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14 May 1998 Edition

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Prepare for the next phase of struggle

Sinn Féin's Ard Fheis on Sunday 10 May has cleared the decks for the next phase of republican struggle. If the referendum results in a majority Yes vote in the Six Counties, the new institutions provided for in the Good Friday document will come into being. These include a Six County Assembly.

The election to a future Assembly in the Six Counties is the next battle in the republican struggle. It is imperative that as many republicans as possible are elected to that body.

Sinn Féin is the only party which will test the new structures provided by the agreement to their very limits. Without a strong Sinn Féin presence in the Assembly, the North/South bodies and the commitments to equality and rights for nationalists will not be developed.

It is important that Sinn Féin organisers and activists across the Six Counties prepare now for that election. There needs to be a national focus by republicans on the election and whatever support can be given by republicans in the 26 Counties will be important.

The changes made to the Sinn Féin constitution last weekend, which free the party's hand to take part in a future assembly, are only the beginning of the next phase. The struggle is far from over and we are entering dangerous and unchartered waters. The forces of reaction in the Six Counties have still to be decisively faced down and they pose difficulties both physical and political on the road ahead.

The two forthcoming separate referendums do not constitute the exercise of national self-determination, and the Sinn Féin leadership stated that clearly to the weekend Ard Fheis. Sinn Féin does not and will never accept the legitimacy of the Six County state or the unionist veto on constitutional change in Ireland. The Good Friday document is not a political settlement. We have a long way to go before the achievement of a national democracy in Ireland. Therefore the struggle for freedom continues.

Last Sunday was an important day for republicans but not as important as tomorrow or the next day. Let us prepare now for the next phase.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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