AP 4-2023 top

20 December 2007 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Sinn Féin looking forward with confidence

For republicans the past year was marked by significant progress and some disappointment. As it draws to a close Sinn Féin emerges stronger and more equipped to make political advances.
January saw the party make the historic decision to engage with the PSNI, and to hold the North’s police service to account. Already that decision has resulted in tangible progress on the ground.
Negotiations between Sinn Féin and the DUP resulted in the re-establishment of political institutions in the Six Counties. Assembly elections saw Sinn Féin win 28 seats and Martin McGuinness now leads Sinn Féin’s Ministerial team in a power-sharing government with the DUP. Many thought this could never happen. But Sinn Féin’s tenacity and political skill confounded all of the sceptics and the efforts of republicans once again made everything possible.
Significant advances made by Sinn Féin in the 26 Counties in recent years inevitably awakened the political establishment to the fact that Sinn Féin was a serious political and electoral threat and they have been engaged in a protracted political counter offensive. This reached a peak at the general election last May. Republicans were disappointed when Sinn Féin failed to build on its Dáil representation and lost Seán Crowe’s seat in Dublin South West.
Following the election republicans engaged in a consultation process as intensive as that which preceded the Ard Fheis on policing. It produced key conclusions for Sinn Féin's future work, which will result in a party fit to meet the political challenges of Ireland in the 21st century.
This week, the Fianna Fáil/PD/Green Party Government rushed a Bill through the Dáil, which gives legal backing to its private, for-profit hospital co-location plan. Sinn Féin opposed the Bill just as it opposes the government’s inequitable health policies based on the maintenance of a two-tier system and privatisation by stealth. The party will continue to campaign for a world-class health service in Ireland based on equality of access for all citizens.
Last week, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern joined EU heads of state to sign the Lisbon Treaty, which will be put to a referendum in 2008. The treaty involves the most substantial transfer of powers from member states to the European Council and Commission in the history of the European Union. Ratification would result in the influence of smaller European states reduced as the dominance of larger states is consolidated. It also accelerates the militarisation of the EU, and advances an economic agenda based on a race to the bottom for wages and workers’ rights. Over the coming months Sinn Féin will be the only significant political party campaigning against the treaty.
At the end of 2007 Irish republicanism has never been more relevant. Much has been achieved in our struggle and while more challenges remain, Sinn Féin goes into the future with renewed confidence. A united Ireland built on the principles of equality and real social justice has yet to be realised and Sinn Féin is the most effective political vehicle for the achievement of that objective.
Finally, everyone at An Phoblacht would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and sellers a Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2008.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1