A round-up of the statements traditionally issued this time of year by republican organisations.
Statement from the Leadership of Republican Sinn Féin
Republican Sinn Féin extends New Year greetings to our members, supporters and all who are striving for true political and economic democracy both at home and abroad.
This year marks the centenary of the last occasion on which the Irish people acting as a unit expressed their democratic wishes and elected the First Dáil Éireann. This was the last act of All-Ireland democracy and is a reminder the present paritionist set-up came about by the suppression of the functioning All-Ireland Republic.
When we look at the many political, social and economic problems confronting Ireland today the need to restore the All-Ireland Republic is an essential first. We present Éire Nua and Saol Nua as the most effective way to make that Republic a reality for all sections of the Irish people.
This coming year brings many challenges to the Irish people. Ten years ago, following the collapse of the neo-liberal economic house of cards across the world it was the most vulnerable who were sacrificed in a wave of savage economic austerity. The struggle for even the most basic human need of a home and shelter continues and it is the duty of Irish Republicans to place themselves at the forefront of this campaign. It is a war that is being waged by the new imperialism of the EU and the neo-liberal economic elite. Activism such as the anti-water charges campaign points the way ordinary people can effectively fight back. Irish Republicans must demonstrate how that energy and idealism can be harnessed towards the more ambitious goal of building a New Ireland based upon the principles of the 1916 Proclamation.
In the Six Counties the Stormont Assembly remains suspended whilst its political class continue to draw down their salaries and expenses. The reality of British occupation does not change as political internment is used as a weapon to silence any dissenting voices.
We extend solidarity greetings to Gabriel Mackle who was ripped from his family by the forces of the British Crown in November only weeks after completing his sentence in Maghaberry prison. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Gabriel Mackle, Tony Taylor and Neil Hegarty. We also call for Gabriel’s immediate reinstatement on the Republican landing of Roe 3 in Maghaberry prison, as his exclusion from there is a blatant denial of his right to political status.
Internationally we express solidarity with all nations struggling for their right to national independence. The decision by the government of the United States of America to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel underlines the odds faced by the Palestinian people in their fight for a viable nation state.
We stand with the people of Catalunya in the coming year, who continue to express their democratic demand for national sovereignty, despite the Spanish State’s suppression of their parliament and government. The EU’s refusal to recognise the democratically-expressed will of the Cataloinian people for nationhood exposes the imperialist nature of the EU superstate.
Irish Republicans remain committed to the struggle for a free Ireland within a world community of free nations.
Onwards to the All-Ireland Republic.
Republican Network for Unity New Year Statement
Republican Network for Unity send new year greetings to all Republican comrades throughout Ireland especially all the Republican POWs currently languishing in the various gaols throughout our country and also to their families struggling on the outside.
We also send our solidarity greetings to our international comrades currently fighting for independence and liberation throughout the world, in particular our friends in Palestine.
2017 was a difficult year internally for RNU and with much deliberation and dialogue with the grassroots members we have consolidated, regrouped, restructured and intend on moving forward in a progressive principled manner.
RNU remain unbowed and unbroken.
Going into 2018 which also marks the centenary of the 1918 General Election which give credence to the Republic set out in the Proclamation of Easter 1916
RNU intend going back to the basic grass root activism that we once set out in our paper ‘Revolutionary Republicanism’.
We intend to get back to working within our communities to assist with the fight against the draconian Tory cuts to much needed services in Education, Health and more importantly to the benefits system.
While also working hard to highlight issues within the 32 counties such as the ever increasing problem with homelessness, issues within the health service with patients left lying on trollies for inexcusable amount of time waiting to receive the basic relevant treatment.
Finally, we send our support and solidarity to the genuine republicans who continue with the constant restraints of being harassed daily for their political beliefs.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh
Eirigi New Year Statement - 2018
As 2018 begins, Eirigi acknowledges and commends the significant political activism of our members and supporters during 2017. Your work, alongside the work of other progressive forces, offers hope to the Irish people in a time of global turmoil and widespread despair. For this you should be immensely proud.
In the coming year Eirigi will continue to work within our communities to fan the flames of hope and to provide a credible, coherent alternative to the failed politics of the past.
2018 will mark the centenary of the seminal 1918 General Election, the last occasion where the people of Ireland collectively voted as one Nation.
The subsequent formation of the First Dail Eireann and adoption of the Declaration of Independence and Democratic Programme of the First Dail on January 21st, 1919, represented the high point of 1913-1923 revolutionary period.
The divided, unequal Ireland of 2018 bears little resemblance to the Republic envisioned by that First Dail a century ago.
On January 20th, 2018, Eirigi will publicly launch ‘A Democratic Programme For The New Republic’, a major new policy document which will map out our vision for a future new all-Ireland Republic. Below we publish, for the first time, the opening section of that document.
The public launch of A Democratic Programme for the New Republic will take place at 4pm, Saturday, January 20th, Wynns Hotel, Abbey Street, Dublin. It’s free of charge and open to all. Bigi linn.
32CSM 2018 New Year Statement
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement sends fraternal greetings to all republican and socialist comrades throughout Ireland. We send revolutionary greetings to all peoples struggling for liberation and justice throughout the world. We particularly note the struggles for national sovereignty in those Arab Nations who were brutally victimised by imperialist conquest. We send solidarity greetings to the people of Gaza and assure them of our unwavering support for the Palestinian cause.
The continuing existence of Irish Republican POW’s and the strategic use of internment by remand lays bare the falsehood that the conflict in Ireland is in some way resolved. We send greetings to all POW’s, Internees and their families. We pledge our continuing support for the broad based campaigns fighting against these injustices.
The year 2018 marks the Centenary of the 1918 General Election which democratically validated the Republic declared in the 1916 Proclamation. The key lesson for republicans today is to understand that pledging loyalty to that Republic is a poor substitute to actually building towards its realisation. This is the example which republicans of that period have set for us. They did not revert to paying annual homage to the Easter Rising but rather extended the core political demand of it by directly engaging with the Irish people to enact their national sovereignty.
The challenge for republicans today is to continue this direct engagement to ensure the relevance of the Proclamation is made manifest in the daily lives of our people. The question of National Sovereignty is not simply concerned with securing a free vote, to now and again elect a government, but rather with the functioning of a just society where fundamental rights are integrated and guaranteed.
Our message must reflect a clear schematic of the republic we envisage and outline viable strategies to pursue it. Republicans must involve themselves in a process which develops this message to demonstrate to our people that we possess the maturity and political acumen to act in their interests. Our conduct must be that of a disciplined and unified movement.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement have been fully engaged with likeminded republicans, from various groupings and none, to develop a radical policy platform that will bring the republican analysis into modernity. In the early stages of this engagement it was recognised that the vast majority of republicans in Ireland are not aligned to any current group and have no desire to be so either. Any political vehicle hoping to harness and give direction to their voice must be primarily focussed on message. The stern reality to be faced is that current republican groupings are wholly inadequate to constitute such a vehicle and therefore alternative strategies must be explored.
The Proclamation Project is one such strategy that aims to address this task. Predicated on the principle that the better argument prevails it offers a democratic engagement for all republicans to converse in comradeship and equity to advance republican objectives. Our primary message for republicans in 2018 is to engage with this project so that our collective wisdom can be brought to bear on the many challenges that lie ahead.
New Year message from the IRSP
The IRSP extend New Year’s greetings to all members and supporters throughout Ireland and abroad as we enter 2018, offering particular solidarity to all Irish republican and socialist political prisoners and their families. We send further comradely greetings to all oppressed peoples of the world, trusting that 2018 will see us all collectively further our struggles for national liberation and socialism.
In 2017 we launched our policy document “Britain out of Ireland, Ireland Out of the EU”; a first public step in articulating republican socialist proposals for achieving a united Ireland in our lifetime and the result of a yearlong internal debate within the IRSP, our proposals reiterate our honestly held opinion that Ireland is transitioning into a new era in which the primacy of politics is more important than ever.
Politics in the occupied six counties have indeed been moulded by a normalisation agenda commonly referred to as the “Peace Process” an agenda which has inherently changed the way in which the people of Ireland now view the struggle for Irish Freedom. No meaningful progressive social or economic progress has been made in “the North” since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, instead a steady decline in the manufacturing industry has paved the way for a transition towards a service based economy, this coupled with cuts to the block grant and further ideological attacks on our social security network has provided for a society which can now boast the highest poverty and deprivation statistics in Western Europe.
The continued British occupation of Ireland provides the centre pole for this self-defeating and unworkable society, built as it is on the pillars of sectarian division that all know cannot survive the test of time, yet the IRSP openly declare that in such an environment, true revolutionaries (while exploring all paths of potential struggle) must strive to avoid the infliction of unnecessary and disproportionate conflict upon an already oppressed working class.
We strive to expose the true nature of British occupation in order to end it, the continued denigration and exploitation of the Irish working class at the hands of the wealthy, can, in the current conditions only be hidden (and so served) by intermittent sounds of armed conflict, the IRSP will provide no such favours to the wealthy elites who rule over us and we urge other republicans think likewise.
We are under no illusions that a class war is being raged all over this island by the rich and powerful, who inflict real and physical damage upon our people. Poverty is violence, eviction is violence, homelessness is violence and unemployment is violence; any act or law that destroys people’s aspirations to live equally and freely is violence.
Yet the perpetrators of violence against our class will not be successfully confronted while our people are unconvinced of the need to seize control of their own destinies and there can be no short cuts to building such a class conscience. Slowly but surely, working class awareness is developing, the IRSP in 2018 will continue to espouse that until both foreign and capitalist interference in Irish affairs has been defeated true freedom cannot be achieved.
The British exit from the European Union may on the face of it appear to be a victory for the ‘little England’ jingoists, but it also provides an opportunity for socialists. For the first time in half a century, left wing economic policies can be espoused, including a return to the nationalisation of the means of production and distribution and the public ownership of the means of exchange. We are about to witness a real battle between the forces of the Left and Right in Britain, and as always, England’s difficulty may well prove to be Ireland’s opportunity.
For socialism to exist in Ireland, a break from the narrow neoliberalist confines of the European Union would also prove to be a vital step.
An independent Ireland, free from London, Brussels or Washington rule is what the IRSP espouse. It is our deeply held opinion that the first step in such a journey may well now involve our campaigning on a referendum designed to give the people of Ireland the opportunity to unite all 32 Counties, a true Irish Republic which respects all cultures, and seeks to end sectarian division; one social structure, one infrastructure, one economy, one publicly funded Irish national health service.
This must become the supreme national goal of the Irish people and with this in mind we reiterate our intention, not only to fight for a referendum on Irish unity but also to win it, in the name of Socialism, equality and the future of our children.
Statement by Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill
The past 12 months has been an extraordinary time politically. We have witnessed incredible political developments, suffered the loss of a political giant but also the reawakening of the demand for fairness and equality at the heart of our political process.
And as we look forward to 2018, Sinn Fein is determined and optimistic that we will realise that demand. That we will restore power-sharing institutions based on the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.
There is no alternative, the status quo is not an option.
I am optimistic because I see the transformation that has taken place in this society since the people voted for the Good Friday Agreement 20 years ago. I see the young people who will not tolerate their peers being treated as second-class citizens because of their sexuality.
I see civic society standing up to be counted and demanding their rights and entitlements are protected and enshrined on the same basis as they are elsewhere on these islands. They will not accept the denial of language rights, of marriage equality and the right to coroner’s inquests because the DUP dictate it.
People across Ireland have been shaken by the recklessness of the DUP-Tory Brexit agenda and the immense harm it will cause to communities and the economy throughout the island.
That is not the future they want for their children and grandchildren.
Most people want a positive future, an inclusive and welcoming future where everyone is treated fairly and cherished.
That is what Martin McGuinness wanted and that is the challenge he set for us in his resignation letter almost a year ago which set out in very clear terms what needs to happen to put the proper foundations in place.
We have lost Martin, and it is an incalculable loss for us all, but we remain determined to realise the vision he set out.
It is a vision that has already been endorsed by a majority of the people in both the Assembly and Westminster elections. The momentum for change is with us and the demand for a better society is a demand from a majority of voting citizens.
A majority of people in the north voted for parties who support a rights based society and the principles of mutual respect and parity of esteem.
And for the first time in the history of the northern state, designed to perpetuate an unfair and unequal status quo, unionism lost its majority.
Fifty years on from the Civil Rights campaign in 1968, the north is a very different place. A place where the denial of rights, equality and respect will no longer be accepted.
A majority want the restoration of genuine power sharing. A majority want rights and equality.
A majority reject the frustration of their achievement; the erection of a barrier to this by a minority who have a different political opinion or religious belief.
A majority want an assembly which accepts the diversity in our society and delivers for all.
I want to lead Sinn Fein back into a new executive because locally elected ministers are best placed to run local public services and fight back against the threats of Brexit and austerity.
I want to develop the widest possible consensus in political, civic and popular opinion to achieve this.
I believe that can happen early in the new year but only if the institutions represent genuine and equal partnership government for all our people.
That will require the British government and the DUP accepting the political and democratic reality which has already been made abundantly clear by the electorate.
If they continue to set their face against the people and against progressive politics, then there is an onus on the two governments to spell out how they intend to ensure the implementation of previous agreements and pave a pathway to restore the institutions on the basis of equal partnership and respect in the terms set out almost 20 years ago.