New beginning for Kerry Sinn Féin
A crowd of almost 500 people gathered in bright sunshine at Moyderwell cross in Tralee, County Kerry, to witness the official opening of the refurbished Sinn Féin premises in the town by party president Gerry Adams on Saturday, 13 May.
Paying tribute to the outstanding, and entirely voluntary, work carried out by Sinn Féin activists and supporters who worked literally around the clock to complete the project, Gerry Adams described the new premises as a testament to the continuing strong growth of Sinn Féin in the South West, and went on to say that ``the work carried out in renovating these premises is an example of grassroots Sinn Féin activists and supporters taking ownership of the struggle''.
The opening ceremony included the unveiling of a plaque dedicating the new premises to the memory of Volunteers Michael Horgan, Paddy Boyle and Maurice Prendergast, Óglaigh na hÉireann, Chiarraí, whose outstanding commitment and dedication to the republican struggle, according to Adams, ``had helped to make this day possible''.
A press conference for local and national media was held in the upstairs offices of the new premises, after which Adams delivered an update on development in the peace process to republican activists in Kerry. Accompanied by Kerry Sinn Féin Councillors Martin Ferris, Cathal Foley and Anthony Curtin, the Sinn Féin president next visited the Jeanie Johnston Famine replica ship in Fenit, which is due to sail to the United States shortly. The Sinn Féin party was enthusiastically received by the crowd and workers on the project, to which young people from north and south contributed.
A very successful day was concluded with Adams delivering the oration at the annual Gortaglanna commemoration in North Kerry in memory of Volunteers Dalton, Lyons and Lynch, killed by the Black and Tans in May 1921. Adams paid tribute to the memory of all the Kerry Volunteers who lost their lives in the struggle and called on the almost 300 people assembled to ``do that little bit more'' to advance republican aims and objectives. ``I will always remember that Kerry never let the republican struggle down,'' he said.
In the South West, so often overlooked by the political elite responsible for governing the 26 Counties, the message sent out on Saturday was clear. Sinn Féin is now, more than ever, a political force to be reckoned with.