‘QUEEN’S HANDSHAKE IMPORTANT’ – DOHERTY TELLS DONEGAL REPUBLICANS

first_imgDONEGAL Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty has defended Martin McGuinness’ decision to shake hands with England’s Queen Elizabeth.Speaking at the 31st Anniversary commemoration of the 1981 Hunger Strikers in Drumkeen on Sunday, Deputy Pearse Doherty said: “As we gather here today, let us be mindful of the changes that have been brought about since 1981.“The republican strategy which brought the British, the unionists and the Irish government to the negotiating table has ensured that the totalitarian Orange State, which existed in 1981, is now gone forever. “But more work is yet to be done. Thankfully, there is now an entirely peaceful way to bring about an end to British rule on this island. Our duty is to develop democratic ways and means in order to achieve this.“Like the blanket men we can never take the easy option. We need to continue to seize every initiative and constantly drive our country to a reconciled 32 county republic where our communities live side by side in peace.“There have been many momentous initiatives and indeed historical moments that have marked the years of struggle.“Some have been highly political, others have been highly significant and some have been highly symbolic. “Martin McGuinness’s meeting with the Queen of England this week embraced all of these things.“Martin as a leading member of the republican movement was, in a very pointed, deliberate and symbolic way offering the hand of friendship to unionists through the person of Queen Elizabeth for which many unionists have a deep affinity. It is an offer I hope many will accept in the same spirit it was offered.“The task of building National Reconciliation is as much a part of the Peace Process as anything that has gone before. It will be not easy and the challenges will be great. We are up for the challenge“There are issues that have not been brought to a conclusion, specifically the issue of the legacy of the conflict. The British Government has a big role to play in that.“Sinn Féin is absolutely committed to the achievement of a New Republic in Ireland. We believe that the Good Friday Agreement offers a clear democratic roadmap to get there. “Now is a time for new fresh approach to Irish-British relations. That is a challenge for everyone.“It is also a challenge for the Irish government. In future ending partition and national reunification need to become Irish government policy not merely an aspiration goal.“Our children deserve a better future than those of the past. A future marked by respect and equality in place of conflict and suspicion.Full Text of Oration below I want to welcome you all here to Drumkeen for our annual hunger strike commemoration. The large crowd that assembles here every year is a demonstration of the lasting legacy of the 1981 period and the continued inspiration that the hunger strikers invoke in the people of Donegal.Our commemoration this year will be followed by the inaugural ‘1981 hunger strike memorial cup’. The Drumkeen Commemoration Committee deserves huge credit for organising this match. They have opened our commemorative events to a new initiative, making our commemorations even more family friendly. I believe that it is republican events like this that Bobby Sands, a keen soccer player, envisaged when he said, “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.” Advertisement As we enjoy the sporting activities this afternoon, we should be mindful of the massive change that has taken place since the heroes of 1981 embarked on a hunger strike to the death.Thirty years ago the north was embroiled in war. British troops were dug into our hilltops; citizens were dying in their scores; nationalist areas in the North were under military occupation and unionists were entrenched in sectarian politics. Advertisement A totalitarian Orange State existed in 1981 and many young republicans had no other option but to engage in armed struggle.But the republican strategy which brought the British, the unionists and the Irish government to the negotiating table has ensured that the Orange State is now gone, forever.But more work is yet to be done.We republicans are from the democratic tradition which believes that the British government never had any right to be in Ireland; does not have any right to be in Ireland and never will have any right to be in Ireland.Thankfully there is now an entirely peaceful way to bring about an end to British rule on this island. Our duty is to develop democratic ways and means in order to achieve this.We need to be courageous in our thinking and we need to mend the wounds that war has had on our society.Like the blanketmen we can never take the easy option. We can have never sit back and hope that someone else will do the heavy lifting. We need to continue to seize every initiative and constantly drive our country to a reconciled 32 county republic where our communities live side by side in peace.There have been many momentous initiatives and indeed historical moments that have marked the years of struggle.Some have been highly political, others have been highly significant and some have been highly symbolic.Martin McGuinness’s meeting with the Queen of England this week embraced all of these things.It was a meeting which can have huge effects on defining a new relationship between Britain and Ireland and between the Irish people themselves.Martin reached out the hand of friendship, mindful of the history of Britain’s involvement in Irish affairs.Martin as a leading member of the republican movement was, in a very pointed, deliberate and symbolic way offering the hand of friendship to unionists through the person of Queen Elizabeth for which many unionists have a deep affinity. It is an offer I hope many will accept in the same spirit it was offered.Massive progress has been made. We have transformed society in the north. But that transformation has come at a heavy price on all sides. Over 3,000 people lost their lives in the course of the conflict. Many more suffered injury and loss. Every single loss of life was evidence of a failure of politics and a failure of British policy in Ireland.The task of building National Reconciliation is as much a part of the Peace Process as anything that has gone before. It will be not easy and the challenges will be great. We are up for the challengeUnfortunately to date the British State has refused to even acknowledge its role as a combatant in the conflict. That position is no longer tenable as we move forward. It is insulting to victims of events like Bloody Sunday it is insulting to people’s intelligence. It is also excluding the British state from assisting a genuine process of national reconciliation in Ireland.There are issues that have not been brought to a conclusion, specifically the issue of the legacy of the conflict. The British Government has a big role to play in that.It includes facing up to the issues that surround the Ballymurphy Massacre, the Pat Finucane murder and the countless other state sponsored deaths that took place during the conflict.In Donegal we continue to fight for a full enquiry into the murder of Sinn Fein councillor Eddie Fullerton.Sinn Féin is absolutely committed to the achievement of a New Republic in Ireland. We believe that the Good Friday Agreement offers a clear democratic roadmap to get there. Under that agreement the Government of Ireland Act was repealed and the British government have committed to legislating for Irish unity in the event of a 50% plus one result in a border poll.The partition of Ireland is an outdated relic of the past. — a symbol of political failure.Now is a time for new fresh approach to Irish-British relations. That is a challenge for everyone.It is also a challenge for the Irish government. For too long, successive Irish governments have paid lip service to partition. They have tolerated the division of our country and people which has resulted in Ireland as a nation not reaching our full potential. In future ending partition and national reunification need to become Irish government policy not merely an aspiration goal.Our children deserve a better future than those of the past. A future marked by respect and equality in place of conflict and suspicion.Let us leave Drumkeen today as confident republicans, committed to the reunification of our country and to the Ireland that was dreamt of in Long Kesh 31 years ago.‘QUEEN’S HANDSHAKE IMPORTANT’ – DOHERTY TELLS DONEGAL REPUBLICANS was last modified: July 2nd, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:’QUEEN’S HANDSHAKE IMPORTANT’ – DOHERTY TELLS DONEGAL REPUBLICANSlast_img read more