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.
One of the most inspiring moments in the days of tribute following the death of Nelson Mandela has been the way in which it has highlighted the connections between the leaderships of national liberation struggles spanning continents – from South African to Cuba and to Ireland. The critical role of the Cuban leadership and people in helping defeat apartheid was given significant prominence in South Africa at the memorial service with the speech and presence of President Raul Castro.
In addition, and of particular note for the left here, was the prominence given to the connection between the Sinn Fein leadership and the ANC, where decades-long links with the struggle against apartheid and Irish republicans came to the fore.
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.
Last week saw an increased level of sectarian loyalist attacks against Catholic nationalist areas in the north of Ireland, accompanying the summer ‘marching season’ and the yearly determination by a minority of unionists to force sectarian marches through areas where they are clearly not wanted by local communities. Although there have been successful resolutions in some areas over contentious parades through local negotiations, the Orange Order still refuses to engage with local residents.
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'.
By Nicky Dempsey
The campaign to cancel government debt is gathering some momentum in European Union countries.
In Greece, Alexis Tsipras, leader of SYRIZA consistently calls for a cancellation of at least some part of the Greek debt.
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:
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Previous publications (PDF):
Revolution and Counter-revolution in the Middle East, pamphlet
Unite to fight the Tory attacks, leaflet
Investment not cuts, leaflet
Drop cuts not bombs, leaflet