The following is the text of the New Year message from Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.
2008 was a significant year that saw further progress made in bedding down the all-Ireland political institutions including governmental institutions in the North.
The agreement between Sinn Féin and the DUP was a crucial development in maintaining forward political momentum and restoring faith in the political process.
The Northern Executive has been able to take some measures to help families experiencing hardship in these difficult economic times but more work will be required in the time ahead. In particular there is a need to tackle the lack of economic and fiscal sovereignty, and the British Government’s inadequate annual subvention, which limits the options available to the Executive.
It is important that we see further progress on this and other issues in the year ahead and Sinn Féin is determined to ensure that commitments given in the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements are implemented. Vital areas of work remain to be completed, specifically in the areas of the Bill of Rights, equality and the Irish language.
The latter part of 2008 was dominated by the credit crunch and the global economic crisis. This is having a severe impact on the economy of this island and has led to a large number of job losses and hardship for many families.
The Irish Government has failed to produce a coherent strategy to deal with this and has chosen instead to attack the most vulnerable in society.
Over the course of next year as Sinn Féin President I will be conducting a tour of constituencies in the 26 Counties alongside town hall meetings in the North.
It is now clear that the year ahead will see a re-run of the Lisbon Treaty referendum. The way that the Irish Government and the EU has dealt with last June’s ‘No’ vote has been deeply insulting to Irish voters who rejected the Treaty.
Sinn Féin will study the Governments proposals, as we did in the last referendum. We will oppose any re-run of a referendum on the same treaty text. If the Government does not fulfill its mandate, we will campaign for the issues of the EU’s democratic deficit, workers’ rights and public services, neutrality and Ireland’s influence in the EU institutions to be properly addressed.
Sadly, as 2008 has drawn to a close and at Christmas time when the thoughts of millions around the world were focused on the Holy Land, people have been horrified by the events in Gaza.
Israel must immediately end its attacks on Gaza and international political pressure needs to be applied for the Israeli Government to end hostilities. The cause of peace and stability in the Middle East can only be damaged by this latest outrage.
I would urge all parties and groups in the region to accept inclusive dialogue and political negotiation as the most effective pathway to peace and for all acts of military aggression to end.
2009 will mark the 90th anniversary of the convening of the First Dail.
For Irish republicans today, the ideals and the objectives of the First Dail - a sovereign, democratic, united Irish republic based on equality and social justice - remains a live political project.
Sinn Féin is pursuing a political strategy to achieve this. Building the political strength to bring about fundamental political, social and constitutional change is key to that strategy.
We seek to bring a new momentum to the achievement of a united Ireland by bringing together the greatest number of people in support of national democratic objectives.
As a contribution to this Sinn Féin has invited people to join the daylong celebration of the 90th anniversary of An Chead Dail at the Mansion House on 21 January.
Today we are closer than ever to achieving Irish unity. The cause of Irish unity is going forward, and an ever-growing number of people see it as the way ahead, politically, socially and economically.
Republicans are looking forward with confidence.
The following is the text of the New Year statement of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, issued by its National Chairperson Francie Mackey.
On behalf of the National Executive I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all our activists who campaigned so effectively for our goals during 2008. I choose the word effectively deliberately as I believe certain milestones in Irish republicanism were achieved during the past year. At the outset let me address the realities of our struggle by welcoming home the Derry 4 but in equal breath call for the immediate release of Terry McCafferty, Michael Campbell and all incarcerated Irish republicans. If ever a set of circumstances so described the nature of justice under partition it is these which do so with the greatest clarity. Partition is maintained by the establishments on either side of it which makes our struggle a thirty two county affair. A protest in Kerry is no less important than a protest in Belfast and in our efforts to build our organisation this is the message we must bring with us.
Our organisation has grown in 2008. We have reached into new areas and attracted new people who share our strategic vision. 2009 must see the Sovereignty Movement consolidate this growth and give it firm political leadership. The effective activism I speak of was visible in a number of areas;
A mature campaign for a No Vote against Lisbon. The sustained protests on Prisoner issues. The establishment of the Irish Republican Forum For Unity.
Our efforts at securing a No Vote in the Lisbon referendum were based on ensuring that the issue of Sovereignty and Partition were at the heart of our strategy. In doing so we made it clear that all issues of national relevance, be they concerned with natural resources or national heritage, can only be addressed in the context of National Sovereignty and that a resolution of one must contain a resolution of all. Sovereignty cannot be sub-divided.
Our comrades in the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association facilitated our activists in holding protests and demonstrations concerning imprisoned Irish Republicans. We point to the successful intervention in the Aidan Hulme case and the release of the Derry 4. But the cases of Terry McCafferty and Michael Campbell loom large and require similar attention to secure similar outcomes. We send solidarity greetings to all imprisoned republicans but we will do so through continued activism on their behalf.
After long and searching debate the Unity Initiative bore fruit with the formal establishment of The Irish Republican Forum For Unity. At its inaugural meeting in Derry City the republican base could finally see the unity idea transformed into political action on an inclusive basis. A series of public meetings have been planned throughout 2009 to bring the Unity Forum to different areas so that the broad republican base can be instrumental in forging its political activity. The 32CSM will remain fully engaged with the Unity Forum and have proposals prepared to put to it for the coming year.
2009 will see us once again confronted with the Lisbon issue. Those who make the repeated charge that republicans should respect the ‘democratic’ wish expressed in the dual referendums on the Good Friday Agreement should have their hypocrisy thrown back at them. A second referendum will have the added issue of its democratic nature and once again the 32CSM will campaign to ensure that this undemocratic premise and that of Partition itself will be seen as one. Our analysis of the re-run Nice Treaty convinced us that only a Yes vote will satisfy the Dublin Government and having anticipated the inevitability of a second poll we had begun our preparations for our campaign soon after the No victory. I take this opportunity to formally launch ‘Countdown To Lisbon II’ as our effort in the forthcoming campaign. It will be a campaign which will focus on our original objections to Lisbon and also on the status of a second referendum as it relates to our National Sovereignty. We will also campaign for a No Vote by highlighting the extraordinary corruption and social bankruptcy of the Twenty Six Counties political and financial classes as it tries to convince the people that a treaty hewn from the same bankruptcy is in our best interests.
2009 will not see the ending of Partition. Neither will 2016. These are the realities which face us and they need to be recognised by all republicans. However, this does not mean that 2009 and 2016 cannot witness political achievements that will help us secure this objective. Acting within our limitations and acting together to reduce those limitations can greatly enhance our prospects to once again place the republican position back onto the national agenda. Wallowing in the past or afraid to grasp nettles is the stuff of cul-de-sac politics. There is no need to reinvent the republican wheel but we do need to reinvent ways and means by which our core message is given the weight of political activity behind it. We view the Unity Forum as one such means and we strongly urge that all republican groups engage with it so that 2009 can become a watershed in our history.
The following statement was issued by the leadership of the Irish Republican Socialist Party.
The IRSP send greetings to all our members and supporters as we enter 2009. We send sincere solidarity greetings to all republican Prisoners, at home or abroad. We express our fullest solidarity with the people of the Gaza Strip enduring a barbarous assault by the pro-imperialist Israeli regime. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all those who resist the forces of imperialism and reactionary ideologies.
We are confident that the way forward not only for all the people on the isle of Ireland but also throughout the world is through the struggle for socialism. The current crisis of capitalism is leading to an attack on the living standards of millions of working class people. Unemployment will rise, more will sink into poverty and the dangers of war increase. The only viable alternative is Socialism, which will replace the anarchy of the free market with a planned economy that caters for the needs of the majority.
It is clear to many Republicans a that the current set up at Stormont is not a steppingstone to a Republic but a cementing of British rule in Ireland. The IRSP will continue to work with other republicans to expose the hollow fallacies at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement. We will not be deflected by the campaign of arrests, harassment denigration and lies carried out by pro-imperialist forces north and south of the border on our membership.
We urge all republicans to work in harmony with each other to expose the weaknesses of the current constitutional set up. It is not a time for “ourselves alone” philosophy.
At the same time we urge all republicans and socialists to step up our activities in both the social and economic fields. Unless and until republican socialists take ownership and leadership of the day today class struggles then our struggle will not succeed.
Finally we salute all our former political prisoners, all our former and current volunteers who have stood loyally by the ideals and principles of republican socialism.
The Struggle continues.
The following statement was issued by the ‘Real IRA’.
The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann send new years greetings to our friends, supporters and to our volunteers who have remained steadfast, committed and dedicated to defending the republican position in the face of massive odds.
We also remembers at this time all republican POW’s and political prisoners incarcerated in gaols throughout Ireland, Britain, Europe and America, the republican community appreciate your sacrifice and will continue to work on your behalf.
We extend solidarity greetings to fellow revolutionaries across the world and we draw inspiration from other struggles against occupation and imperialism.
In the past 12 months Oglaigh na hEireann have continued to organise, develop and consolidate. We have carried out a number of attacks against British state interests in Ireland and our volunteers have stood shoulder to shoulder with our communities against the scourge of Drugs. Oglaigh na hEireann have taken direct action against a number of drug networks across the country and in the coming year we not allow our communities to face this menace alone.
This past year has also saw republicanism under a level of attack from the Chruch, State and Media that has not been witnessed for many years. Those who consider republicanism an irrelevance should take a look at the massive resources the status quo is investing to defeat us. The British are spending unlimited amounts of money on surveillance and intelligence, the Free State are interning republicans at the behest of the British, the media are continuing to fabricate lies on a daily basis and many editors have developed and almost pathological hatred of Anti Stormont republicans.
Again the Catholic church has entered the fray on the side of capitalism, conservatism and the status quo, this is to be expected. We would advise the church to clean up their own back yard before commenting on others. They should take the plank out of their own eyes before worrying themselves about the splinters in others. It is perhaps a small mercy that the church is no longer a major player in forming opinions in Irish society.
In the Coming year Oglaigh na hEireann will continue to resist the British occupation of Ireland by any and all means including the force of arms, however, all republican organisations must remain disciplined and no one should engage in attacks or threats that they cannot immediately defend or explain. For our part Oglaigh na hEireann will stand behind any actions we take.
Republicanism is facing into a difficult future, the forces ranged against us are many and we are few. We must think and act strategically and in the long term, the British are not going anywhere soon and neither are we. Republicans must develop realistic short and medium term goals, 2009 will not be the year of victory and another phase of the long war is yet to begin in earnest.
Oglaigh na hEireann is facing a huge uphill struggle but we will face it full on, make no mistake, we are here for the long haul, we will continue to exist until the illegal occupation of our nation has ended.
Victory to the IRA.