gry but defiant
This week, the British government continued to refuse to restore the institutions set up under the Good Friday Agreement. Their reimposition of a veto over the political process in the Six Counties at the behest of unionism has destroyed the greatest opportunity in many years for a way forward to a new Ireland.
Republicans have been frustrated and angered by these political developments. But as a Sinn Féin delegate conference last weekend showed, party members, though understandably angry, are also defiant and up for the new challenges to come.
A new phase of republican struggle has now begun. Republicans and nationalists will take to the streets in the weeks and months ahead to mobilise opinion and to organise the political strength and momentum needed to counterbalance the unionist veto.
Sinn Féin, now a rapidly growing party north and south, has set about the task of building its political strength. If the Good Friday Agreement is lost, republicans are more determined than ever to ensure that Irish national interests will be properly represented in any future negotiations.
In the words of Gerry Adams over the weekend: ``We will only get as much freedom as we can take.''
In the time ahead, republican activists across Ireland will work to build a stronger party to take that freedom.