By Frances Davis
The current failure to move forward on proposals which emerged from the 'Haass' talks in relation to the north of Ireland, as Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy recently pointed out, `go to the heart of the issues and difficulties involved in making political change and progress’.
The proposals which emerged from all-party talks chaired by US diplomats Richard Haass and Megan O’Sullivan, put forward reasonable and modest ways of dealing with the problematic issues of the past, contentious parades, the flying of flags and use of emblems. Resolving these issues is crucial to maintaining and progressing the Good Friday Agreement’s core principle of equality.
By Tom O’Donnell
Sinn Féin is hosting a conference in London on October 19 on the theme of Irish unity. It is a tremendous opportunity to hear and learn from the party leadership as it engages with a wide array of forces in the continued struggle against austerity, in defence of the Good Friday Agreement and for a united Ireland.
Next week will see the 15th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, described recently by Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness as ‘the single most important political agreement in our time’.
In his speech to the Dublin Commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising, Martin McGuinness speaks of the Agreement as a turning point in Irish history, and resulting in a period in which republican objectives can be realised. He also warns against complacency and of the threats posed to the Good Friday Agreement by those who oppose equality and change.
Situating today's struggle for a united Ireland in the context of the revolutionary struggle of 1916 which ‘started a bush fire of decolonisation, which engulfed the British Empire', he spoke of the inspiration it inspired in ‘generations of people throughout the world who rose up against colonial rule'.
Sinn Féin have correctly condemned attempts of anti-Good Friday Agreement unionists to push through an anti-peace process bill in Stormont this week – and hit out at the fact that the latest stage of the bill’s progress was backed by the SDLP.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness commented: ‘by supporting TUV legislation against former prisoners the SDLP have thrown the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement out of Stormont’s windows’.
The following article by Gerry Adams explaining the context of the sectarian attacks in Belfast, appeared on the Léargas blog on 12 January.
Belfast 2013 is not the City I grew up in. In my youth and for much of my adult life Belfast was a place in which nationalists had no rights; a place where sectarianism and discrimination, injustice and inequality were commonplace and exercised as a matter of institutional and political practice.
By Frances Davis
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly was correct this week to give a stark warning that the ongoing loyalist sectarian protests, violence and intimidation could lead to somebody being killed. His demand that the violence must end and that, moreover, unionist politicians must ‘use all of their influence to see they are brought to an end’ should be strongly supported.
There should also be strong support for Belfast City Council’s decision to move to fly the Union flag on designated days and not all year round, and those councillors who backed that.
Sinn Féin has recently launched a public initiative on the need for a process of national reconciliation in Ireland.Addressing a meeting in the Houses of Commons on 24 October Sinn Féin chairperson, Declan Kearney explained the initiative. His speech included the following points:
Irish Senator Kathryn Reilly addressed the Progressive Students Conference on 13 October. Her speech, setting out Sinn Féin’s alternative to austerity, included the following points:
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