Irish Republican News · January 3, 2008
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
New Year statements

The following is the annual New Year statement issued by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

The following is the annual New Year statement issued by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

“2007 was a significant year. It witnessed momentous political progress on policing and following a deal between Sinn Féin and the DUP in March, the Assembly, the Executive and the all-Ireland institutions were restored in May.

“Achieving this was not easy. Moreover, the legacy of decades of institutional discrimination, conflict and British direct rule mean that society in this part of the island faces enormous challenges around jobs, housing, poverty, suicide, the environment, health, education and much, much more.

“But here too progress has been made. A recent example of this was the significant initiative taken by the Education Minister Caitriona Ruane to end the 11+ system of academic selection, and the inclusion of an explicit commitment in the Programme for Government that economic growth and Public Procurement - the buying power of the departments - will now be used to address inequality and tackle poverty.

“And for the first time the draft Budget, Programme for Government and Investment Strategy contains a commitment that all of these will be subject to Equality Impact Assessment.

“These are important advances but we now have to ensure that we collectively continue to make progress. There remain other vital areas of work to be completed around the Good Friday Agreement - specifically in the areas of the Bill of Rights; equality; the Irish Language, the north-south bodies and the transfer of power on policing and justice.

“So 2008 holds more challenges. Sinn Féin is an Irish republican party. Our priority objective is Irish re-unification. But we are also in the business of seeking to build the economy north and south to deliver strong public services; of tackling crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour, and of promoting the Irish language.

“The peace process has transformed Ireland in the last decade. It is tangible evidence that with political will further substantive progress can be made.

“On behalf of Sinn Féin I want to thank all of you who have supported our efforts to make progress, and to extend our warmest Christmas greetings and solidarity, and best wishes for the New Year ahead.

“Ta dul chun cinn ollmhor deanta ach ni bheidh sciste ag Sinn Féin go dti go mbunofar Eireann Chomhionann, Aontaithe.

“Ar son Sinn Féin go raibh mile maith agaibh d’achan duine a thug tacaiocht dar n-iarrachtai, beannachtai na nollag agus athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh.

The following is the New Year statement issued by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement

“In extending New Years greetings to the Irish people at home and abroad let us reflect on the past year to help us move forward in the new. We extend also greetings to all republican prisoners of war (POW’S) who find themselves incarcerated in gaol because of an intransigent British Government who are unwilling to engage with the Irish people unless they are addressing a British agenda. From our perspective the Republican Unity Initiative formed a major plank of our strategic efforts to advance the restoration of our National Sovereignty. The 32CSM approached this vital area in an incremental manner so as to maximize inclusivity amongst other republican organizations. We deliberately chose a private route to engagement with other republicans given the British and media efforts to deliberately misrepresent what the Republican Unity Initiative was trying to achieve. We first circulated a discussion document simply titled Republican Unity to give a degree of focus to a debate which was already well underway within the broad republican base. As interest in the initiative grew and formal meetings were arranged the 32CSM put forward a proposal titled Preparing An Irish Democracy which was intended to act as a mechanism within which all republican organizations could collectively draft a republican blueprint of the independent Ireland we envisaged. Reaction to the initiative was predictably cautious but the mixed to poor result showing in what was ostensibly a referendum on British Policing in Ireland conclusively demonstrated that Irish republicanism needs a political initiative to move it on from its inert state. On the back of an IRSM proposal a Unity Commemoration was held at Bodenstown to honour Wolfe Tone which was widely received as a very positive development.

“To augment our existing proposals and to build on this positivity the 32CSM now launch Dismantling Partition, A Unified Republican Approach. Here we outline where and how we believe this project should develop. We introduce timeframes and achievable goals coupled with a realistic appraisal of our current strengths. But as with our previous proposals the 32CSM strongly urge a parallel response from other republicans so as to make the Republican Unity Initiative truly representative of the broad republican family. 2008 will offer republicans an opportunity to both consolidate and advance our goals and the 32CSM herein publicly declare our intention of working tirelessly to achieve this end.

“The 32CSM strongly believes in political engagement with our opponents. We have sought this engagement on a number of fronts but focused squarely around the issue of our national sovereignty. Through this engagement we have sought to advise that national sovereignty is not confined to the national question as that pertains to partition but to all other questions of national concern. Issues such as Shell To Sea and the Save Tara project are all urgent matters of national sovereignty and as such are deserving of intense republican involvement. The impending EU Constitution referendum in the twenty six counties is one such issue that deserves republican attention. Whether it is called Constitution, Treaty or whatever its essential components remain the same. The 32CSM communicated with a variety of republican and nationalist organizations with a view to citing Partition as valid grounds for its rejection. We circulated Six Points of Objection that we believed could form the basis of a strong separatist No Campaign without alienating other valid objections which may also exist. The 32CSM will be pursuing this correspondence in 2008 seeking definitive responses to our circular.

“Following on from our AGM in December the incoming National Executive will be tasked with implementing the changes and policies mandated by that AGM. These will include political policies as outlined above, organizational changes and proposals for updating our print and electronic publications as well as the launch of our newly revamped website. We look forward to the challenges we have set ourselves.

“Again we have it demonstrated that British Policing in Ireland will never change no matter what titles are invoked and no matter how many token nationalists sit on token Policing Boards. The Hoey debacle laid bare both the unchanging nature of British policing and the facile arguments from those who would plead with us that it can.

“Notwithstanding the importance of these issues and their relevance to Irish republicanism the 32CSM is of the firm belief that the most salient issue which will face republicans in the coming year will be the issue of criminalisation. We say this because those in the driving seat of this policy are Provisional Sinn Féin, acting under obligation to the agreements which they entered into with both governments. History, both ancient and modern, has taught us that the occupier will always covet an indigenous political voice to do its dirty work. PSF have stepped into this breech. Following recent acts of armed insurgency there came an almost panicked response from the PSF leadership. They publicly called for informers to be activated against insurgent forces claiming a lack of electoral mandate invalidated their right to rebel. The glaring hypocrisy of this stance was designed to distract republicans from the fact that it was political challenges to the PSF position which forced this outburst and not merely criticism of them.

“We have sought engagement with PSF since 2005 wherein the 32CSM were greeted with duplicity, subterfuge and lies. Our persistence however has been rewarded with the political exposure as to exactly what signing the Good Friday Agreement entails for them. Whereas political criticism theorizes, political challenges demonstrate. These challenges must continue, and emanate from broader quarters, because the resources behind the criminalisation policy far exceed the resources of those whom the policy is directed against. As before when the British government were the direct vanguard for this policy manipulation, deceit and murder were the hallmarks of this campaign. Coupled with a media who afford republicans scant exposure to air our views the only resources open to Irish republicanism are those which we already possess and the argument for republican cooperation on this issue is self evident. The policy of criminalisation will pay scant heed to technical differences of position amongst us as it seeks a broad labeling for those opposed to the current political direction.

“The emergence of seemingly new armed groups making threats of a kind which give succour to the PSF call for informers is yet another dimension of this dirty war. All of this requires a political response from Irish republicans which removes any semblance of cover or distraction for any group pursuing the criminalisation agenda. There can be no place within republicanism for a civil war mentality. Such a mentality is a British device. The 32CSM response is first and foremost a call on PSF to forward to us their alleged written response to our Submission to them in 2005 and for them to outline the lawful basis upon which they call for informers to be activated against those who struggle against British Parliamentary activity in our country. We respond also by seeking engagement with other republicans on the national issues which are relevant to our struggle. And we respond by stating that we will never allow the republican struggle to be criminalized no matter how treacherous the status of those who would try.”

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