Irish Republican News · August 19, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Adams sees further gains for Sinn Fein

The Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has predicted further growth for his party in an address at a south Armagh rally to mark the 30th anniversary of the prison hunger strikes of 1981.

Mr Adams told supporters in Camlough that the protest, which saw ten republicans in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh prison starve to death for political status, had helped build Sinn Fein. But he said the party needed to extend its support if it was to secure greater backing for its goals.

He plotted the party’s expansion from the prison protest that saw its leader, the IRA’s Bobby Sands, elected MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone prior to his death.

“To make further advances and to be able to exercise even greater political influence and power, we need to build our struggle.”

He said: “Thirty years ago there was an Orange State. The Orange State is gone. The Government of Ireland Act is gone. The right of citizens to opt for a United Ireland is equal to that of those who wish to retain the union.

“Sinn Fein is from that democratic tradition which believes that the British government never had any right to be in Ireland, does not have any right to be in Ireland and never will have any right to be in Ireland.”

He added: “There is now an entirely peaceful way to bring an end to British rule. Our duty is to develop democratic ways and means to achieve and to unite behind the leadership and the campaigns which will bring this about.”

He said Irish republicanism is stronger today “than at any time since partition”. However, there was still “a huge job of work to do” to persuade unionists of the merits of the republican and democratic position. “But we are also in a very good place to do this,” he said.

Mr Adams said achieving republican goals would not be easy.

“While unionist leaders now see the benefits of working on an all-Ireland basis, they remain opposed to a united Ireland,” he said.

“So there is work to be done peacefully and democratically with them. Sinn Fein is up for that work.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has dismissed as “pure speculation” a suggestion that Caoimhghin O Caolain could run for election to become President of Ireland this October.

The Cavan-Monaghan representative, who is Sinn Fein’s longest-standing TD and the party ‘s former leader in the Dail, has been lipped as its candidate for the October presidential election.

Mr Adams stoked rumours at the weekend when he described the former bank official as an exemplary TD.

The Sinn Fein President, who has already ruled himself out of the race, said he would be very happy to see Mr O Caolain as a Sinn Fein candidate for the election.

The party is not expected to make a final decision until after the party’s ard fheis [annual conference], to be held September 9th and 10th.

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© 2011 Irish Republican News