Plan now for a united Ireland Sligo Sinn Féin Easter 1916 commemoration hears

A united Ireland is firmly on the table according to Sinn Féin councillor Arthur Gibbons who was addressing the party’s annual Easter 1916 Commemoration at Sligo Cemetery on Easter Sunday.

He said: “Friends, seismic generational change is underway in Ireland. The old certainties are collapsing. A new chapter of Irish history is being written. The change is real, and is happening in real time. It must be grasped bravely with both hands.

“The achievement of a new Ireland can happen in our time. Ireland – united and free – finally taking its rightful place amongst the nations of the world.

“More and more people are now seriously considering the future and the shape of constitutional change and friends, the reunification of Ireland is firmly on the table.

“I believe that referendum on Irish Unity can take place before the end of this decade. But that means starting to prepare and plan now.

“There is no time for delay. The Irish government must establish a Citizens’ Assembly to plan for Irish Unity, an Assembly where everyone is welcome, everyone is included, and everyone gets to share their ideas, their hopes, and their ambitions.

“On February the 3rd , Michelle O’Neill, vice president of Sinn Féin, a republican woman from Co. Tyrone took up the office of First Minister. The first Irish republican First Minister in the North, this is a huge significant milestone in the history of this island.

“The Executive now needs to work hard every day, for all the people of the North and to deliver on the issues affecting people from all communities.

“It’s time now for political leaders – nationalist and unionist, working together – to grasp the opportunity to build peace, prosperity and reconciliation.

“The Executive faces real and fundamental challenges – not least the fact that the British Tory government continues to starve the North of the finances to deliver basic public services.This further demonstrates in the clearest way possible why we need to govern ourselves

“In the south, this appetite for change is all around us.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – these parties have passed power between each other for over a century – but their time is coming to an end. A new generation demanding change is stepping forward.

“This is a tired government, running out of road. And that was made clear last week, when Leo Varadkar said he was not up for the job and wanted out. Instead of going to the people, they are doing all they can to avoid an election.

“Simon Harris does not represent change. He has sat around the cabinet table for the past eight years while the biggest housing crisis the State has ever seen looms. The fact is that housing is out of reach because this government is out of touch.

“If they are confident in their record, put it to the people, and let the public decide who becomes Taoiseach. Call an election now. Sinn Féin wants to be in government. We want to lead government. A government that transforms our health service. A government that builds homes. A government that puts Irish reunification at the heart of its agenda. That is our ambition.

“This year Local and European elections will take place on June 7th – if we want change you have to vote for it. Sinn Fein are running the biggest ever number of candidates in the local elections, here in Sligo along with myself contesting Sligo/Strandhill will be Pauline Donnelly, Sligo DrumcliffeCllr, Thomas Healy, Ballymote Tubbercurry District, Donal O’Connor, Jason Gorman and Jennifer Van Aswegen.

“In the European elections we have first class candidates, Chris MacManus MEP & Michelle Gildernew just to mention Two who will stand up for Ireland in Europe; defend Ireland’s military neutrality; seek to end Ursula Von Der Leyen’s damaging leadership of the EU; and oppose the drift of the EU towards militarisation.

“As republicans who want change you have a role to play you need to get involved, work along with your local and European Candidate’s, if we truly want success there is a part for each and everyone of you to play, I am asking that over the next 10 weeks be part of promoting and achieving this vision.”

Cllr Gibbons also spoke about the situation in Gaza. “Sinn Féin has stood unequivocally with the people of Gaza At home, and within the EU Institutions we have raised the obscenity of the Gaza genocide and called for the efforts of all political leaders to be directed towards an immediate ceasefire. Sinn Féin has called on the Irish Government to support South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.”

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