Happy St. Patrick’s Day Weekend
A Letter from Ireland
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. It has been quite the week. The Sinn Féin delegation led by Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill landed in New York for a series of engagements before traveling on to Washington to meet up with former Finance Minister Conor Murphy in Washington.
As we landed the news broke of a major event planned to mark the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement at Coopers Union on April 3rd. The event will be addressed by President Bill Clinton and Gerry Adams. Two key figures without whom there would have been no Agreement. The event will also include Irish American leaders. I’ll be back for that one.
The program of events and speaking engagements has been extensive, including meetings with civic leaders, Congress members, labor leaders, and members of the Biden Administration. The events have also provided a space to reflect on how far we have traveled and how far we have yet to go.
On Wednesday, Irish American groups signed onto an advertisement in the media calling on the US government to continue to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement, for the British Government to honor their commitments, and for the Irish Government to plan, prepare, and advocate for Irish Unity. The message was clear: if you support the Good Friday Agreement, you support the right of the people to determine their constitutional future in Irish Unity Referendums.
The response from some was predictable. The leading Unionist party which opposed the Good Friday Agreement opposed the advert. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said that the time was not right. His party has had almost 100 years to prepare. For some, it appears that the time is never right.
The ads brought Irish Unity front and center. The Good Friday Agreement changed the course of Irish history 25 years ago. The next 25 years are in the hands of the people. Irish Unity is on the table.
On a sad note, I have just learned of the passing of Robbie McErlean in New York. Robbie was a former political prison, and one of a few to be granted unique status to remain in the US with their families. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anarm.
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.