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22 November 2007 Edition

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Back on the political offensive

Hundreds of Sinn Féin members from all over Ireland met in internal conference last weekend in a culmination of several months of intense discussion concerning the party organisation in the 26 Counties.
Since the general election campaign, 25 consultation meetings have taken place across the South and more follow up meetings were conducted regionally to report back on decisions taken by the Ard Chomhairle in response to issues raised by party members.
Last weekend’s conference concluded discussions on a political, organisational and electoral strategy to further republican objectives in the run up to the EU Reform Treaty and the 26 County local and European elections in 2009. Work has already begun on overhauling Sinn Féin structures in the 26 Counties. The process of regaining political momentum will continue with a major public conference on 9 December in Dublin. Activists are ready and willing for the battle to put Sinn Féin at the mainstream of political life in the 26 Counties.
The arrogance of the current Fianna Fáil/PD/Green Government has become very clear in recent weeks and months. Bertie Ahern has signaled that this will be his last term as Taoiseach. The government is mired more deeply than ever in the mess they have created in the health services. The current economic slowdown will see its management of the economy increasingly under closer scrutiny. They will be found wanting, especially in areas such as housing, job creation, and pay and conditions for workers.
All this creates space for a campaigning republican party of the left. Sinn Féin is that party and we must mobilise support for a united Ireland based on equality and justice.
Sinn Féin seeks to inspire people with a vision as well as energise them with the prospect of real change for the better in their lives, in the lives of their communities and the life of the nation. We seek to be both visionary and practical. Sinn Féin's republican message is correct and must it be heard by increasing numbers of people in the time ahead.
The forthcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is hugely important. The Greens have abandoned their previous Euro-critical stance and Sinn Féin remains the only substantial political force in the 26 Counties that retains a policy of critical engagement with the EU and that is not prepared to swallow whatever emanates from Brussels and Strasbourg as successive Irish Governments of all parties have done. Sinn Féin will go into the referendum with the determination to win it.
The Local Government and EU elections in 2009 must mark the culmination of Sinn Féin's renewed offensive in the 26 Counties and the party will seek to build significantly on the gains it made in 2004.
Sinn Féin is back on the political offensive in the 26 Counties. The republican struggle has entered a new phase.

An Phoblacht
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