Left Archive: Mining and Energy – The Sinn Féin Policy, Provisional Sinn Féin, 1974 December 9, 2013Posted by leftarchivist in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin, Uncategorized.
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To download the above file please click on the following link: SF MINING
This well presented document, issued by Provisional Sinn Féin in 1974, attempts to engage with the area of Mining and Energy. What is notable about it is that it is one a broad range of policy materials issued by PSF during this period on a number of issues, many of which are being posted to the Archive in the New Year. This somewhat blunts the impression that PSF was focused on independence and unity to the exclusion of all else. However it is fair to say that, naturally, Sinn Féin positioned the issue of Mining and Energy in the context of national independence.
The introduction notes:
Because the Republican Movement believes that the irish people are on the verge of victoy in the age-old struggle for national liberation it has shown an increasing awareness of the necessity to initiate, promote and develop political policies which can be put into action as soon as Britain declares her intention to get out of our country. The partitionist settlement of 1921, exposed as the betrayal Republicans have always held it rob e, is crumbling before the inspiration of a New Ireland.
The SF Éire Nua document, first published in January 1971 (some 16,000 copies have been sold to date) outlined 10 fundamental feature so the Republican Social and Economic Programme. it also contained detailed policies for specific sectors in chapters dealing with Finance, Education, Industry, Agriculture, etc., outlining not only what an independent Irish government could do in the New Ireland but also setting out the specific measures which could be taken here and now to ensure that the fabric of Irish life would remain as healthy and intact as possible under the present colonial and neo-colonial conditions that prevail in the partitioned states North and South.
It argues that since the publication of Éire Nua the party has expanded policy in a variety of fields. It also suggests that:
It is necessary however, to point out form the beginning that SF policy always distinguishes between what can be achieved within the limitations of the present governmental structure of this island, and the vigorous revolutionary policies which Republicans would advocate in a free New Ireland.
Interestingly the document starts by identifying ‘the question of ownership and exploitation [of Irish natural resources] in the interests of the Irish people. And it argues that the Proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916 by asserting the “right of the people to the ownership of Ireland” in tandem with the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil Éireann, 1919 which declared:
…the nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the nation, but to all its material possessions; the nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the nation and with Pearse we re-affirm that all rights to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare’.
To this end the document argues that:
Sinn Féin stands not merely for the complete overthrow of English rule in Ireland but also for the setting up of a Democratic Socialist Republic. WE have outlined clearly what form this federated Republic would take in our Éire Nua programme and have incorporated the right of the Irish people to the natural resources of the country in the first point summary thus: “The wealth of Ireland belongs to the people of Ireland is theirs to be exploited and developed in their interests”.
It continues that ‘we reject “Western” liberal capitalism and the consumer society on one hand and the state capitalism of the “Eastern” bloc on the other. Our aim is to outline an alternative third way of life based on Irish traditions and values and adapted to the geographic and historic situation we find ourselves’.
And it outlines one caveat:
We also feel that what may suit in one particular sector of the economy, or even in one region of a New Ireland may not necessarily be the best solution for another. Thus while we emphasise the growth of co-operatives in agriculture and fishing matters, we advocate state management of most major sectors of the economy and the financial and banking institutions. Some industries lend themselves to independent ownerships, others to workers control, others still to development as state corporations. But the underlying principle in each case is that the rights, welfare and prosperity of the ordinary Irish citizen are paramount and have to be protected.
It argues that in the case of mining ‘because it concerns a fundamental natural resource – a national resource not owned by anybody until it is discovered and exploited… is quite unique and needs to be considered as such. For this reason we feel that the question of compensation, which would arise say if some land were to be nationalised for whatever purpose, does not apply’.
And it further argues for the establishment of the equivalent of a state Bord na Móna for mining exploration and research, which would also coordinate mining and energy development in the country and to maintain strict control on any multi-national companies that would be interested in developing any particular sectors of the wealth.
It also argues that:
In this respect an attitude similar to the present policy of Norway would be adopted. Thus while the irish tax rate on profits form exploration at about 50% is rather similar to the profits tax imposed in Norway, Sinn Féin would also insist, as Norway does, that the state company have a share in the development and that a permanent royalty be paid where a successful strike was made.
Worth noting the emphasis on wind and tidal energy to generate electricity and ‘an intensification of development on our peat-lands’.
Left Archive: Towards a Policy on Culture: Sinn Féin Dréacht pholasaí ar chultúr – Sinn Féin, 1981 October 21, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Sinn Féin, Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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To download the above file click on the following link: SINN FÉIN TOWARDS A POLICY ON CULTURE
Many thanks to the person who scanned and donated this document to the Archive. A brief five printed pages it offers the outline of a policy on culture from that party.
In the Introduction it notes:
We write ‘towards a policy on culture’ because the final policy document of Sinn Féin in this respect will be the attitude, living example and support of the traditional culture of Ireland expressed by the average SF member from day to day.
Although by definition culture is every aspect of the life of an individual, a group or a larger society, what we are concerned about primarily in this document is that which makes up the essentials of the traditional Irish identity, readily recognisable at any period in the history of the Irish people.
According to the experts, by far the most important element in any culture is its own particular language. Thus we agree with the late IRA activist, professor, lecturer and revolutionary writer, Mairtin Ó Cadhain, when he stated: Tosoidh athghabhaíl na hÉireann le hathghabháil.
The task before Sinn Féin today, as before the 1918 elections, is to change the perspective of the Irish people, who have the only really essential resource for survival, their determination. The instinct of the Irihs people remains true to tradition: they will continue to support the men of force. If given resolute, scientific and principled leadership, they will restore the Irish language. We believe that only the Republican movement can give them that leadership.
It argues that Sinn Féin itself “should aim to conduct its business through Irish and Irish would be the normal means of communication between Sinn Féin members, new members having to pass through a training programme, including a good working knowledge of Irish, before becoming full members”.
It notes that while SF policy is to use Irish titles for various offices, ‘in recent years there has been a tendency to abandon such terms and to use the English example’. It also suggests that SF members should reject ‘that version of one’s given name or surname which the enemy would have us use, as a formal and permanent act of submission, and the discovery, use and exclusive cultivation of the historic and traditional Irish terms’.
It encourages members of SF to join or support all those organisations that help strength Irish identity at various levels. But it also suggests that members consider ‘it part of SF activities to analyse and uncover the activities of persons and groups organising local events which degrade Ireland and her people (beauty contests, for example) and which bring benefit to tiny gombeen minorities’.
In discussing occasions for the use of Irish it points to cultural events, and also that ‘local national martyrs may be honoured in like manner’ it continues:
Obviously… Christianity is part of the Irish culture (as is unbelief, disbelief, agnosticism and anti-clericalism) and, at the lowest level, that of tacts, at least, it is sensible to facilitate religion as an integral part of the general festivities.
It continues, though:
In such an event, however, it is essential that all the religious beliefs represented locally be invited to contribute. An ecumenical service, in both languages, might be the answer. If there is a local Jewish presence it should not be ignored.
It is interesting that the focus is very much on what SF members can do to encourage their use and the use of Irish more broadly in the society.
Left Archive: Private Property Rights? Republican Documents – Issue 1, Published by Republican Club TCD (Sinn Féin). 1969 October 14, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in 1969/70), Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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To download the above please click on the following link: SF DOC
This document issued by the Republican Club in Trinity College Dublin, was one of a series which included ‘Selected Works of O’Connaire, Mellowes, and Costelloe’ as well as ‘The Writings of John Mitchell’. The contents of this issue were Felon’s Letters No. 3, by James Fintan Lalor, The Sovereign People by Padraig Pearse and Who Owns Ground Rents in Ireland? by Seamus Costelloe, a speech delivered by him to Bray Urban District Council in 1967.
Each is of specific interest, but it is probably best to quote from the Introduction in order to get a sense of the orientation of the document.
The three works which we present in this pamphlet represent the verdict of Republicanism on the nature of private property and ownership in Ireland. Both Lalor and Pearse lay down principles, which, if we relate them to our own situation, we find are still as relevant as when first expounded.
These the document argues are that ‘the right of private property’ is ‘not applicable to private ownership in land’ and it continues by asserting that ‘Pearse… goes on to show that the nation’s sovereignty extends overall the nation’s material resources and that such sovereignty is absolute’.
And so we come to Seamus Costelloe, who draws heavily on both Pearse and Lalor in relation to the question of ground rents…
And it notes that he finds an interesting source of validation for his thesis.
Not only does he take the Republican thinkers of fifty and one hundred years ago as his guides, but also the religious authority of Pope Paul in our own day. He finds the two opinions strangely in accord with one another, and related to his own experience as a civic representative, comes to the conclusion that the political philosophy of Republicanism is still highly relevant to the Ireland of 1967.
Nothing has happened in the eighteen months since he addressed the Bray urban District Council to change his conclusions. If anything, the recently published ‘Stolen Waters’, by Seamus O Tuathail, the Editor of the United Irishman, enforces the conviction that private ownership of the land and waterways is immoral and indefensible.
This selection of writings is intended to assist both Republicans and non-Republicans to come to a better understanding of the philosophy of Republicanism; perhaps having read these works, all will come to the conclusion that little has changed in Ireland, despite our sham independence.
Note the Civil Rights Now! printed on the back cover.
Left Archive: Setting the Criteria – Tackling Discrimination: Sinn Féin’s analysis and proposals *Proposed Ard Chomhairle policy document for the SF Ard-Fheis, Sinn Féin, 1987 June 10, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin, Uncategorized.
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To download the above please click on the following link: SF DISCRIM
This document published by Sinn Féin in 1987 provides an insight into SF analysis and proposals in the area of discrimination in Northern Ireland during the 1980s.
It notes that:
Almost 20 years after the issue of job discrimination against nationalists was highlighted by the civil rights struggle, the response of the British government has been the begrudging acknowledgement that discrimination does exist. Last year it published proposals ostensibly aimed at tackling the problem. Sinn Féin argues that not only are these proposals inadequate but that they would not have been made at all had it not been for the MacBride Principles campaign in the USA which has put international pressure on Britain.
The MacBride Principles are seen in the USA as acceptable and reasonable objectives on a parallel with the campaign for the adoption of the Sullivan (Anti-Apartheid) Principles.
In the section headlined Background the document notes – perhaps to forestall criticism – that:
This paper does not intend arguing the republican contention that Britain cannot reform the Six-County state to the extent that support dwindles for the aspiration for Irish reunification. Its purposes are:
(i) To show that Britain – as the de facto government – is responsible for job discrimination against Catholics/Nationalists and that it has shown no genuine interest in tackling the problem;
(ii) To set down alternative proposals, which deal more effectively with the problem at this time; and
(iii) To set as the ultimate criterion of any proposals the actual effect of their implementation.
Before making specific proposals – such as ‘clear and comprehensive legal powers are required to eradicate discrimination and to ensure that equality of opportunity is realised’ – it notes:
Sinn Féin does not believe that the eradication of discrimination can be achieved within the confines of a Six-County state or under the auspices of a British government. Nevertheless, the responsibility of attempting to tackle this historic/structural problem lies with the British government as creators of and apologists for the Six-county state. We repeat that the ultimate criterion of any proposals is the actual effect of their implementation – they must lead to an end to sectarian discrimination in employment within tangible timescales.
Left Archive: Abortion Ireland – A Report by Sinn Féin’s Department of Women’s Affairs, October 1981, Sinn Féin May 6, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
Many thanks to Alan at Irish Election Literature and the person who scanned this document.
To download the above please click on the following link:ABORTSF1981
This short document, issued in 1981, addresses Provisional Sinn Féin’s approach to abortion at that time.
It starts by noting that:
An estimated 10,000 Irish women will have had abortions during 1981. It is precisely because thousands of Irish women do travel to Britain every year that a recent E.E.C. report called for national legislation to remove the need for such lonely and desperate journey’s.
It notes that SF’s policy document ‘Women in the New Ireland’ states:
There is a need to face up to the problem of abortion no matter what individual opinions are. We do not judge women who have had abortion but recognise that it is an indictment of society that so many women should feel the need to avail of abortion. We are opposed to the attitudes and forces in society that impel women to have abortions. We are totally opposed to abortion.
It outlines the legal situation as regards abortion in both parts of the island and provides statistics as to the geographical and occupational data of those seeking abortion in Britain.
It also outlines broader family planning law and the provision of contraceptives in the Republic and the six counties.
The overview in Section Two: Organisations Pro/Anti-Abortion is of interest.
Of the Women’s Right to Choose Group they note ‘They see abortion as the fourth viable option to a pregnant woman after the choices of keeping the child, fostering it or having it adopted. Their commitment is to ensure that women’s lives are controlled by women themselves. They believe that every child should be a wanted child and not a burden or a point of resentment.
Of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) they write:
Unfortunately they attract a great many reactionary types who would be extremely conservative on most social issues. Our research failed to find any of them involved with organisations who aid pregnant women nor have they protested at the limitations of the Health At whereby Medical Card holders – those least well off – have to pay for contraceptives.
The reasoning behind this report is to show that abortion is an issue in Ireland and will not end with a solitary sentence in a policy document. Any one of these statistics could be your wife, your sister or your daughter.
We believe that those who are ’totally opposed’ to abortion and those who see it as a tragedy and an indictment against society must work to improve conditions for and attitudes towards pregnant women.
Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2013 April 12, 2013Posted by doctorfive in Irish Politics, Sinn Féin.
Gerry Adams was on with Pat this morning.
Left Archive: Provos – Patriots or Terrorists? Seán Ó Riain, 1974 February 11, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin, Uncategorized.
To download the above document please click on the following link: PROVS
In some respects this document is not a left-wing publication, and yet it provides a refutation of the two nations theory from the point of view of Provisional Republicanism. The author (who is later credited, as was pointed out to me, in a second edition of the pamphlet published later in 1974, under the byline of ‘G. Ó Danachair.’) clearly worked closely with PSF in writing the book, indeed in the Introduction he writes;
The author would like to express his gratitude to Éamonn Mac Thomáis and Joe Clarke for their kind help.
The Introduction also is clear in terms of the strong identification it establishes with Provisional Republicanism.
As your read this, the climax of the struggle for an independent and sovereign Irish nation is being enacted in the North-Eastern part of our country. Despite the gallantry of the beleaguered people of the Six Counties, gallantry alone cannot defeat the military and propaganda might of the Britain and her allies in this country. Only the entire people of IReland can achieve that. But the Irish people are not being told the truth about either the Northern situation or the I.R.A. campaign. it is in order that the truth be known that this pamphlet has been written.
It should be pointed out that all references to either the ‘Republican Movement’ or the ‘Irish Republican Army refer to the ‘Provisional Movement or the ‘Provisional’ I.R.A. – unless otherwise stated.
One notable omission is that of the concept of class. This is particularly evident in the first chapter which attempts to engage with the ‘Two-Nations’ theory.
There are certainly two traditions but no two nations. After 350 years there is no longer even a distinguishable dividing line between those of platner or native ancestry. there is no linguistic difference, or physically apparent racial difference. All share the same territory, the same history and the common name of ‘Irishman’. Their differences are based on religious conflict or to put it in its current terminology, they are only separated by sectarianism.
The rest of the pamphlet is broken up into various chapters, including ‘The Northern Situation’, ‘In Justification’, ‘the Terrorist Myth’, ‘Criticism and Refutation’ and ‘The Republican Alternative’. There are also appendices dealing with various topics including ‘Torture’, ‘Repression’, ‘Discrimination’ and ‘Éire Nua in Outline’.
In relation to the last, there’s an interesting analysis of how that document provides ‘an ideal solution’, one which ‘has to… offer… something to both sides’ on pp.39-40.
All told a very useful document that provides a considerable insight into both the thinking of the Provisional Movement during that period and how it sought to be represented to a broader audience.
To download the above file please click on the following link: IRIS 1991
Many thanks to Jim Monaghan for donating this to the Archive.
This is an addition to the other copy of Iris published by Sinn Féin that is in the Archive. And being the Easter 1991 edition it commemorates the 75 years from 1916 to 1991. As such it contains a broad range of articles on 1916, and – as interestingly – the years subsequent to that date.
The introductory Viewpoint contextualises the issue.
Our celebrations are inevitably tinged with regret, however, that the programme of those revolutionaries, enshrined in the Proclamation, has yet to be implemented. We also regret the reality that nationalist Ireland as a whole will not be commemorating this anniversary and that the revolutionary successors of 1916 are themselves a despised and slandered minority.
And it stresses the radical nature of the conflict.
The Proclamation was a radical document in the Ireland of 75 years ago and it remains so to this day. it was considered subversive then and is considered equally subversive today. Yet the demands it makes are for basic national and human rights. Failure to active these demands has resulted in tragedy for all the people of this island.
Which it then seeks to place within a then contemporary context.
Small wonder that its establishment [in the RoI] prefers to ignore the message of freedom and equality of the Easter Rebellion, given their continued subservience to Britain and we see a society where more and more people are forced to exist on meagre welfare payments while others accumulate massive wealth. Lip service is paid to the notion of equality but nothing is done to bridge the widening gap between rich and poor.
The approach to Unionism is interesting.
For the unionist population of the Six Counties, partition and the denial of Irish self-determination mean that they have been locked into the carnival of reaction that James Connolly warned of. They continue to allow Britain to divide them from their fellow countrymen and women, and remain trapped in a paranoid and reactionary statelet, suspicious of both their British masters and hostile to their nationalist neighbours.
And there are notes of pessimism and optimism.
At times this task seems hopeless, but a week is a long time in politics. The Berlin Wall has gone and Britain’s border in Ireland will go also. But there is much groundwork to be done first, particularly in the 26 Counties, if the present climate of opinion is to change.
Other articles include ‘A Pictorial View of 1916’, ‘1916 – What did it mean for Irish women?’ and ‘The radical years – The Labour Movement and 1916’. Also it has ‘The Betrayal of 1916 – Revisionism exposed’. Indeed the emphasis is markedly on the left aspects of the 1916, including an article by Mitchel McLaughlin on ‘The 1916 Proclamation – A revolutionary document’.
Also in the magazine is the Armed Struggle section with a piece on ‘sustained guerrilla campaign’ and ‘War News’.
To download this document please click on the following link: UI RUC 1978
This edition of the SFWP United Irishman is the first addition to the Archive from that newspaper from the latter part of the 1970s. The United Irishman of this period was tilted somewhat more towards the North and this is reflected in parts of the contents.
The cover is striking in the context of broader material from the SFWP with the headline R.U.C. Hangmen. The article accompanying it references a young man who was found hanged in his cell and suggests that this was part of a broader range of suspicious deaths in custody during the period. The piece concludes that:
All these incidents are taking place at a time when the RUC have a lavish advertising campaign to improve the image of the Force. Also they are taking up a higher military profile throughout the north. Armed with Sterlin sub-machine guns, and Mark 1 carbines, the RUC recently have started to patrol areas of the border usually covered by the British Army.
The civilian policing service sought ten years ago by the civil rights marchers is still as far away as ever.
On the front page there’s another article that links to the Arms Trial, noting that the Irish Government had ‘dropped its attempts to recover money from German arms dealer Otto Schleuter’ which the German had been given for an arms cargo in 1969. It notes that ‘An anonymously published booklet called ‘Fianna Fáil and the IRA’ was issued in 1970 and claimed that Haughey and Blaney used funds [from the Exchequer] to undermine the Civil Rights struggle, buy traitors to split the Republican Movement and set up and arm the Provisionals.
A third article engages with nuclear power and the position of SFWP against ‘the building of a nuclear power station’ in Ireland. The reasons presented against such an installation are strongly linked to economic rather than environmental concerns – in particular the fact that ‘uranium is a very scarce commodity’ and ‘a nuclear power station is very costly to build’.
Other articles of particular interest include ‘Why Republicans Oppose Federalism’, part of a series of three articles on the topic on page 4. This was directly oriented towards countering the then Sinn Féin policy based on the Éire Nua document which staunchly advocated a federal Ireland.
Notably the introductory paragraph notes:
For almost 200 years the objective of the majority on this island has been to unite all of the people in a single unitary Republican State.
This Republic is now being opposed by the Provisionals, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the right wing of the SDLP.
Also of interest on page 5 is a critique of Dr. Noel Browne who had recently made what is characterised as a ‘sweeping attack on Irish Republicanism’. This was in the context of a meeting where Browne had delivered a ‘prepared script’. The UI also notes that:
The other SLP speaker at the same meeting, David Neligan, also was critical of Republicans, and in particular Sinn Féin, the Workers’ Party who, he said, ‘would have to prove their socialism’. This of course is true of everybody – including David Neligan.
The document also has a page devoted to international affairs, including Cuba’s Agricultural Revolution and the World Trade Union Conference in Prague.
A few queries…… August 16, 2012Posted by irishelectionliterature in Republicans, Sinn Féin, Ulster.
I was lucky enough to receive a quantity of scans of assorted mainly Republican material from the 1920s onwards. I’ve a few questions which I hope some of you may be able to help me with
Firstly a query regarding the address given on various leaflets/pamphlets (from the late 60s early 70s) as to were they both Sinn Féin or was one Official Sinn Féin ?
The Addresses were in Dublin,
One being 30 Gardiners Place the other 2a Lr Kevin Street.
I’m also still trying to date a few of the items.
“Sinn Fein Today”
“Republican Education -What We Need to Know to win”
“Peace In Ireland” by Gerry Adams (Long Kesh)
and “Know Your Rights -What to do if arrested in the 26 counties”