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15 December 2005 Edition

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Nollaig Shona

On behalf of everyone at An Phoblacht we take this opportunity to wish all of our readers and sellers a very Merry Christmas and all the best wishes for 2006.

This past year has been an historic one for Sinn Féin. A huge range of events marking the extraordinary story of 100 years of political struggle was attended by people right across the country. Sinn Féin has raised its profile further through the centenary celebrations in areas where it may have been weak in the past. In other areas the party has gone from strength to strength.

A key event in the past year's Céad Bliain celebrations was the re-launch at the end of September of An Phoblacht with a new, fresher look to meet the challenges and opportunities of the years that lie ahead in a rejuvenated struggle for a united Ireland of Equals.

Next year marks another historic anniversary for Irish republicanism — the 25th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strikes. The heroism and selflessness of Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O'Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kieran Doherty, Kevin Lynch, Thomas McElwee and Mickey Devine, brought our struggle to the attention of the world and inspired freedom-loving people everywhere. The Hunger Strikes too, ultimately had a huge influence on the course, direction and nature of the struggle itself. We must ensure, not only that the memory of the Hunger Strikers is honoured, but that the 25th anniversary of their momentous sacrifice becomes an occasion to build further the struggle for freedom and justice in Ireland. The achievements of the ideals for which they died would truly be the best tribute that we could pay the Hunger Strikers.

The relaunch of An Phoblacht two months ago was just the beginning of a process of putting An Phoblacht back at the very centre of republican political activity. Much work lies ahead to ensure that the invaluable tool of struggle which is the weekly republican newspaper is taken up by republican activists.

To those activists across the island we say that An Phoblacht is your paper. An Phoblacht is a very direct, straightforward way of spreading the republican message; of advertising republican events; of educating new members; of learning about campaigns elsewhere that you may want to initiate in your area.

Above all An Phoblacht gives you the unmediated republican message week-in-week out. In the year that lies ahead, and with your help, we intend to do that even better, every week.

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