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3 November 2005 Edition

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Irish unity - turning rhetoric into reality

In recent weeks and months, spurred on no doubt by the increasing growth in support for Sinn Féin throughout Ireland, political parties in the 26 Counties have been tripping over themselves to affirm their republican credentials.

Fianna Fáil is focussing on the 100th anniversary of 1916 and has declared it will re-instate the annual state Easter parade commemorating the 1916 Rising. Fine Gael is fronting a new organisation 'Collins 22', staking a claim to inheritance of the Tan War IRA leader. Labour have momentarily restored the name of James Connolly to their political vocabulary and even the PDs have started referring to themselves as 'legitimate republicans'.

All of this is to be welcomed. Sinn Féin does not claim to be the sole representatives of republican ideals. It wants to work with the widest range of parties, groups and individuals to achieve a national democracy on this island. Sinn Féin will always put that goal before narrow party political interests.

Last week Bertie Ahern issued a letter to the leaders of all Leinster House parties proposing participation in a Committee of the whole Dáil by MPs in the Six Counties. The reaction was one of outrage from the same self-professed republicans parties. In their clamour to exclude Sinn Féin, the PDs, Labour and Fine Gael also abandoned their pet project, the SDLP.

The reaction of these partitionist parties to the Taoiseach's proposal showed how little they really care for the views of the SDLP whose credentials they trumpet, when it suits them.

Most disturbing of all however is the malign influence over government policy on the Peace Process and on national unity being exercised by PD Justice Minister Michael McDowell. His recent pronouncements on the issue of Oireachtas representation has raised the spectre of a PD veto over government policy on the Six Counties.

Leinster House parties this week debated a considered, progressive and practical Sinn Féin motion calling for a Green Paper on Irish unity. It asks all the parties to renew their support for the Good Friday Agreement, to promote all-Ireland strategies and to prepare for Irish unification. It goes beyond the symbolic gestures that others have often made in the past and looks at the possibility of a united Ireland in our lifetime, not as an elusive pipe dream.

This is truly an occasion where all parties have been given the opportunity to turn rhetoric into reality.

An Phoblacht Magazine


  • Don't miss your chance to get the second edition of the 2019 magazine, published to coincide with Easter Week
  • This special edition which focuses on Irish Unity, features articles by Pearse Doherty, Dr Thomas Paul and Martina Anderson.
  • Pearse sets out the argument for an United Ireland Economy whilst Pat Sheehan makes the case for a universally free all-island health service.
  • Other articles include, ‘Ceist teanga in Éirinn Aontaithe’, ‘Getting to a new Ireland’ and ‘Ireland 1918-22: The people’s revolution’.

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