éirígí rejects secret talks with Sinn Féin, calls for open, public debate

eirigiéirígí issue call to Sinn Féin – “Let’s have an open, public debate”

The socialist republican party éirígí has formally proposed that a series of public debates should take place between its representatives and representatives of Sinn Féin.  In a statement, the party has revealed that it put a written proposal advocating a process of public debates to Sinn Féin in recent days.

Commenting on recent interaction between the two parties and the éirígí proposal, the party’s Rúnaí Ginearálta/general secretary, Breandán Mac Cionnaith, stated: “Sinn Féin recently invited éirígí to participate in private bi-lateral meetings, with the stated aim of developing ‘common ground’ and establishing ‘potential areas of agreement’ between the two parties.  Having fully discussed Sinn Féin’s proposal, éirígí has declined that invitation.

“As an alternative to that format, we have put forward our own proposal which would see the commencement of a series of public debates between éirígí and Sinn Féin. We believe that our proposal would engender widespread support and public interest.”

Explaining éirígí’s decision to decline private bilateral talks, Mac Cionnaith said: “It is our view that the ideological and strategic distance between éirígí and Sinn Féin is simply too great to permit the development of the sort of ‘common ground’ or ‘areas of agreement’ that Sinn Féin is proposing.

“This is particularly true in the context of the current Sinn Féin strategy which advocates the de facto acceptance of partition and British interference in Irish affairs while also acting as administrators of British political, social and economic rule.

eirigi2“We fail to see how our party could establish common political ground with any party which, as part of the Stormont coalition, is responsible for reinforcing social injustice, economic inequality and the political disempowerment of the working-class in the Six Counties.”

Highlighting the merits of éirígí’s proposed inter-party public debates Mac Cionnaith said, “We do believe that there is merit in seeking to develop an alternative method of positive engagement between éirígí and Sinn Fein and among Republicans in general.  We have therefore formally proposed to Sinn Féin the development of a series of public debates between our two parties and possibly other republican and socialist organisations.  We believe that the format for these debates would need to include a mechanism for significant participation from members of the public.

“It is our view that a series of public debates involving éirígí and Sinn Féin would provide a practical, constructive and positive opportunity to compare and contrast the ideological and strategic differences between our two respective organisations.

“Such a process of public debate would also contribute to increased levels of political awareness and knowledge among the participants and the general public, something which has an inherent value of its own.

“We believe our proposal reflects and builds upon the stated intention and purpose of Sinn Féin’s original invitation.”

Mac Cionnaith concluded by commenting on the inconsistencies in Sinn Féin’s public and private positions towards other éirígí and other republican organisations.

eirigi3“We note,” he said, “that there is a highly significant political difference between the thrust of Sinn Féin’s public utterances and the content of that party’s correspondence to éirígí.

“Over a number of years, up to the present, Sinn Féin spokespersons have systematically and repeatedly attempted to label all opponents of their political strategy as ‘dissident’ republicans.

“Many non-conformist and dissenting voices within the broader Republican community, including our own party, have been lumped together under this catch-all tag of ‘dissident’ by Sinn Féin and other establishment parties.

“Sinn Féin’s recent approach to éirígí on the basis of developing ‘common ground’ and ‘potential areas of agreement’ stands in complete contrast to those public stances.

“Sinn Féin’s recent communications with éirígí represent an inherent recognition of the fact that opposition to the status quo in Ireland is far more complex and widespread than that party has previously acknowledged.

“It also represents a clear acknowledgement of éirígí’s bona fides as a legitimate political party, something which Sinn Féin’s leadership has implicitly refused to recognise publicly in the past.

“We hope this belated recognition of the legitimacy and validity of alternative political positions extends beyond the current interaction.

“We also hope that this recognition will permit Sinn Féin to take up our offer of a series of public debates with éirígí.

“For our own part, we in éirígí have sufficient confidence in our political views to openly debate and defend them in public. We hope that others do also.”

Posted on April 24, 2013, in 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Irish politics today, national, Partition, Provos - then and now, Public events - Ireland, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, six counties, Toadyism, twenty-six counties, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on éirígí rejects secret talks with Sinn Féin, calls for open, public debate.

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