[Marxism] Gerry Adams Closing Speech to Ard Fheis

D OC donaloc at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 7 12:42:59 MST 2007

I think that this speech is essential for anyone really trying to understand 
where SF are at and where they are trying to take things.

I also want to briefly note Walter's apt posting about the ETA activist on 
hunger strike with the sole aim of producing a parallel advance for their 
nation to that achieved in the north of Ireland under SF.

The Basque patriots have the support of Irish Republicans throughout our 
nation. I hope that the Spanish and French authorities will see sense and 
end their occupation and national oppression in the Basque homeland.


Gerry Adams Closing Address...

This has been one of the most important debates in the recent history of our 
country and of Irish republicanism.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to it.

The decision we have taken today is truly historic.

Its significance will be in how we use this decision to move our struggle 

We have created the potential to change the political landscape of this 
island for ever.

We have created the opportunity to significantly advance our primary 
objective of a United Ireland through the building of greater political 

Now it is up to each of us at this Ard Fheis, and to the thousands of other 
republicans watching our deliberations today, to build on today's positive 

Of course, building political strength won't happen by chance. It will 
require hard work and dedication.

As I listened to today's debate, listened to the scores of contributions, 
and as I look around this hall now I am confirmed in my confidence that Sinn 
Féin has the commitment, the talent and ability, the determination and 
vision to build a New Ireland.

I want to make a few other short remarks to bring today's historic Ard Fheis 
to a close.

First of all I want to thank everyone who organised this Ard Fheis - 
everyone from security to publicity - tellers, steering committee, chair - 
achan daoine a chuir ocaid le chéile.

I want also to offer once again to meet with the leadership of other 
republican organisations who are opposed to Sinn Féin's peace strategy.

I want to meet with them and to listen to any alternative strategy that they 
want to put forward.

I would also expect them to listen to our analysis and the rationale behind 
our strategy.

I also want to appeal to unionists to encourage their political leaders to 
engage in open debate with Sinn Féin, and to unionist political leaders to 
take up that challenge.

Republicanism and unionism have to reach an historic compromise if the 
promise and hope of the peace process is to deliver stability and progress 
for all our people.

That means beginning a real dialogue, an anti-sectarian dialogue, between 
nationalism and republicanism and unionism.

A dialogue which can move us all beyond the current impasse into a living, 
hopeful future that will cherish all our people equally.

To achieve that, we must begin to co-operate in managing the process of 

It is also up to us who are working for a united Ireland to do everything 
possible to reach out to others and especially to reassure unionists that 
their culture and identity is not threatened by Irish unity.

On the contrary Irish unity can liberate and protect and advance the rights 
and entitlements of every citizen, nationalist and unionist and republican 
and all the new Irish on this island.

Accepting the responsibility of leadership means rising above our history of 
division, hostility and conflict.

I would appeal to those unionist political leaders to grasp the challenge 
that now exists - to demonstrate the leadership that is required in reaching 
beyond traditional positions.

The reality is that there has been significant change in recent years and 
that process of change will continue.

The decision we have taken today is not the end of the issue of policing and 

There is much more work to be done to ensure that the accountability 
mechanisms that are in place are used to their fullest potential.

We have a lot of work to do in co-operating with the families of those who 
continue to seek the truth on collusion, and state terrorism or who campaign 
for an end to plastic bullets.

Those campaigns have not ended.

They, like our struggle, have entered a new phase of activity.

This applies to Policing and Justice just as it does to other areas of state 

There is no going back, only forward to a new beginning and a just society.

If we are to make progress republicans and nationalist and unionists will 
have to set the terms of our relationship.

Republicans believe that the best way to achieve this is to take control of 
our destiny.

That means persuading the British government to face up to its 

It means the British government leaving Ireland.

That is the democratic right of the people of our island.

But why, we must ask ourselves, would a British government accept this 
democratic right, if the Irish government or other parties in this state are 
asking for less?

Sinn Féin is the only nationally organised party on this island.

We face into the future filled with hope, confident in our own ability and 
growing stronger day by day.

Today we acted in the national interest.

We look to others to do the same in the time ahead.

Today's Ard Fheis is about building our political strength. It is about 
putting backbone into Irish national politics.

It is about building equality - not just in the north - but everywhere in 
cities and towns all across this state and throughout rural Ireland.

Seamus Breslin from Doire said what the establishment feared was the wee man 
from the Bogside or the Falls Road going on to the Policing Boards.

Seamus is right but what the establishment fears even more than the wee man 
are the wee women, not just from the Bogside or the Falls but from Dublin 
Central, from Cavan Monaghan from the Cobh of Cork, from the west and the 
sunny south east - not just on policing boards but on decision making 
structures throughout Ireland.

Ní bheidh saoirse gan saoirse na mban agus ni bhrich SF abalta e a fhail gan 
mna na hEireann anseo linn mar gceonnairi.

Our duty is to *develop politics which empower people*. My friends we are 
very capable of doing that.

We are with Connolly - Ireland without our people means nothing to us.

We are about the *re-conquest of Ireland by the people of Ireland*.

The last month of consultation - internally, then with the wider republican 
base, and finally with everyone else is an example of a new culture of 
politics - the politics of change.

Sinn Féin is the engine of that change.

As we go from here, united, we also need to give space to everyone who has 
concerns or reservations about today's huge decision.

The debate does not finish here.

It continues - as our struggle continues.

And the debate needs to include not just the issue of policing but all other 
aspects of contemporary Irish society and the republican vision for a better 
Ireland, a new Ireland - an Ireland of Equals.

We are back here for our regular Ard Fheis in a months time and the year 
after that and the next year - bigger, stronger, bolder building political 
strength and building the new Republic.

In the meantime let's take the next wee phase nice and calmly.

Let's not be upset by how others respond to today's decision.

Remember the higher they build their barriers the stronger we become.

Let's keep our strategic and primary objectives as our compass in the time 

Leanagi ar aghaigh le cheile, laidir, aontaithe agus ag fas is ag togail 

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