Last weekend, an official state commemoration of the First Dail took place in the Mansion House in Dublin. Addressing the audience, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said that “the Ireland of today is not the Ireland promised in the 1916 Proclamation. This is not the Dail of the Democratic Programme.”
She said that “we have before us the opportunity to build a new and united Ireland”. The following is the full prepared text of her address.
Go raibh maith agat a Ceann Comhairle.
Táim lán-sásta labhairt ag an ócáid stairiúil seo - comóradh céad bliain An Chéad Dáil.
One hundred years ago - in this very room - revolutionary Ireland found its voice.
TDs gather with a unity of purpose, in the cause of equality, independence and freedom.
An eye witness to the day, Máire Comerford of Cumann na mBan said of An Chéad Dáil, “never was the past so near, or the present so brave or the future so full of hope”
It is an honour to follow in their footsteps.
To share this room with elected representatives from across this island and, including the counties of partitioned Ulster - Antrim, Down, Derry, Fermanagh, Armagh and Tyrone.
Today we are whole.
After so much hope, the vision of the Democratic Programme and the First Dáil was lost to British repression, civil war, partition, conflict and the establishment of two conservative states, north and south.
The Ireland of today is not the Ireland promised in the 1916 Proclamation.
This is not the Dáil of the Democratic Programme.
Ireland remains divided. Broken.
The tenements have gone, but tenants live in fear of eviction.
Children no longer go hungry in the streets but now in hotel rooms.
Unseen and forgotten.
The lockout bosses are gone, but workers’ rights are being eroded.
A job is no longer the route out of poverty.
There are those who believe that homelessness is acceptable, that poverty is inevitable and that partition is permanent.
I do not accept that view.
Our forbearers one hundred years ago rejected that view.
The generation that entered this room and said to the British government, your empire is ended.
This is our nation.
We come not to recriminate about what could have been; but to plan for what can be.
Let me say; this is the time.
This is the time to realise the promise of the revolutionary generation.
We come not to genuflect to the past but to stand with all those who came before us.
Is trí Ghaeilge a ritheadh imeachtaí na Chéad Dála céad bliain ó shin.
Tharla sé seo mar gur bhain chéad chruinniú na Dála le níos mó ná Stát a bhunú – bhain sé leis an Náisiún.
Uirlis pholaitiúil leis an náisiún a chur chun cinn a bhí i Sinn Féin agus chuaigh sé i bhfeidhm ar i bhfad níos mó ná a ballraíocht féin.
Bhí forbairt ag teacht thar ghluaiseacht na gceardchumann agus ar ghluaiseacht chearta na mban ag an am sin.
Bhí An Cumann Lúthchleas Gael agus Conradh na Gaeilge ar thús cadhnaíochta maidir le slánú agus caomhnú an Gaeilge.
Agus céad bliain ar aghaidh, tá an Ghaeilge faoi bhagairt fós.
Caithfimid níos mó daoine a spreagadh chun An Gaeilge a úsáid ina shaol, ar fud an oileáin - ó thuaidh agus ó dheas.
Independence alone is not enough.
To paraphrase Connolly, it is not about changing the flag over Dublin Castle.
Ireland, north and south, is changing.
We have before us the opportunity to build a new and united Ireland.
In which all can find a home.
In which the sick are cared for.
An Ireland of the safety net and of the helping hand.
An Ireland of equal rights, equal opportunity and shared prosperity.
A free and sovereign nation amongst the nations of the world.
Standing here one hundred years on, the past has never been so near, the present crying out for bravery.
The future so filled with challenge and hope.
Let us not wait another one hundred years.
The government should convene an all-Ireland forum to build for unity and to plan for unity.
We now have a peaceful and democratic pathway to a new and united Ireland.
An opportunity that was not afforded the First Dáil or generations of Irish Republications.
Now is the time to start the last leg of that journey.
To build a truly national democracy and a truly national parliament.
An Irish Republic, worthy of the name and the sacrifices of all those who came before.
Tá bealach síochánta, daonlathach againn anois Éire aontaithe a bhaint amach.
Deis nach raibh ar fáil do bhaill Na Chéad Dála ná do ghlúin eile phoblachtánaigh.
Tá sé in am anois an tír a aontú agus ní mór dúinn reifreann ar aontacht na hÉireann a bheith againn.
Caithfimid é sin a dhéanamh agus caithfimid Éire nua, aontaithe a bhaint amach.