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16 April 2009 Edition

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Remembering 1916, building for Irish unity

REPUBLICANS throughout the length and breadth of Ireland turned out in large numbers last weekend to mark the 93rd anniversary of the 1916 Rising.
At Easter commemorations the 90th anniversary of An Chéad Dáil and the 100th anniversary of the founding of Na Fianna Éireann were also marked.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of momentous events in the North such as the Battle of the Bogside and the burning of nationalist streets in Belfast by loyalists and the RUC. These and other terrible events were to shape politics, not just in the North, but throughout Ireland for the following four decades. They marked also the resurgence of republican resistance to Partition and British rule in Ireland.
The conflict that ensued from 1969 saw much hurt and many victims on all sides and the British Government in particular has yet to fully acknowledge its role as a protagonist in that conflict. It is time the British Government dealt honestly and fairly with the many victims of its policies of assassination, shoot-to-kill and collusion with unionist paramilitaries.
The 355 men and women, most of them IRA Volunteers, on the Republican Roll of Honour are also victims of the conflict. Republicans remembered their sacrifice at last weekend’s commemorations and recommitted themselves to the cause for which they paid the ultimate sacrifice.
The Peace Process of recent years has transformed politics in Ireland. The Orange state as we knew it is a thing of the past. An increasingly confident nationalist community is taking co-ownership of every sphere of public, political and institutional life in the North. For republicans all of this is part of a bigger journey towards a united Ireland.
Sinn Féin seeks to maximise popular opinion in active support of this aim, including mobilising the Irish diaspora around the world. As part of this Sinn Féin will, this summer, hold two major conferences in the USA and a conference in Britain.
The progress of recent years has meant that the struggle for Irish freedom has entered a new phase where peaceful, democratic means provide the way forward. But there is still a significant way to go before the achievement of republican goals.
British jurisdiction in Ireland will end through the combined will and the combined efforts of Irish people.
Recent actions by small militarist factions are designed to undermine the Peace Process. But they cannot turn the clock back. Whatever their real motives they offer no realistic alternative to the republican political strategy being pursued by Sinn Féin and backed by a majority of nationalists in the North. They have no viable strategy to advance the cause of Irish freedom.
In our journey towards a united, independent Ireland, republicans seek to make peace with our unionist fellow countrymen and women. The new Ireland we seek is one in which the unionist section of our people feels secure. The fulfillment of the vision of 1916 will be the peaceful coming together of Orange and Green.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1