New Year Statement
On behalf of the National Executive I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all our activists who campaigned so effectively for our goals during 2008. I choose the word effectively deliberately as I believe certain milestones in Irish republicanism were achieved during the past year. At the outset let me address the realities of our struggle by welcoming home the Derry 4 but in equal breath call for the immediate release of Terry McCafferty, Michael Campbell and all incarcerated Irish republicans. If ever a set of circumstances so described the nature of justice under partition it is these which do so with the greatest clarity. Partition is maintained by the establishments on either side of it which makes our struggle a thirty two county affair. A protest in Kerry is no less important than a protest in Belfast and in our efforts to build our organisation this is the message we must bring with us.
Our organisation has grown in 2008. We have reached into new areas and attracted new people who share our strategic vision. 2009 must see the Sovereignty Movement consolidate this growth and give it firm political leadership. The effective activism I speak of was visible in a number of areas;
A mature campaign for a No Vote against Lisbon.
The sustained protests on Prisoner issues.
The establishment of the Irish Republican Forum For Unity.
Our efforts at securing a No Vote in the Lisbon referendum were based on ensuring that the issue of Sovereignty and Partition were at the heart of our strategy. In doing so we made it clear that all issues of national relevance, be they concerned with natural resources or national heritage, can only be addressed in the context of National Sovereignty and that a resolution of one must contain a resolution of all. Sovereignty cannot be sub-divided.
Our comrades in the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association facilitated our activists in holding protests and demonstrations concerning imprisoned Irish Republicans. We point to the successful intervention in the Aidan Hulme case and the release of the Derry 4. But the cases of Terry McCafferty and Michael Campbell loom large and require similar attention to secure similar outcomes. We send solidarity greetings to all imprisoned republicans but we will do so through continued activism on their behalf.
After long and searching debate the Unity Initiative bore fruit with the formal establishment of The Irish Republican Forum For Unity. At its inaugural meeting in Derry City the republican base could finally see the unity idea transformed into political action on an inclusive basis. A series of public meetings have been planned throughout 2009 to bring the Unity Forum to different areas so that the broad republican base can be instrumental in forging its political activity. The 32CSM will remain fully engaged with the Unity Forum and have proposals prepared to put to it for the coming year.
2009 will see us once again confronted with the Lisbon issue. Those who make the repeated charge that republicans should respect the ‘democratic’ wish expressed in the dual referendums on the Good Friday Agreement should have their hypocrisy thrown back at them. A second referendum will have the added issue of its democratic nature and once again the 32CSM will campaign to ensure that this undemocratic premise and that of Partition itself will be seen as one. Our analysis of the re-run Nice Treaty convinced us that only a Yes vote will satisfy the Dublin Government and having anticipated the inevitability of a second poll we had begun our preparations for our campaign soon after the No victory. I take this opportunity to formally launch ‘Countdown To Lisbon II’ as our effort in the forthcoming campaign. It will be a campaign which will focus on our original objections to Lisbon and also on the status of a second referendum as it relates to our National Sovereignty. We will also campaign for a No Vote by highlighting the extraordinary corruption and social bankruptcy of the Twenty Six Counties political and financial classes as it tries to convince the people that a treaty hewn from the same bankruptcy is in our best interests.
2009 will not see the ending of Partition. Neither will 2016. These are the realities which face us and they need to be recognised by all republicans. However, this does not mean that 2009 and 2016 cannot witness political achievements that will help us secure this objective. Acting within our limitations and acting together to reduce those limitations can greatly enhance our prospects to once again place the republican position back onto the national agenda. Wallowing in the past or afraid to grasp nettles is the stuff of cul-de-sac politics. There is no need to reinvent the republican wheel but we do need to reinvent ways and means by which our core message is given the weight of political activity behind it. We view the Unity Forum as one such means and we strongly urge that all republican groups engage with it so that 2009 can become a watershed in our history.