Accents Change, Activism Remains
A Letter From Ireland
I am beginning to feel like a bit of a fraud. The letter from Ireland is again on the road.
Meanwhile the chaos continues in Westminster. Liz Truss is gone. The world is looking on at the dysfunctional nature of the British Government. They are witnessing the mess that we in Ireland have had to deal with since the Tory party came to power.
It is unclear who will be the new Prime Minster. The international community, the US, and Canada must act as critical friends. The only way forward for any new British Prime Minister must be to respect international law, implement agreements, and protect progress in Ireland.
At the time of writing I am in Ottawa. Last weekend I was in Montreal. It was my first time visiting, and was an experience. French-speaking and proudly Quebecois, it was an opportunity to see old friends, and as a sign of the times, meet up with new friends that I had only spoken with in zoom meetings during covid.
All were interested in Ireland, Irish Unity, and the immediate political issues of Brexit and its legacy. All wanted to talk about Quebec, and how Montreal was the best city in all of North America. It is a place and a people with a real sense of themselves. The history of famine era immigration shaped the city. That history and a sense of place mean they get Ireland, our history, and hopes.
Traveling on to Toronto, I met up with John Finucane for an intensive and hugely successful set of meetings with activists, labor leaders, and political leaders. As in the US, Ireland and the success of our peace process unites all parties in parliament. All want to work together to safeguard our agreements. The Canadian government has promoted peace in Ireland through investment, while individual Canadians have been central to political developments including General John DeChasalin and Judge Corry.
It wasn’t all heavy politics. We hosted some social events including gigs by the incredible new band Grainne from Montreal and the fantastic Charlie Angus, a folk-rock troubadour and member of parliament.
Ireland has some very good friends in Ottawa, Quebec, and across Canada.
There is something very special in the shared experiences that transcends time and place. For some it's Irish heritage, for others, it is the struggle to make life better for workers, families, and nations.
While the accents and at times the languages change, the activism remains. The dedication to Irish Unity, the commitment to justice, and the drive to make a difference connect us all. No matter where I am in the world I am always home in the company of activists.
Our work continues. Steadily building for unity and protecting the Good Friday Agreement.
I thank all who helped make this trip a success. You know who you are. Thank you for your support, your activism, your welcome, and your company.
With friends like these anything is possible.
Ciarán Quinn is the Sinn Féin Representative to North America. Each week he writes a letter from Ireland with news and analysis. It is featured in the weekly Friends of Sinn Féin USA Newsletter. Be sure you are subscribed to stay up to date.