Seán Treacy Commemoration – Mary Lou McDonald

Sunday 15th October, 2017.

The text of the oration delivered by Mary Lou is here: 2017-10-15-MLMcD-TextOfSpeech

There’s video of the oration:

And photographs… lots of photographs

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Liam Lynch commemoration, 2017

On Sunday 16th July the annual Liam Lynch commemoration was held in the Knockmealdown Mountains, above Goatenbridge in County Tipperary.

Well attended, we heard a lament played by Padraig O Cadhain, a little of which is here:

The oration was delivered by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, the final part of which is here:

Donnchadh reminded us that it is clear to all who look rationally and objectively at the present state of the ‘Republic’ of Ireland that the vision of 1916 and of 1919 has not been fulfilled.

Below are some of the photographs taken at the event, held as always in beautiful Irish July sunshine.

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Bodenstown 2017: Advancing towards Irish Unity – in the United Irish tradition

“Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home, an education, comprehensive health care free at the point of delivery, and, equal pay for equal work.” – Declan Kearney.

“To break the connection with England…and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland… and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter, these were my means.” – Wolfe Tone.


This is the address by Declan Kearney at Bodenstown 2017: Advancing towards Irish Unity – in the United Irish tradition

This time 220 years ago Ireland was in the midst of dramatic political and revolutionary change.

It was described as ‘The time of the Hurry’ in the poem ‘The man from God knows where’ dedicated to Thomas Russell.

The United Irishmen were the engine of that change.

Declan Kearney, Sinn Féin National Chairperson.

They took their inspiration from the new democratic and egalitarian ideals of the American and French revolutions.

They were Republican separatists committed to the promotion of anti-sectarianism, fraternity and equality.

They forged alliances across Irish society and mounted an unprecedented military insurgency in every Province.

In my own county the United Irishmen took control of towns like Randalstown and Ballymena. Local United Irish leaders such as Henry Joy McCracken, Roddy McCorley and William Orr remain household names to this day.

Jemmy Hope “The Weaver” from Templepatrick and his farseeing revolutionary vision became an ideological reference point for Fintan Lawlor and later generations of Irish Revolutionaries.

These and others personified the central tenet of emergent Irish Republicanism – the unity of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter.

Wolfe Tone famously summarised the United Irish Republican programme:

To break the connection with England…and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland… and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of Protestant, Catholic and dissenter, these were my means.”

As modern day Irish Republicans in the tradition of Tone, we are dedicated to the establishment of a national Republic, built upon equality, fraternity, unity and reconciliation between all citizens in Ireland.

Our primary aim is for an agreed, multicultural united Ireland, which celebrates diversity and equality, and shuns bigotry and discrimination.

Sinn Féin stands against all forms of sectarianism, racism, homophobia, sexism, and intolerance in society.

Today’s Ireland is one of huge social change and political realignment.

Partition continues to be the central fault line at the heart of Irish politics and society.

The imposition of the Brexit decision upon the people of the six counties has now magnified that fault line.

We are clear; Brexit is a by-product of partition and continued British jurisdiction in the North of our country.

It has now become a catalyst for a new realignment of politics in Ireland; in relations between this island and Britain: and, it is redefining politics in the British State and Europe itself.

Irish Unity has become central to the political discourse. 

Next Saturday in Belfast at the Waterfront our party will host a major national conference on Irish Unity to build on that discussion.

Many citizens are now looking beyond the Brexit fall out and towards new constitutional and political opportunities.

In the North, greater numbers of ordinary people are now more engaged with politics.

Young people have become increasingly politicised.

All that is reflected in the Assembly and General election results in March and just last week.

The election of 27 Sinn Féin MLA’s and 7 MPs with 239,000 votes is an historic high in electoral support for our party, and for progressive politics.

I want to thank every activist and supporter and all their families who contributed to these spectacular achievements; and also to all of our voters.

There is a building momentum for Irish Unity and in support of anti-unionist and progressive politics.

There is also a new, popular expectation of real, and substantial political change.

The people of the North have spoken.

Sinn Féin respects the mandate secured by the DUP.

But make no mistake Sinn Féin’s electoral mandate is a vindication of our pledge that there will be no return to the status quo: and I repeat; no citizen or section of society will be put to the back of the bus again.

In 1967 our parents and grandparents and others in this gathering set out to demand civil rights in the North. They were beaten and shot off the streets.

Fifty years later an equality revolution is happening in the six counties and it is being led by young people.

Agus tá siad tiomanta agus diongbhailte. Tá siad dearg le fearg agus tá muid go léir dearg le fearg.

For the first time since partition electoral support for political unionism has fallen below 50%.

These are the new realities.

And this is the new context for the current round of political talks.

Let us be clear – the political crisis in the North can be resolved.

The political institutions can be re-established.

However, that means the DUP and British government need to get the message – which they have ignored since Martin McGuinness’ resignation on 9th January.

So I will spell it out.

The equality and rights agenda is not negotiable.

Agreements previously made on equality, rights, parity of esteem and legacy must be implemented.

The Good Friday Agreement cannot be unpicked.

The political institutions must not be misused to advance institutionalised bigotry.

Continued refusal by the DUP and British government to accept these fundamental positions will create only one outcome: a future of permanent political instability.

The DUP have spent the last week in talks with the British Government trying to strike a deal which will keep the Tories in power.

As with Brexit, any deal with Tories will be bad for the economy, public services and for citizens.

This Tory government cares as little for working-class unionists as it does for working-class republicans.

Working-class unionists did not vote for Tories.

The DUP leadership know that. They know the north is of no consequence in Westminster.

Even Edward Carson recognised this nearly 100 years ago. He said:

“What a fool I was… in the political game that was to get the Conservative party into power.”

The central fact is the political process in the North remains overshadowed by financial scandals.

That is why Sinn Féin stood the DUP leader down from her position last January.

The focus on her future role in an Executive is completely misdirected and premature.

That discussion will only arise when there is an acceptable implementation plan to restore public confidence in the political process and ensures that the institutions will work on the basis of proper power sharing, equality, respect and integrity.

This is a serious situation, which demands a serious focus by all parties.

It is not a game, and it is certainly not a dance.

If the DUP really wants to go into the Executive, that party needs to decide whether it is now prepared to embrace a rights-based approach to government in the North.

Instead of pretending that a crisis does not really exist, the DUP should get with the programme.

If the DUP imagines it can wind back the clock, with a Tory side deal or not, and reestablish the institutions without adherence to equality and rights, then the DUP is indeed living in a fool’s paradise.

As for the two governments, instead of talking up the prospect of a successful outcome to these talks, they and the DUP should reread Martin McGuinness’ resignation letter on the 9th January.

It sets out exactly what is required to restore public confidence, and to create the conditions for proper government in the North.

We don’t need optical illusions; we expect change!

The new Irish government now carries a huge responsibility.

The failure of the last Irish government to fulfil its obligations as a co-guarantor for the Good Friday Agreement is a national scandal.

This dereliction of political leadership must end.

The new Taoiseach and his administration should now publicly disassociate itself from the pro-unionist, partisan position of the British government.

This Irish government should bring forward a comprehensive plan for Irish reunification, including:

     – A joint Oireachtas committee on preparing for Irish unity;

     – A government White Paper on national reunification; 

     – And, specific proposals for a unity referendum on the island.

This month 40 years ago and here at Tone’s grave our comrade Jimmy Drumm correctly observed that the achievement of national and social liberation relied upon the development of a popular progressive movement for change throughout Ireland.

Today we live in an Ireland of endemic financial scandal, political corruption, gombeen elites, discrimination and sectarianism.

The strategic position articulated by Jimmy Drumm in 1977 is now more relevant than ever.

The austerity programmes imposed by Fine Gael and the British Tories have entrenched social inequality, both North and South.

None of our children should have to live in fear from poverty or austerity; inequality or discrimination; or from intolerance or sectarianism.

Social inequality is the antithesis of values enshrined in the 1916 Proclamation and the democratic programme of 1919.

Every Irish citizen is entitled to a home, an education, comprehensive health care free at the point of delivery, and, equal pay for equal work.

Instead social inequality, political corruption and financial scandal have become bywords for public policy under Fine Gael.

The new Taoiseach seems determined to take his government further to the right.

If that is his intention, then he should call a general election now, and let the people cast its verdict on that political programme.

In those circumstances Sinn Féin will go forward with our progressive political agenda.

We know where we stand, and it’s not with the gombeen men, the crooks, or fat cats.

To paraphrase Tone Sinn Féin stands with:

That numerous and respectable class of the community, the men of no property.”

Irish unity has never been more achievable. 

But that goal is only inevitable when Republicans successfully persuade sufficient numbers of our people that an agreed, united Ireland will serve their interests.

The refusal of significant sections of political unionism to embrace a shared future, and divisions caused by deep-seated sectarianism, create enormous challenges for Republicans.

Yet despite that, we must continue to show generosity of spirit, and reassurance to our unionist neighbours in the North.

As agents of change it is up to us to reach into the wider unionist constituency.

As republicans in the United Irish tradition we have to demonstrate how their rights, traditions, and identity will be accommodated in a new constitutional framework of an agreed Ireland.

It is for us to convince them that it is far better for Irish unionists to exert their influence over a progressive Ireland, instead of being reduced to stage props for a right-wing British Tory government.

Sinn Féin’s policies on reconciliation and anti-sectarianism represent genuine contributions towards the development of reconciliation between Republicans and unionists, within Irish society, and, between Ireland and Britain.

These need to be internalised and mainstreamed within our political work, both North and South.

Our generation of Republicans are history makers.

Martin McGuinness atá anois ar shlí na fírinne, and whom we greatly miss here today, as well as others in our leadership, have brought us to this point.

Now it is for the rest of us to finish that work.

We must become the nation builders.

We must continue the transformation of Irish society.

Meeting these responsibilities requires a step change in our party.

We need to be always strategically focused, cohesive, flexible and creative.

Let us be clear: building popular support and political strength is not a plan for opposition.

Our political strategy is a road map for governmental power.

So that means Sinn Féin being in government North and South.

This is our road map to achieving national democracy and a united Ireland.

But being in government is not a vanity contest.

This party is not interested in acting as a prop for the status quo North or South.

Political institutions are not ends in themselves: they should be made to work as the means to make positive change.

And of course, we must avoid being defined by the nature of the political institutions.

Sinn Féin participation in the Dáil, Assembly, all-Ireland institutions and European Parliament must be at the heart of a broader momentum for political and social change in Ireland.

If change is to be people centred, then change must be driven by the people.

A popular democratic movement for transformation needs to be developed across Ireland.

That is a progressive coalition of political, civic, community, cultural and labour activists united in support of economic democracy, sustainable public services, equality, rights, and the welfare of citizens.

These are the means of modern Republicans today.

Ireland is in transition. Our party is in transition.

The process of leadership succession has already commenced.

We have begun to implement a ten-year plan to regenerate our party with more youth and women; and enhanced skills and capacity.

Mar sin, más cearta, cothromas agus Poblacht atá uaibh –  ná habraigí é – eagraigí, tógaigí, agus déanaigí é.

Bígí línne.

If you want equality and rights – if you want fairness in Irish society:

If you really want a Republic – then just don’t vote Sinn Féin:

Join Sinn Féin – and get your family and friends to do the same.

We continue to take our inspiration from Tone.

This afternoon in Bodenstown we stand resolute in the tradition of Henry Joy McCracken, William Orr, Roddy McCorley, Jemmy Hope, Betsy Gray and Mary-Anne McCracken.

Now let us go forward reenergised and confident, to mobilise and organise, and to achieve national independence and Irish Unity.

Sinn Féin Tipperary saddened at passing of McGuinness

PRESS RELEASE

2017-03-21

Martin McGuinness with members of the Sinn Féin cumann in Cashel.

Cllr Martin Browne of Sinn Féin Tipperary has expressed sadness on behalf of all Sinn Féin members in the county upon learning of the passing of Martin McGuinness, aged 66.

Cllr Browne said: “I wish to offer our greatest respect and sympathy to Martin’s family on his passing. Martin was a true Republican, and a man of his time who never shirked from his duties. While all of us know of him, and of his tireless work and his boundless energy, they know best of his private side.

Martin was a true hero, or laoch. He showed immense courage over his long career. He saw a problem and took a stand to solve it. Unlike so many he stood for something, and used his courage to stand and work for the Irish Republic.

He was unwavering in his determination, and took enormous personal risks to help establish peace. He was willing to talk and work with anyone in favour of that peace objective, and is a role model for us all of tolerance and respect.

His determination to establish and maintain a just peace on the island will be his greatest legacy. It only remains for us to complete the task.

On behalf of all members of Sinn Féin in Tipperary I offer our greatest comhbhrón. Our thoughts are with them, as surely as our respect is with Martin.”

I measc laochra na nGael go raibh a anam.”

Adams urges Irish government to raise Finucane case internationally

Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams TD, today raised the Pat Finucane case with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil.

He did so after the Court of Appeal in Belfast dismissed the appeal by the Finucane family against the refusal of the British government to honour its commitment on a Public Inquiry.

Speaking to the Taoiseach Gerry Adams called on the Irish government to bring the Finucane case before the United Nations, the European Union, the government of the United States and to every other available international forum.

Teachta Adams said:

“I have to ask the Taoiseach what the government has done to implement the Weston Park agreement between the British and Irish governments in 2001?

“This committed both governments to hold inquiries if a judge appointed to examine these cases recommended this. Judge Peter Cory concluded that four inquiries should be held. Three have taken place. But the British government has refused to hold an inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane!

“In October 2011 the British Prime Minister appointed Desmond de Silva to review the case files. The de Silva report was published in December 2012. It revealed a scale of collusion that is staggering. It serves to reinforce the need for an enquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane.”

De Silva revealed that:

·        85% of intelligence that the UDA used to target people for murder originated from British army and RUC sources

·        Agents working for MI5, RUC Special Branch and British Military Intelligence were participating in criminality, including murder.

·        This issue was also considered extensively at British cabinet level and ministers were aware that the agents were being run without guidelines. The director general of the MI5 briefed Margaret Thatcher in 1988.

Teachta Adams added:

“Pat Finucane’s murder by state agents was not a one-off incident – it was the norm. Collusion was a matter of institutional and administrative practise by successive British governments. It involved the establishing of unionist paramilitary groups, the systematic infiltration by the British of all unionist death squads at the highest levels, the controlling and directing of these groups, their training and providing them with information on people to be killed.

“The role of successive Irish governments in all of this has not been helpful, strategic or as consistent as it could be. That is why I urged the Taoiseach today to develop a strategy that will employ the full resources of our diplomatic service to raise this case with our international friends at every opportunity. This should include bringing the Pat Finucane case before the United Nations, the European Union, to the government of the United States and to every other available international forum.”

Gerry Adams TD commends family of Pat Finucane

Sinn Féin President, Gerry Adams TD, today raised the Pat Finucane case with the Taoiseach in the Dáil and calls on the Taoiseach to initiate a diplomatic offensive to get the British government to honour its obligations and commitments.

This morning the Belfast High Court dismissed the appeal of Geraldine Finucane against the British government for its refusal to hold the promised inquiry into his murder in February 1989.

The family have been involved in a long battle with the British state over the circumstances of Pat Finucane’s death and the role of the British state and of its agents in carrying out that murder.

Speaking to the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in the Dáil Gerry Adams TD said:

“I trust you noted that the Court of Appeal in Belfast has dismissed the appeal of Geraldine Finucane.

“It did so on the basis that Ministers are entitled to depart from the policies of previous governments.

“This decision has serious implications beyond the case of Pat Finucane.”

Speaking afterward Gerry Adams said:

“I want to commend the courage and determination of Geraldine Finucane and the Finucane family for pursuing this case through the courts.

“At Weston Park in 2001, the British and Irish Governments agreed to invite Judge Peter Cory to examine four cases, including that of Pat Finucane. Judge Cory concluded that four inquiries should be held. Three have taken place, including one by the Irish Government. However, the British Government has refused to honour its commitment.

“In October 2011, the British Prime Minister David Cameron further disappointed the Finucane family by refusing an inquiry and instead appointing Desmond de Silva to review the case files. The de Silva report was published in December 2012 and it revealed a shocking scale of collusion by the British and Unionist paramilitaries. It serves to reinforce the need for an inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane.

“There is an onus on the Irish government to ensure that the British government honours its obligations and commitments. The Taoiseach should initiate a diplomatic offensive to ensure this.”

Zero tolerance for racism, sectarianism, homophobia, and for inequality as society moves forward – Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking on Saturday at the ‘New Generation: New Voices’ event in Enniskillen, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD, said that in an era of so-called ‘Post Truth Politics’, Sinn Féin did not accept contempt for the truth while in the Assembly, and would be damned if they would accept it from Enda, Fine Gael or his cohort of Fianna Fáil backers in the Dáil either.

The Donegal TD said:

“As we fast approach yet another election campaign here in the north, and perhaps in the south also, the political landscape is anything but certain.

“It’s a period which has been described by many social and political commentators and analysts alike as the era of ‘Post Truth Politics’. This is a political culture in which the political narrative is framed by strong appeals to emotion as opposed to reality by the repetition of unfounded assertions to which factual rebuttals are ignored, if not rejected outright, as irrelevant.

“We, as Republicans, do not buy into such lies, half-truths or disdain for truth…the very hallmarks associated with the particular way by which many of our political opponents care to do business.

“Sinn Féin does not and will not follow their example. Just as the events of recent weeks have shown, and as Arlene Foster and the DUP have witnessed first-hand, we did not accept contempt for the truth while in the Assembly, and we’ll be damned if we accept it from Enda, Fine Gael or his cohort of Fianna Fáil backers in the Dáil either.

“Here in the north, where the controversy over the DUP’s bungled handling of the RHI scheme, coupled with their persistent refusal to embrace equality of any kind, these are the events which have left citizens in the six counties disillusioned, weary and sceptical of the institutions’ ability to deliver real and effective change.

“Likewise in the south, where the shambolic handling by Government of the orchestrated smear campaign against Garda Whistleblower, Sgt Maurice McCabe, which over recent days has brought the current administration to the brink of collapse, there too citizens are questioning the role which government, or more broadly speaking, which politics in general can play in improving society and the lives of ordinary people.

“And these are the very same forces who, motivated by hatred and driven by ignorance, have recklessly stood and advocated for this part of our island to be dragged, against the will of its people, out of the European Union. In doing this they are showing they are happy to deny you and the generations to follow the very same opportunities enjoyed by those of us who’ve long benefitted from access to a continental community of some 500 million people.

“Our young people deserve better. They deserve to live in a society, not where their life prospects and future successes are reliant on whether or not they have the means or financial wherewithal to afford it, but one in which everyone, no matter whom they are or where they’ve come from, enjoys the equal opportunity to go out into the world and make their dreams a reality.

“It’s about moving forward as a society, where zero tolerance for racism, sectarianism, homophobia, and for inequalities of any kind is the sole and accepted benchmark.

“It’s about choosing a path which ensures that the institutions, even with their imperfections, deliver for each and every citizen on the basis of equality, parity of esteem and mutual respect.”

The POLITICAL CRISIS in the Six Counties is deepening

THE POLITICAL CRISIS in the Six Counties is deepening. The election on 2 March is a consequence of this worsening political situation.

The actions of DUP ministers which led to the collapse of the political institutions made that inevitable. But the value and viability of the political institutions have been under sustained pressure for a long period of time.

The DUP’s hostility towards power-sharing and partnership, its refusal to embrace equality or properly adhere to the Good Friday Agreement, and its institutionalised bigotry and intolerance for mutual respect have been steadily corrupting the political process.

Red Sky, NAMA, inappropriate relationships with unionist paramilitaries and RHI have all become bywords for the DUP’s political arrogance and contempt.

All of these factors climaxed in a tipping point in December which made the political institutions and existing status quo unsustainable – a fact mirrored by unprecedented popular anger at the DUP’s abuse of political power.

The failure of the British and Irish governments to fulfil their international obligations under the Good Friday Agreement has contributed massively to the current crisis.

This is the culmination of both governments taking the Peace Process for granted since 2010 and 2011 respectively. Both governments have ignored this reality.

A significant and influential section of the DUP (known euphemistically as “The Twelve Apostles”) have always opposed power-sharing and partnership. That has found expression in their opposition to power-sharing and partnership, and hostility to equality in all its manifestations.

These are the people who forced Ian Paisley out of the DUP leadership after he led that party into coalition government with Sinn Féin and others in 2007.

The regressive mind-set of the The Twelve Apostles still dominates within the DUP.

So when the Conservative Party came back into government in Britain in 2010, an opportunity was seized to push back against the progress of the Peace Process. That fact has defined the political process for the last seven years.

The reality is that when political unionism believes it is not accountable, it reverts to the comfort zone of Orange State politics.

Instead, the Conservative Government has become increasingly pro-unionist and politically aligned with both the DUP and UUP, as evidenced in their mutually shared positions on Brexit, promoting the single unionist narrative of the conflict, opposition to Irish-language rights, and blocking any progress on dealing with the past.

The British and Irish governments need to understand equality, parity of esteem and respect are no longer negotiable. That negotiation is over. It concluded in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and yet, 19 years later, it has still not been fully implemented.

Recently, a senior unionist suggested that this crisis was inevitable and it just happened to be on the issue of RHI.

He was right – RHI was the tipping point. However, for as long as the DUP and others within political unionism remain opposed to power-sharing and equality, the North will be destined to remain locked in permanent crisis.

During the debate on the Good Friday Agreement before the Assembly closed down, DUP speakers referred to their party’s negativity towards power-sharing and how they still ‘hold their noses’ when working with Sinn Féin.

Those were significant insights to current DUP attitudes.

The DUP leader’s dehumanising description of republicans as ‘crocodiles’ and disrespect for the Irish language is a further stark illustration of that party’s real mindset. It was an echo of David Trimble’s words when he alluded to Sinn Féin as dogs who needed to be ‘house trained’.

When republicans, nationalists and others refer to the DUP’s arrogance and contempt, we speak of how that party has been abusing and misusing political power. That reality goes to the very heart of this crisis.

Equality is not a concession or an appeasement.

All sections of society are entitled to have high expectations of our political institutions.

Sinn Féin has kept the political process under very careful review since 2013, when the DUP broke the agreement on the Maze/Long Kesh project, after their behaviour alongside loyalist paramilitaries during the flags protests, when they opposed the Hass/O’Sullivan proposals, and then following their deceitful undermining of the agreement on welfare in February/March 2015.

Our party has invested heavily in the political institutions and persevered with inordinate patience.

The difference between Sinn Féin, the DUP and others in political unionism is that we want to share power. The DUP is opposed to that agenda.

Republicans want to develop a reconciliation process. The DUP, the British Government and others in political unionism are locked into a mode of continuous psychological war and recrimination.

Sinn Féin wants to put equality at the heart of the political process for all citizens. But the DUP and powerful agencies within the British state have never reconciled themselves to the outworking of power-sharing and partnership. This is the reason why political unionism and the British Government have become clearly aligned in opposition to dealing with the past with their demand for complete immunity from prosecution of all British state forces.

That position clearly indicates both the British and DUP have decided they do not want to positively resolve this impasse in any post-election negotiation process.

The most recent public interventions by senior DUP figures, including the party leader, also suggest that party does not want to engage seriously in post-election negotiations.

The Good Friday Agreement drew a line under the political conflict in the Six Counties. As a result, the Peace Process is irreversible.

However, until the DUP and others in political unionism, and both the British and Irish governments accept responsibility for implementing the Good Friday Agreement – and their binding international obligations – this much is clear: there will be no restoration of the political institutions.

Direct rule was a failed status quo. The DUP’s refusal, and the two governments’ failure to adhere to the Good Friday Agreement and all successive agreements, has now created another failed status quo. There can be no return to either scenario.

The Sinn Féin position is clear – republicans, nationalists, women, LGBT communities and ethnic minorities are not going to be pushed to the back of the bus again.

Unless there is a qualitative step-change in the political process and an end to political corruption, unless equality is firmly entrenched at the heart of the political process, there is no point in having the political institutions because they will have no value.

In those circumstances, the North could face the prospect of protracted political crisis.

That would be an untenable situation.

The alternative must be for civic society to stand with political parties committed to equality, and against corruption and the DUP. And the Irish Government must stand up against the negativity of the British Government. This is the only way forward.

The Assembly election on 2 March will be another watershed for the Peace Process.

 

Crowe raises case for North to have special status within the EU in Brussels meetings

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, continually raised the case for the North achieving special status in EU in a series of meetings in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Crowe was part of a cross party Oireachtas Joint Committee on EU Affairs delegation which met with Michel Barnier (Chief Negotiator on Brexit for the EU Commission), Guy Verhofstadt MEP (European Parliament Representative on Brexit), Emily O Reilly (European Ombudsman), Phil Hogan (European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development), and MEPs from Scotland, Cyprus, and Malta.

Speaking at the end of the two day programme, Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“In all our meetings, I detailed how forcing the North out of the EU against its democratic wishes would be a disaster for the entire island of Ireland and have implications for the Good Friday Agreement.

“I continually raised the case for the North to have special status within the EU and that the EU has shown itself to be flexible in coming forward with pragmatic arrangements for dealing with other complex territorial situations.

“Both Mr Barnier and Mr Berhofstadt were keenly aware of the unique and difficult situation that Ireland is in and the role that the EU has played in the peace process.

“Sinn Féin will continue to press the Irish Government and the EU to ensure designated special status for the North to remain within the EU.”

Ireland must accelerate the development of an all-island single energy market – Brian Stanley TD

Speaking at the Brexit Civic Dialogue on Energy, Sinn Fèin spokesperson on Energy, Brian Stanley spoke on the need for Ireland to move towards renewable energy independence and develop a total, single energy market.

Deputy Stanley stated;

“An impending hard brexit has huge implications for the costs and security of supply of energy in Ireland, both north and south.

“There is an impetus now on the government to accelerate the development of an all-island single energy market, incorporating gas, oil, solid fuels and renewables.

“Removing tariffs within the island and developing single regulations, taxation and carbon tax models will deliver a more efficient and affordable energy market for our citizens.

“There is also a need to improve our energy independence in the wake of brexit.

“Ireland is now in a vulnerable position with 88% of our energy dependent on imports and relying on an interconnector which will now pass through a non EU country. Our renewable energy potential needs further development to secure our energy needs and help us towards transition to a low carbon economy in order to meet our climate action targets.”