Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

16 July 2009 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Another View by Eoin Ó Broin

The future of Dublin Sinn Féin

DUBLIN Sinn Féin had a bad election. In the locals we took 36,259 votes and 8.6% of the poll. In the European contest we took 47,928 votes and 11.8% of the poll.
We lost four councillors and our MEP.
However, despite the losses, we have halted the decline. In the 2007 generals we took 35,259 votes and 6.9% of the poll. 
A generous reading of the 5 June results has Dublin Sinn Féin up two points in the locals and five points in the Europeans from 2007.
I don’t say this to gloss over the election or to put a positive spin on what was unquestionably a bad result. Rather I want to point out where the trend is going. Clearly we have regained some of the ground lost in 2007.
The question now for Dublin Sinn Féin is: how can we build on this upward trend in the weeks and months ahead?

THE straight answer is that we need to be crystal clear about who we are, what we want and how we intend to achieve it.
Sinn Féin is a republican socialist party. Our politics are rooted in the 1916 Proclamation and the 1919 Democratic Programme of the First Dáil. They are democratic, republican, socialist, feminist and internationalist.
We want an end to partition and to create  a national democracy based on principles of social and economic justice and political and cultural equality.
We want to end poverty, inequality, discrimination and marginalisation in our communities in our city and across our country.
In order to achieve these objectives, Dublin Sinn Féin must  build our political strength organisationally and electorally.
But that alone will not allow us to achieve our objectives. We must also build and drive an alliance for change, in  our communities and across the city, the aim of which is to deliver real change in the quality of people’s lives.

SO how can we achieve all of this?
By articulating a political project that speaks to the needs, hopes and aspirations of those who were excluded and marginalised during the boom years and those who are feeling the pain of the recession.
By being embedded in our local communities, empowering people through campaigning on the streets and in the media and through assertive representation in the councils and Leinster House.
By connecting our community campaigning with our work in the councils and Leinster House in order to deliver  better services and better legislation.
By building sustained alliances with the trade union movement and the community and voluntary sector  to the same end.
The time has come for Dublin Sinn Féin to take responsibility for our own future. We must rebuild our organisation, re-engage our communities and drive forward an agenda for real change.
Writing in An Phoblacht last week, Toiréasa Ferris asked if we “Remember the passion, the self-confidence, the enthusiasm there was in Sinn Féin at the time many of us joined?”
I do, and like Toiréasa I believe that the time has come to “get back that self-belief”.
Southern Irish society is in need of a clear, credible and radical alternative to the faileed politics and policies of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.  Sinn Féin has that alternative, a left republican alternative.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1