Fianna Fail registers in Six Counties
Fianna Fail registers in Six Counties

Fianna Fail has officially registered as a political party in the Six Counties, party leader Bertie Ahern has announced.

Speaking to about 2,000 Fianna Fail supporters, the Taoiseach said the registration “marks a historic step for us on the road to developing a strategy” for the party’s development in the North.

Speaking at the annual Cairde Fail Taoiseach’s dinner, Mr Ahern formally welcomed two new cumainn [branches] to the party, representing Queens University Belfast and the University of Ulster in Derry.

He said it was “lovely” to see the North’s First Minister, the DUP’s Ian Paisley, who he described as “a great friend of mine”, and Deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, working together in the United States this week to secure investment.

However, the move was attacked as “opportunism” by Republican Sinn Féin.

Joe Lynch from Limerick, said that while it was gratifying to see Fianna Fail recognize the need for an All Ireland dimension, “the move is a mere facade following decades of political hypocrisy. Fianna Fail is the very party that betrayed the nationalist and republican people of the Six Counties,” he said.

“For decades Fianna Fail engaged in demonizing those in the Six Counties who took part in the struggle for national self-determination. Fianna Fail executed Republicans and imprisoned men and women who sought to engage the armed British presence in Ireland.

“Now with two new branches in Universities in the Six Counties, Fianna Fail pretends to be an all Ireland party. The only purpose in this move is to further dilute the opposition to the ongoing British presence in Ireland.

“Fianna Fail always engaged in ‘four green fields’ rhetoric and this step is simply a further example of their political opportunism. Far from aspiring to Irish unity, they are more than happy to serve British interests in the Six Counties and enforce British rule throughout Ireland.”

* Independent unionist MEP Jim Allister has announced the formation of a new unionist movement opposed to powersharing in the Six Counties.

Mr Allister, who quit the DUP in March after it decided to enter the Executive alongside Sinn Féin, said the new movement would reflect ‘unionist grassroots concern’.

Traditional Unionist Voice is organising in 12 of the 18 Six-County constituencies and aiming to provide organisation for local councillors who resigned from Ian Paisley’s party in protest at the St Andrews’ deal with Sinn Féin. However, there are no immediate plans to contest elections.

“The Traditional Unionist Voice will occupy the traditional unionist ground so wantonly abandoned by others for the sake of office,” he said.

“Tens of thousands of unionists feel sickened and deflated by the spectacle of IRA/Sinn Féin at the heart of our government, having been put there by those they trusted in the past.”

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