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13 December 2007 Edition

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Republican alternative offers a better future for Ireland

Last weekend saw Sinn Féin members from across Ireland gather in Dublin for a significant conference to map a way forward for the party in the 26 Counties. Party members agreed on an ambitious programme to expand the national leadership, to re-organise, re-structure, and recruit greater numbers of people and to present relevant policies that meet the needs of Ireland in the 21st century. This must include the key issues of economic development, community safety and policing, climate change and the new communities that have come to Ireland in recent years.
Republican activists are acutely aware of the real political opportunities that now exist for a modern, dynamic Irish republican party and are ready to take advantage of them. Sinn Féin is determined to popularise the demand for Irish re-unification and to broaden and deepen the party’s roots within the community and in every aspect of public life in Ireland.
Last Sunday’s conference marked the effective beginning of Sinn Féin's campaigns against the Lisbon EU Treaty and for the European and Local Government elections, which will take place in less than two years.
It is vitally important that Sinn Féin, as the only significant party in Ireland with a proper critical analysis of the implications of Lisbon Treaty provides effective political leadership in opposition to it. The Treaty would increase the EU’s democratic deficit, reducing the influence of smaller European states in decision-making aswell as accelerating the militarisation of the EU. The Treaty also advances an economic agenda based on a race to the bottom for wages and workers’ rights.
If anything demonstrated the need for a real republican party with a vision of a cohesive, inclusive society, it is the recent spate of drug-related deaths across the 26 Counties. A renewed drugs epidemic is having devastating consequences for Irish society. Cocaine in particular is now wreaking havoc across all classes, resulting in addiction, overdoses, anti-social behaviour and gangland murders. Cocaine is now available in every town and village in the country and the state appears impotent in the face of this crisis.
The dark side of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland is a fracturing of society and the rise of a host of new social problems including a third world health system, huge rates of personal debt, a drugs epidemic, the inability to afford a home and horrific planning resulting in a car-dependant, commuter nightmare. All of this is the result of shortsighted policies pursued by recent Irish governments who have promoted an excessively individualist culture and the concept of people as consumers rather than citizens.
Genuine republicanism puts the citizen at the heart of society. Irish republicanism has never been more relevant than it is today. Sinn Féin is the vehicle to deliver on the republican vision of a better Ireland. The work must now begin in earnest to build Sinn Féin in every part of this country and to work hard to win the support of even greater numbers of people to our vision of an Ireland of equals.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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