Meeting Up with Old Friends
In this week's, Letter From Ireland, Ciarán Quinn is looking forward to the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis and Holloween. Never miss a Letter from Ireland sign up for the Friends of Sinn Féin free weekly newsletter.
It’s that time of the year. A time of magic, of strange and glamourous creatures, and the possibility of fireworks. Meeting up with old friends. Yes, this weekend is the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis (annual conference). It’s also Halloween.
Due to Covid regulations, this will be a smaller meeting and the first in two years. Since the last conference, Sinn Féin is now the largest party in the Dáil and Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald is the first woman to lead the official opposition in the history of the state.
Sinn Féin continues to rise in the polls and extend its lead over the other parties north and south.
In the north, the institutions have been re-established. The Assembly and Executive that meets in Stormont is the first in history without an absolute Unionist majority.
These changes reflect a fundamental shift in public opinion. People across Ireland, want the issues that impact their lives fixed, housing, healthcare, and prosperity. They want their rights vindicated and respected. They want Irish Unity. They are looking for a break from the past and looking to Sinn Féin.
There are challenges ahead from a British Government that believes that it is not bound by agreements or international law on legacy issues, human rights, or Brexit. And from an increasingly chaotic and leaderless unionism unable to come to terms with its loss of power.
These challenges can be overcome. Peace, democracy, and equal rights must prevail over threats, reneging on agreements and inequality.
The US has been central in reminding the British Government of its obligations and the impact of breaking agreements.
So we have challenges to meet as we manage the transformation to a United Ireland. This Ard Fheis comes at a time of fundamental change and great opportunity.
We have much to do to consolidate and build on the progress of the last two years and turn polls into votes. But with your continued support, we can make it happen. We can build a new and united Ireland.
Have a great weekend, tune into Mary Lou’s speech on Sunday Midday Eastern Time and enjoy the Irish/Celtic festival of Halloween.