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7 March 2016 Edition

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A breakthrough election; Start of the Hunger Strike

Editorial – Eagarfhocal

In 1916, the Establishment media railed against republicans; in 2016, the Easter Rising centenary year, we saw history repeating itself as the anti-equality, anti-fairness, anti-republican media attacked Sinn Féin once again.

THE Dáil general election of 26 February 2016 was a breakthrough election – it broke the stranglehold of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil on power in the South and it saw Sinn Féin break new territory with a significantly increased team of TDs that places it in pole position to cahllenge the status quo.

No longer can the ‘big beasts’ of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil presume that one of them has the right to hold power as the dominant force in Government. The merry go round of power has come to a halt.

The inexorable rise of Sinn Féin and the Right2Change campaign that has emerged from the mass rallies of the Right2Water grassroots resistance is challenging the hegemony of the Golden Circles, patrons of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour received their lowest combined support in the history of the state. In the 1990s, these three parties received over 80% of the first-preference vote – now it’s down to 56%.

Sinn Féin did have a good election – increasing its seats in the Dáil from 14 to 23 is significant, especially in the face of the vitriol poured on the party, its activists and voters by the corporate print media owned by billionaire tax exiles and their cronies.

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In 1916, the Establishment media railed against republicans; in 2016, the Easter Rising centenary year, we saw history repeating itself  as the anti-equality, anti-fairness, anti-republican media attacked Sinn Féin once again.

The self-aggrandisement of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil leaders has increased disillusionment about party politics amongst a long-suffering electorate, some of whom have switched to Sinn Féin;  others have out their faith in self-styled Independents. ‘Independent’ has become a badge of honour for some dedicated, genuine activists (including a number who have signed up to the Right2Change Principles) but it is also a flag of convenience for self-interested mavericks who have fallen out with their parties and remain in their respective “gene pool”, waiting for the right offer to buy their vote to put Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil back into power.

It is the job of Sinn Féin activists to restore people’s faith in party politics and convince them that the road to achieving real change requires a strong, cohesive pary with a programme that complements the Right2Change Principles.

That party is Sinn Féin. Let’s get to it.

This election is over; the fight goes on.

Hunger Strike

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IN THIS 1916 CENTENARY YEAR, we also mark the 35th anniversary of the 1981 H-Blocks Hunger Strike.

It is a time to honour those heroic young men who gave their lives in 1981 and all the men and women who endured the suffering of hunger strikes, force feeding, prison protests and prison brutality down the centuries in Britain’s never-ending campaign to criminalise republicans.

It is a time to pay our respects to the prisoners, their families and communities but also to remember what their struggle – our struggle – was and is all about . . . a united Ireland based on the Proclamation of 1916.

“I may die, but the Republic of 1916 will never die. Onward to the Republic and liberation of our people.” – Bobby Sands

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