29 January 2009 Edition
Cuige Uladh AGM
‘Sinn Féin now the cutting edge of the struggle’
IN HIS ADDRESS to the Cuige Uladh AGM on Saturday, 18 January, leading republican Seán ‘Spike’ Murray, the Cúige Chairperson, urged the hundreds of party activists gathered in the Felons’ Club in west Belfast to recognise that “the cutting edge of the struggle is now located in the party”.
Murray, who was re-elected to the post of Cuige Chair, emphasised “the key challenge for us is to build a party capable of winning this struggle, a party which remains relevant to and in touch with our people, a party which is radical enough with the essential competence, skills and professionalism with the capacity to deliver freedom, justice and equality for the Irish people”.
The west Belfast republican, who was brought up in the Clonard area and who witnessed the pogroms of 1969 at first hand, reminded delegates that this year 2009 sees the 40th anniversary of events which saw the nationalist population of the Six Counties challenge unionist domination.
“In July and August of this year, we will witness the 40th anniversary of events which define the Orange state’s response to nationalist demands for basic civil rights and which triggered the genesis of our current phase of struggle, namely the brutalisation of nationalists in Dungiven, Armagh, Coalisland, Dungannon and other towns throughout the North.
“This unionist brutality culminated in the Battle of the Bogside and the subsequent pogroms waged against the people the Clonard, the Falls and Ardoyne.
“These are important historical and political events so the cuige will be mobilising, in conjunction with the comhairle ceanntairs, around these events to ensure that they are commemorated while at the same time providing us with an opportunity, especially the younger generation, to reflect upon and learn the lessons of history.”
Given that party development was a core theme of his speech, Murray focused on the need for efficient internal communications and the need for an integrated strategic approach to our political objectives.
“Good internal communication is a prerequisite in our efforts to build the party. An information gap clearly exists between the cuige and the grassroots membership. Good communication is a skill, involving a two-way process of engagement aimed at disseminating information as well as allowing for feedback.”
With the forthcoming European elections very much to the fore of party activity, the Cuige Chair outlined the importance of “getting the preparatory work right” for the election on 4 June.
“We need to get the registration sorted out and start to crank up the electoral machine.
“We also want to develop the concept of the political canvass as a tool that allows us to identify issues and priorities by listening to the views of our constituents.”
Concluding, Murray called on activists to “collectively reflect on what we have achieved and the suffering we have endured to deliver those achievements”.
“Let us rise together to meet the challenges ahead, as we build political strength as the mechanism to deliver a free, united, independent and socialist Ireland.”
• Martin McGuinness addressing the Cúige Uladh AGM