Thursday, August 04, 2005


The true republicans?

"The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it." - George Bernard Shaw

I've been having an interesting exchange over at Tom Griffin's The Green Ribbon with Sharon O' Suillibhan who runs the blog 1169 and Counting. Sharon is a self-confessed Republican Sinn Fein supporter and I've enjoyed debating with her as I can't recall encountering a RSF supporter before.

For those who don't know too much about the party, Republican Sinn Fein split from Sinn Fein in 1986 when the latter ended their position of abstention from the Dail. You can read more about RSF here.

They are said to have links with the Continuity IRA and both are proscribed as terrorist organisations by the US government.

I have been browsing through their official website and I must say I do not agree with their position at all.

They do not acknowledge either State on the island and we in the Republic are described as a 'colonial society' on their official website.

On their website they also claim to be 100 years old, linking themselves to Arthur Griffith's Sinn Fein of 1905 though I do not feel there is a link between the two.

I also take issue with their claim that they are the only true Irish Republicans. The Continuity IRA claim to be the legitimate government of Ireland by virtue of Tom Maguire, the last survivor of the Second Dail, transferring his support to CIRA from the Provos in 1987. How can one man determine a government? A government is based on its people surely? As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Government of the people, by the people, for the people".

As for their Eire Nua plan, while I do personally agree some form of federal government would be necessary in a United Ireland, I don't agree with the one they outline regarding Athlone being the new capital because it's the centre of Ireland. How many Dubs would be willing to accept that?

I think it's time Republican Sinn Fein denounced violence and changed with the times.

Upon entering their site, one is greeted with the following message:

"We of Republican Sinn Féin are the nucleus, which represents what Emmet represented, the soul of Ireland, the prophetic shock minority, those who are neither purchased nor intimidated."

Robert Emmet was a great man. Someone I admire alot. But he died almost 202 years ago. RSF need to move on from the grip that the great Republican figures of history have on them, and promote policies that appeal to the men and women of today.

RSF, your republic is here. It might not encompass 32 counties, and it might not have Athlone as its capital, but it's something.


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