Toward a New Republic – I dTreo Poblacht Nua
LATEST NEWS: 22 September: Martin McGuinness wins Cork 96FM radio poll with 61% of vote 21 September: Eamon Dunphy says he’ll be voting Martin McGuinness (audio at link) 20 September: Martin McGuinness wins the Joe Duffy liveline 10 minute text poll (28% of the vote. Over 22,000 took part)
Martin McGuinness to run for Irish presidency. Sinn Féin to announce deputy first minister of Northern Ireland and former IRA chief of staff Martin McGuinness’ bid to become head of state in Irish Republic (The Guardian 16 September 2011)
Mainstream coverage: Irish Times | The Guardian (England) Other Coverage: VilaWeb (Catalan) Videos: A Man of the People – Martin kicks off his 32 county election tour in the bogside of Derry | Martin McGuinness at SF Ard Fheis 2011 | Gerry Adams; Martin McGuinness proposed as Presidential candidate | Martin: Late Late show January 2011 (1 + 2) | Gerry Adams & Martin McGuinness | Martin McGuinness warns Republicans who collaborate with the British | Key Texts: Towards a New Republic: Martin McGuinness Ard Fheis 2011 | Poblacht na hEireann: Irish proclamation of 1916 | McGuinness: My war is over (BBC 2002) | Historical background: Seachtar na Cásca (Easter Week – TG4 7 part series, in Gaeilge, English subs) | Derry: The Battle of the Bogside Documentary | Provos, Loyalists and Brits (BBC 90′s documentary series) | Bloody Sunday (bbc doc) | Bloody Sunday (2002 Paul Greengrass doc) | Films about Ireland: Michael Collins | The Wind That Shakes the Barley (spanish subs) Mary McAleese (Irelands president today, the first Northener): Uachtaráin – Mary McAleese (TG4 vid) | Late Late Show ’07 (1 + 2) | wiki entry
Martin McGuinness will run for the upcoming Irish presidencial elections. This is a bold step from Sinn Féin, which is Irelands oldest political party and the only one that covers the entire island. If elected, the former IRA chief of staff Martin McGuinness will be the head of state in the Irish Republic. From IRA head of staff to one of the chief architects which has led to the Northern Ireland Peace Process, Martin has had phenomenal success in doing what was thought impossible; bringing peace and normality to the north of Ireland. Should he be elected, perhaps he can do for the island what he has done for the north. Presently Ireland is in tatters economically, in dire straights again, but in 2016 it will be the 100 year anniversary of the Easter rising of 1916. That is the sacred date which served as the springboard which eventually established the Republic of Ireland, after bloody guerilla war (18-21), the peace treaty and formation of the free state (21) and the formation of the republic (48). There is already much talk of what a “Republic” means today and should Martin get elected he no doubt would play a critical role in bringing that debate toward the dream him and his team have been working toward; An all Island Republic that respects the rights of all its citizens equally, without foreign interference or manipulation. (See end of this article for vid and text of Martins recent address to the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis)
1916 and freedom for Ireland
In 1916 Irish republicans, nationalists and citizens army launched the Easter Rising, a failed revolt against the british crown in Dublin. After a week of intense fighting, the rebels surrendered, many were executed, many many more were held in English prisons but this action proved the spark which led to Irelands freedom from British Imperialism after more than 800 years of occupation. The treaty that led to peace and freedom was a double edged sword, which led to a bloody civil war, this was because the island of Ireland was to be divided in the Southern part, the Irish Free State, and Northern Ireland.
From the division of Ireland till 1969 a thoroughly unjust apartheid statelet existed. Preference was shown to the mostly Protestant community, those who wished to retain the connection with Britain, over the Catholic community, who were the nationalists, many of whom wished to break the connection with Britain and be part of a united Ireland. In 1969, after the growth of a civil rights movement in America, people from both communities united and pushed for a fairer statelet but were met by repeated violence from both the state and communities opposed to these demands. The result of this was that those seeking change felt there was no peaceful way to achieve their goals and that violence was the only answer, with that in 1969 the first major stand off started in Derry, the “Battle of the Bogside“. Pretty soon things had deteriorated terribly, especially after the infamous “Bloody Sunday” and a thoroughly bloody 30 years were to follow with thousands of deaths on all sides of the community as well as many British soldiers stationed there at the behest of the British powers. Martin was one of the many who fought and later was a major player in the IRA, after many failed attempts at ceasefires and peace deals finally something gave way.
Peace on the island and toward the Republic of Ireland 2016
In 1994 an IRA ceasefire was called, political deals were done and most importantly the level of utter violence slowed down. Many thought it would be impossible to bring a seemingly state of normality to what had been a war zone for nearly 30 years. In 1998 dissident republicans let off a terrible bomb in Omagh which killed 33 innocent people, after that there was an island wide referundum to see were people on all the island in favour of peace. This was “The Good Friday Agreement” and after things seemed to move along quickly. Things are not perfect but from where things were to where they are now is an incredible feat by all parties and players involved, including Martin McGuinness.
In the last Southern elections Gerry Adams moved from the North to the South and is now part of the Dáil, and now another move, that of Martins attempt to become the President of Ireland, things are changing profoundly on this island. Many who have spent most of their lives struggling for their beliefs now feel they are closer than ever to realizing their dream and that they will get there through peaceful means alone; to help bring about the dream of a united island based on strong republican values.
Perhaps in only 5 more years Ireland might indeed be a lot more of a different place. To see what Martins dreams are, view the video below and read the end of this article to view that transcript of his recent address to the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis; Towards a New Republic
Martin McGuinness Vids:
Martin: Late Late show January 2011 part 1
Martin: Late Late show January 2011 part 2
Martin McGuinness warns Republicans who collaborate with the British: Death
Seachtar na Cásca (Easter Week – TG4 7 part series, in Gaeilge, English subs)
Bloody Sunday (2002 Paul Greengrass doc)
Provos, Loyalists and Brits
Martin McGuinness Ard Fheis 2011 – Towards a New Republic (September 9, 2011)
In five short years the people of Ireland will commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising.
It is our job as Republicans to map out where we want to be in 2016 – and while five years may seem only a short period in which to bring about the sort of fundamental political, social, economic and constitutional change we want – but reflect for a moment on the changes made in the past five years.
This time five years ago the peace process was deadlocked –the DUP leadership had yet to sit down with Sinn Féin – the political institutions remained in what seemed permanent suspension and the two governments seemed bereft of ideas to free up the process.
The onus lay on us – the party driving the peace process forward to take the initiative, salvage the process and ensure that the potential of the Good Friday Agreement was not lost.
So this time five years ago our negotiating team was preparing to head to St. Andrews – within 6 months what people said was impossible had happened – the DUP and Ian Paisley were in power sharing institutions with Sinn Féin and the other parties on the basis of equality.
Republicans had taken another strategic initiative on policing and fully functioning all-Ireland political architecture was up and running.
Also in the course of the five years from then we have seen the Hillsborough Agreement and the transfer of powers on policing and justice away from London and onto the island of Ireland – another significant milestone on our journey.
And also look at where we are as a party – the advances we have made over that five year period. In 2006 when we gathered would anybody have predicted an Executive jointly led by myself and Peter Robinson seeing out a full term? Sinn Féin Ministers making decision around the Executive table which impacted for the better on thousands of ordinary people’s lives.
Would anybody here hand on heart seriously have suggested five years ago that Gerry Adams would be leading a Sinn Fein Oireachtas team of 14 TDS and 3 Senators – that Fianna Fail would be in the position they now find themselves in.
And I rehearse all of this not for the purposes of history – but for the purposes of showing what is possible. Change does not have to take decades – political circumstances can be moulded and shaped and change can quickly happen.
That is the lesson of the past five years and more importantly it is the inspiration for the next five.
So how do we build the New Republic – how do we continue to make change and at the same time deliver for ordinary people day and daily.
We continue to do what we are doing – Sinn Féin is the party of the New Republic – we are the party with vision, with hope and with commitment.
The worst trait in any political leader is to aim low – it is much better to aim high and come up short than not try at all.
It seems to me that some political leaders in Ireland have waved the white flag – they accepted the loss of sovereignty – they accepted the IMF and the ECB – not necessarily because they wanted to but because they hadn’t the vision to look for another way – there is always another way – there is always something better to aim for.
And that is the way we came at the Tory imposed cuts in the Executive budget here, we could have rolled over. We could have agreed with the approach of others. We decided on different approach. And despite a lack of economic levers we have managed to offset some of the worst of the Tory excesses. But it is by no means an ideal situation and many significant economic challenges lie ahead for the Executive.
But I am confident that working together in proper partnership all of the parties around the Executive table can play a role on one hand in protecting the most vulnerable and on the other in sustaining and indeed creating new jobs for our people.
Indeed next week myself and Peter Robinson will travel to the United States for a number of important meetings aimed directly at securing further foreign direct investment and I am hopeful of further progress in this regard.
And yesterday the Executive acted to ensure no increase in Student Fees will take place during this Assembly term.
But we are not simply involved in institutions to mind the shop.
As republicans we have cause and we have purpose. And given the progress of recent years we rightly carry great expectations of what we can achieve in the future. And those expectations go way beyond simply Sinn Féin supporters or even those who want to see a united Ireland. The expectation of us to continue to succeed is shared by many who don’t ultimately share our primary political goal of unity and independence. But it is our duty to continue to reach out to unionists and it is our duty to persuade them of the merits of a new Republic and of their treasured place in it.
In the five years between now and 2016 I want to see us lead a national conversation on the future of this island. We are haemorrhaging our young people to far flung parts of the world in search of work. A combination of greed and arrogance has left much of the Irish people demoralised. That is not the vision of 1916 and it is not my vision for Ireland approaching its centenary.
And our national conversation needs to be truly national and indeed global. Our Diaspora have a stake in our future. Let us begin the work today of structuring a proper engagement on the type of new Republic we want to build – let us engage without preconditions and engage with those who have previously not had their voices heard.
Let us have meetings in every Irish county in the next year – let us meet every group who has a stake in building a new republic. Remember the men and woman of 1916 came from different backgrounds and different places. They had a vision and they had a purpose.
Let the new republic offer hope to those currently under pressure. Let it be based on equality and fairness and let it be a proper Republic with citizens at its core.
And as part of this let us deal with the legacy of the conflict. For too long this issue has been dodged by the two governments. Proper reconciliation is key to the future.
We have already stated that it is our preferred view that a proper international truth commission be put in place. Others have reservations, others are hiding on the issue. But let us be realistic the current status quo is not working for victims and is not working for the wider process. No amount of HET inquiries or even prosecutions will deal with this issue and indeed as some have argued it is making the task of genuine reconciliation all the harder.
The British government shunted the issue onto Eames/Bradley and then quietly placed their report on the shelf. It seems to me that the biggest obstacle to properly dealing with the past is a continuing refusal at the very top of the British system to acknowledge their combatant role in the conflict. This needs to change. And republicans need to realise that dealing with the past will not be an easy process for us – Republicans inflicted much hurt during the conflict – but if we are to build a new Republic and a new future it is necessary and it is a road none of us should be afraid to go down.
And in my experience of recent years many within the unionist community are up for a journey of reconciliation and dialogue. Tonight one of those the Rev. David Latimer from First Derry Presbyterian church has demonstrated that by his courageous decision to accept our invitation to address this Ard Fheis.
No doubt David will say things tonight which will challenge many of us in this hall. And likewise David will hear things tonight that will challenge his view of the future. And that is key – that is what the national conversation I have spoken is all about – we don’t have all the answers and have never claimed to have.
A new Republic can be built. But it will only be built if we take the lead in building it. I trust in the Irish people. I trust in our ability to fulfil the legacy of 1916, I trust in our ability and I trust in our vision for the future.
Five years isn’t a long time in the history of any nation – but in five years as we have already shown political conditions can be transformed. My message from here is that Ireland can be transformed in the next five – join with us in making that happen.
IRELAND: AN ISLAND with 1 rugby team, 2 football (soccer) teams, 32 county Gaelic teams, 1 national anthem, 1 rugby anthem (for away games), 2 rugby “national” anthems ( for home games: national anthem – a soldiers song, sung in gaelic + “Irelands call” sung in English), 4 million people in the “republic”, 1.5 people in the “north” (half of them see themselves as “Irish”, other half “Irish but British”, many of the “Irish” in the southern side dont see this first group as same “Irish” as them) and many many millions elsewhere around the planet who call themselves “Irish” (some born there, some great great grandsons of people born there – all unable to vote in “irish elections”…
Is there any other “country” or “nation” (the rugby team play in the “six nations”) with such a odd and divided sense of self???