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27 July 2006 Edition

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The Mitchel McLaughlin Column

Elections crucial to building New Ireland

In less than a year we will have fought a General Election in the 26 Counties. That this will be the most important election we have fought to date is not just a platitude that the party leadership rolls out before every election. It is a fact of life for republicans if we are serious about building an Ireland of Equals.

Each election that we fight is important because it provides us with another opportunity to build on our previous successes and address our inadequacies. It provides us with the means to repulse the attacks by those intent on besmirching the republican contribution to the Irish Peace Process. Remember the onslaught following the Northern Bank and the Mc Cartney murder. Our political enemies mounted a campaign of vilification, allegations and smear on an international scale to stop our electoral advance. Despite the ferocity of these attacks we went on to increase our support in four successive elections North and South.

Therefore when you hear the inevitable "this is the most important election" don't be blasé - believe it. Remember every other party will be fighting on an anti-Sinn Féin platform. We have the motivation and the organisation to once more resist the predictable attacks and to continue our forward march. In the current political atmosphere if we deliver a substantial increase in our popular vote and number of TDs it could allow us to influence positively the political process North and South.

The stronger our elected representation the greater our influence will be on government policy, not just in the socio-economic sphere in the 26 Counties but in progressing the political process in the North and expansion of all-Ireland structures. Now that Labour has officially aligned itself with the right-wing philosophy of Fine Gael, I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to establish Sinn Féin as the party of choice of the radical left and republican labour electorate. Pat Rabitte's blind ambition has betrayed everything the Connolly-inspired Irish Labour Movement aspired to. With his thirst for power it is only a matter of time before Pat Rabitte completes the circle from left to right by leading Labour into amalgamation with Fine Gael. Sinn Féin has never been better placed to represent what I believe to be the natural politics of the majority of the people of Ireland i.e. Republican Labour.

Sinn Féin intends to be a Party of government in a New Ireland. We will, as we continue to build our electoral mandate, be a party of government North and South in the interim. Let us determine in this election to project Sinn Féin as the real alternative to the politics of greed and inequality that presently permeates Irish politics. Because of the opportunity before us this will be the most important election campaign yet.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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