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27 March 2008 Edition

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Moving towards a united Ireland

Last weekend Irish republicans gathered across the 32 Counties for the annual commemorations of the Easter Rising in 1916.  In commemorating and celebrating the bravery of those in 1916 and since, they also paid tribute to the IRA of this generation which has played a central role in this phase of the struggle.
The current generation of Irish republicans has a cohesive strategy to bring about Irish freedom and unity.  Part of that strategy has involved negotiation and compromise with the historic enemy and with opponents in preparing the ground for a radical transition to all-Ireland political and economic institutions.
The Irish Government cannot be allowed to sit on its hands on the question of Irish unity.  Instead of handing over more authority to the EU under the Lisbon Treaty it should be producing a Green Paper on Irish Unity; it should be expanding the existing All-Ireland implementation bodies; it should be giving speaking rights to Northern MP’s in the Dáil and voting rights to citizens in the Six Counties, in Presidential Elections.  It should be engaging unionism to promote and seek support for the re-unification of Ireland.  
In recent weeks and months elements in the DUP have been sounding increasingly offensive and abusive, particularly on the Irish Language Act and the Transfer of Powers on Policing and Justice.  Despite this progress will be made.  Republicans will not allow the rejectionists to stop the agenda for change.
Unionists should be assured that republicans are totally committed to equality for everybody in this country, nationalist and unionist alike. The goal of Irish republicans is an inclusive national unity where unionists and others will feel welcome.  So, republicans have a duty to persuade unionists that they should not be afraid of taking a leap of imagination.  
While much work remains to be done, Irish republicans are confident that we are moving ever closer to a united Ireland. Over Easter we remembered our fallen comrades, their families and loved ones.  They have our continuing support and solidarity. We remembered also those republican prisoners in jail who should be released immediately and those ‘on the run’ who would have been released had they been in jail. These issues need to be resolved.
Sinn Féin is building its political strength across the 32 Counties of Ireland. The party eagerly seeks more members, particularly women and young people and is confident of increasing its political strength right across the island. The stronger Sinn Féin is, the closer the goal of a united Ireland built on the principles of equality and social justice.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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