17 January 2002 Edition

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The Cats are back

The past year has been a hugely successful one for Sinn Féin, both electorally and also in terms of growth throughout the island. One of the counties experiencing a republican rénaissance having spent many years in the wilderness with no party organisation is Kilkenny.

James Stephens cumann PRO, Tom Kiernan recalls "a strong cumann back in the mid-'70s spearheaded by the late Paddy Dollard. However, following Paddy's imprisonment and his subsequent death following his release, republicanism seemed to all but disappear in the county. It was a hostile time when people kept their heads down and their mouths shut. Yet throughout those dark years of the eighties, a lone figure, Stephen Mulally stood out and kept the torch alight, selling An Phoblacht around the pubs and often enduring much abuse as a result. He is now a valued member of our vibrant new organisation."

Kiernan says that over the past year Sinn Féin has seen a rapid growth, "to an extent that we are now extremely confident of getting candidates elected in the next local elections. In the meantime we are throwing our weight behind John Dwyer's campaign in County Wexford to take a Leinster House seat for the South East."

" Over the past year, all events we organised commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the hunger strike were very successful, well attended and received good media coverage. Since then, we have started to tend to some of Kilkenny's many forgotten republican graves; revived Rathvilly's Kevin Barry commemoration in neighbouring Carlow, which was a huge success, and have kept the banner of the James Stephens cumann aloft at rallies in Belfast and Dublin. In November, we hosted parents form Ardoyne's Holy Cross school and also made a visit to the area."

The future is looking bright according to Tom, who told us that the organisation is on steady ground, so much so that two further cumainn will be soon sprouting up in the south of the county.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1