. This would be a betrayal of all the hard years of republican struggle and republican sacrifice for a different and better type of Ireland.
Alternatively it has been said that Ireland may end up with a form of economic unification, which suits capital and governments to bring about, but without the political and structural changes needed to challenge those structures which foster inequality and discrimination in our society today.
Gerry Adams will make the keynote address, followed by five key workshops. These will focus on: Anti-poverty and Social inclusion; A Constitution for a United Ireland; Structures and Human rights; The EU and the Border Experience; Community Empowerment through social and economic rights and lastly, the key question of Participatory Democracy.
These are the questions which are at the cutting edge for Sinn Féin as it sets in train a process which can advance us towards a 32-County democratic socialist republic.
• Anyone wanting to attend this important conference and has special requirements should contact Helena Shane @ 0044 7765093673, or Joe Doherty @ 0044 7921857474, as soon as possible.