Centenary celebrated
Centenary celebrated

The 100th anniversary of the day on which Sinn Féin was founded was marked by a number of republican events this week.

The Sinn Féin movement, which later evolved into a number of Irish political parties, was founded in Dublin on 28 November 1905 by Arthur Griffith.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams launched a year-long recruitment drive on Monday in an event to mark the occasion.

The West Belfast MP claimed that people are joining Sinn Féin because they “are a real alternative to the sham politics that passes for political discourse” in the Dublin parliament.

“There is little or no difference between Fianna Fail, the Progressive Democrats, Fine Gael or the Labour Party,” Mr Adams said.

“Instead of discussing the inequality at the heart of government policy, the only thing that these parties are interested in discussing are minor changes to the management of the economy.”

Mr Adams added: “Sinn Féin has no interest in the rhetoric of republicanism.

“Our task is to make republicanism relevant to the people of Ireland and to bring about a national republic on this island.”

In a statement marking the 100th anniversary, Sinn Féin Dail leader Caoimhghin O Caolain has said that Irish sovereignty and independence is still the core issue in Irish politics.

“One hundred years ago the founders of Sinn Féin began an epic journey towards Irish independence and the sovereignty of the Irish people,” he said. “Many sacrificed their lives, their liberty and their livelihoods to achieve Irish freedom. We continue to be inspired by their example of selflessness.

“Sovereignty and independence are still core issues in Irish politics today. The continuation of Partition denies Irish independence. It thwarts the potential for political, social and economic progress on this island.

“The Good Friday Agreement is a compromise which caused great difficulty for Irish republicans but which we see as the way forward and which has the endorsement of the Irish people. Yet the Agreement remains unimplemented.

“The Irish Government has a key responsibility to ensure the implementation of the Agreement and the Sinn Féin TDs will continue to hold the Government fully to account in Leinster House and in the constituencies on this matter.”

Speaking at his party’s commemoration march in Dublin, Republican Sinn Féin president Ruairi O Bradaigh said there would be “no acceptance of British rule” in Ireland.

Outside the General Post Office in Dublin, Mr O Bradaigh attacked Gerry Adams’ party.

“How can they be Sinn Féin if they accept offices in Westminster and massive subsidies from the English government, sit in the partition assemblies of Stormont and Leinster House, administer British rule as ministers of the Crown, and declare themselves willing to support and join the British police force in Ireland?

“In no way can they be entitled to the historic name of Sinn Féin, which they have usurped,” Mr O Bradaigh said.

“That name was known and respected throughout the world, especially by colonised peoples struggling to be free, as a beacon and an example to be followed.

“Until 1986, it was never associated with collaboration and quisling-type co-operation with an occupying foreign power.”

He said Gerry Adams’ party had “dishonestly stolen the name and title of Sinn Féin, to which they have no right since they breached the basic document and suspended themselves from the organisation”.

“But Republican Sinn Féin is here today, at the very spot where we were born as an organisation 100 years ago, with a century of unbroken continuity behind us,” he said.

“A hundred years of struggle, of keeping faith with the past as we gird ourselves for the future, entitle us to be here.

“We adhere to the constitution, to the aims, the objects and to the means. For us, there will be no acceptance of British rule, no collaboration with occupation forces -- only the renewed struggle.”

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© 2005 Irish Republican News