SF advances plans for unity
SF advances plans for unity

Following a day-long meeting of Sinn Fein assembly members in south Armagh this Thursday, tens of thousands of republicans are expected to converge on Dublin for a historic rally on Saturday.

The Make Partition History rally will form the centrepiece of Sinn Fein's Cead Bliain centenary celebrations.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP will make a keynote address at the rally amid growing expectations of further developments in the peace process.

Thursday's internal party conference in Mullaghbawn, South Armagh, saw a discussion by party activists from across the island of the current political situation.

Local councillor John O'Dowd said it was essential that republicans continue to drive forward the agenda for change set out in the Good Friday Agreement.

"The IRA statement has created the potential to reinvigorate the political process.

"It presents many challenges - for the British and Irish governments who have dragged their feet in the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and for unionism. And to us as republican activists."

He said it was essential that "patterns of poverty and deprivation, north and south" are challenged wherever they exist.

"Equality is an all-Ireland issue. Sinn Fein must be the engine of change. We must maximise change and force the governments to accelerate the equality agenda so that there is a real difference on the ground."

Meanwhile, plans are being made by Sinn Fein for a major conference focusing on preparations for Irish unity later this year.

The all-Ireland conference on November 26 will be addressed by prominent grass-roots activists from across the island, including leading trade unionists, anti-poverty activists and community workers.
Martina Anderson, the party's all-Ireland co-ordinator, says that the November conference represented "a key development in promoting the all-Ireland agenda, alongside a range of other activism such as the Green Paper on Irish Unity campaign".

"Sinn Fein's vision of a new Ireland of equals is not just about the achievement of Irish unity in the future. There are those in society who simply examine the future of partition in terms of their own selfish interests.
"However, Sinn Fein's objective is to make a real difference to the lives of citizens in the here and now.

"There is a compelling need to see the integration of the island economy and the full co-ordination of public services, such as health, education and transport - maximising the benefits for everyone who shares this island. There is also a need for a conversation with unionists."

"This conference is an opportunity for activists from a variety of backgrounds to thrash out the practical vision of the new Ireland which republicans are creating and to concentrate on building a national and international process of planning for Irish unity," she said.

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