24 November 2022 Edition
The threshold of a new era
A century ago, Ireland was being pulled apart, not just physically partitioned, but spiritually and socially also, as the republican ideal was usurped in favour of a conservative, elitist, class-based distortion of what a free equal Ireland should have been.
This November’s Sinn Féin Ard Fheis clearly signposted how the republic envisioned in the 1916 Proclamation and the First Dáil can be returned. The first full Ard Fheis since the 2020 Dáil and 2022 Assembly elections and the end of the Covid lockdown was the coming together of the elected representatives and membership of Ireland’s largest political party.
Dublin’s RDS was filled with plans and ideas for the better Ireland and how we can take the next steps and build a society that really does cherish everyone equally. Sinn Féin Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald captured the spirit of the moment when she said, “We meet in Dublin in a spirit of ambition, enthusiasm, hope for the future. Together we seize the day”. McDonald told delegates and the watching TV audience that “We stand on the threshold of a new era”.
This edition of An Phoblacht tries to give some flavour of what that day was like, and you can still dip in and out of the video feed of the day’s proceedings. We carry in full the speeches of Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill as well views and contributions from a range of our elected representatives north and south.
One of the other themes of this issue is the marking of the executions during the Civil War of republican prisoners beginning in November 1922 with the killing of Richard Twohig, James Fisher, John Gaffney, and Peter Cassidy at dawn on 17 November 2022.
We have articles on Erskine Childers and Liam Mellows, executed on 24 November and 8 December respectively. Micheál Mac Donncha quotes Mellows extensively in his article. He highlights key points such as where Mellows wrote how, “James Connolly realised that if Ireland were really to be free, it must be owned by the Irish people; that it was little use freeing Ireland from foreign tyranny if, in the course of a comparatively short time, it would fall under domestic tyranny”
And how “the ‘stake in the country’ people were never with the Republic” and that republicans should “base our appeals upon the understanding and needs of those who have always borne Ireland’s fight”.
This November nearly a century on from Mellows’ execution Irish republicans are once again organising around these very themes, working for Irish unity and campaigning on the needs of those in the front line of Ireland’s cost of living, housing, and health crises.
Last word to Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald, “Friends, it’s time for change”.