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Left Archive: What We need to know to win – Sinn Féin, c. early 1980s May 5, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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what we need cover SF

To download or view the above document please click on the following link:

You’ll find more at the Irish Left Archive here.

This is an interesting document from Provisional Sinn Féin which notes that:

Education in SF is a key feature of our current strategy. The success of our challenge to establishment power structures depends on our members becoming competent activists moving forward with a clear and up to date analysis of the situation and equipped with all the necessary skills – in organising, leadership and communication – to make things happen in the community.

It continues with an outline of means by which activists can command the rhetorical high ground as a means of extending their influence. And it also gives an insight into the education of new members of SF. For example it notes that:

All new members must complete an introductory course before being admitted to full membership of SF. It is the responsibility of the education officer to provide necessary background on the following:-

1. Security. Political security – what is it; legal rights and how to deal with harassment by crown forces or gardai; how to behave if arrested.

2. National Aims of SF.

3. Social and economic policies of SF.

4. Structures and organisation of SF.

5. Constitution and rules.

6. Brief History of SF.

It notes that in relation to the latter ‘distribute Freedom Struggle leaflet after presentation’ (FS was actually a banned document through the 1970s and onwards. There is a copy waiting to be posted up in the Archive in the future).

It also notes the value of continuing education, ‘[organising] a series of events for our membership (internal SF debates, public lectures, films, videos, speakers, etc) designed to provoke discussion, re-examination and analysis of our situation, and the strategies we’ve developed to deal with it.

And it notes the scope for ‘panel(s) of guest speakers taking a topic, for example, Gerry Adams and Des Wilson on Republcianism and Socialism, or perhaps the SDLLP, SF and the Church and an academic on Crime within the Community, defining issues and working towards solutions.

Tellingly it also suggests that ‘use a bit of imagination in organising such events, don’t think they always have to be overtly sponsored by SF or focus on a republican issue. Your aim should be to crate a public forum where issues vital to republican interests can be raised and the republican viewpoint presented.

It concludes with five points ‘for successful confrontation with your political opponents’.

1. Know your opponents’ position

2. Know your opponents’ weakness

3. Know your own position

4. Know your own weakness

5. Muster support

Bishop Supports SF on Abortion – Or Does He? April 17, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Choice, Sinn Féin.

Fascinating report on the BBC website about a row between the Catholic bishop of Dromore and elements of SF over a letter distributed in west Belfast claiming he supported its position on abortion. The BBC quotes the bishop as saying

When I became aware of party political literature which was jointly issued in the names of Sue Ramsey MLA and Councillor Matt Garrett of Sinn Féin, which stated that I ‘share’ their position on the ‘termination’ of unborn human life, I was appalled

The Deputy First Minister and Paul Maskey MP (West Belfast) both acted to get the letter removed. The BBC quotes Paul Maskey as saying

Sinn Féin accepts that references in the letter to Bishop McAreavey were inaccurate.

“These letters should have not gone out.

“I apologise unreservedly to the bishop for any hurt and distress caused.

“I can assure the bishop that all reference to him on this issue has now been removed from all print and electronic literature. Sinn Féin has also removed the offending comments from Facebook.

A very revealing story as well as a fascinating one.

Left Archive: What Sinn Féin means by ‘Regionalisation’ – Provisional Sinn Féin, 1974 April 14, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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To download the above file please click on the following link:

This is a short leaflet from Sinn Féin in 1974 which outlines its approach to ‘Regionalisation’. There is an oddly contemporary note in its definition of same, when it suggests that one meaning is ‘Taking away powers from primary local authorities and giving them to regional authorities. This use of the word is particularly marked in Ireland.’

It notes another meaning is ‘Dividing the state into economic planning regions for which planning is done centrally with some advice from regional consultative bodies that have no powers of their own’.

And finally it seeks the creation of regional public authorities under democratic control.

Obviously this links in to the approach espoused in Éire Nua (which can be found in the Archive here) and it quite naturally leads to the federal Ireland envisaged in that document.

Should Adams and McGuinness retire? April 12, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin, The North.

Norman Tebbit’s remark during the week — the he hoped Martin McGuinness would be shot in the back — prompted a thought. Should McGuinness and Gerry Adams consider retiring from activie politics at this stage? They are the only leaders to have remained in place as leaders from the start of the peace process through the signing of the Belfast Agreement, and the first years of the operation of the Assembly and Executive. Tebbit’s comment show that despite the huge changes they led Sinn Fein and the IRA through, they are still lightning rods for hatred and distrust. Would it be better for the stability of the process and politics in the North if they were to hand over the rein of Sinn Fein to a new generation?

Left Archive: Students and Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin, c.1980? March 3, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.

Students and Sinn Fein

To download the above file please click on the following link: SF STUDENTS

This document,issued by Sinn Féin appears to date from prior to the Hunger Strikes because there’s no mention of same in the text. A two sided A4 leaflet it notes that SF is ‘one of the largest political organisations in Ireland with over 300 branches throughout the country and elected representatives on both sides of the border’.

It continues:

Sinn Féin is a democratic socialist organisation working for the establishment of a workers’ republic where the wealth of this country will be owned and controlled directly by the people who produce it.

It defines socialism as:

The belief that the ownership and control of wealth and of all the wealth producing process should be taken out of the hands of the relatively small group of people who presently own them, and vested instead in the working class.

There are some interesting mentions of ‘the rat race of the totally exam-oriented and class biased secondary schooling system’ and the ‘semi-private nature of Church-controlled schools – in spite of massive state subventions’ and ‘a professional or clerical strangles hold over the lives and futures of thousands of students’.

It also unequivocally expresses support for the ‘armed struggle for national liberation being waged in the North by the IRA’.

Left Archive: Know Your Rights – Advice on What to do if Arrested in the Twenty-Six Counties, Sinn Féin, c.1980s? February 3, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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To download the above file please click on the following link: SF KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Many thanks to the person who donated this document to the Archive.

This 6 page long document is a short but detailed leaflet that covers all the issues that may arise on being arrested in the Republic, from psychological to practical and other issues. It notes the various stages from the initial arrest, where one will be held, interrogation and the necessity to be aware that making ‘any kind of statement, even a verbal one, is as bad as a written one’. It also notes that (at the time) ‘the most you will have to stick it out [is] for 48 hours – if you break it could be years before you get home’. And it asserts that:

…you might also remind yourself about the shame it will bring on you and your family to be known as an informer for the rest of your life. A lot of people would like to get a second chance because they made a mistake and talked while in the barracks.

It’s worth noting that this is one amongst many documents issued by PSF during this period on a very wide range of subjects. Each month it is intended to post one up in the Archive.

Left Archive: Lámhleabhar Poiblíochta – Manual of Publicity – Provisional Sinn Féin, 1974 January 6, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.


To download the above file please click on the following link:

This document, 18 pages long, is a Manual of Publicity issued by Provisional Sinn Féin in 1974. Note the instruction on the inside of the front cover which states: Confidential – Faoi Rún

This manual has been prepared solely for the information and guidance of SF members. It is not for public sale or distribution. The Director of Publicity is grateful assistance received in the composition design and illustration of this manual.

It is hoped that the contents will be studied seriously and implemented efficiently.

The golden rule which applies to all kinds of publicity, spoken or written, is this: always use short simple words and short simple sentences.

It is remarkably comprehensive with mention of ‘The Main Methods of Publicity’ including Public Meetings, ‘Effective Public Speaking’, organising meetings, Sales of Papers, Sales of Literature, Letters to the Press, Press Statements, ‘cultivating channels of communication’ and how to engage with the media, Press photographs, Press Conferences, Interviews, Leaflets, Pickets, Posters, Advertisements, Songs and Music, Stickers and Flags and Education and Publicity.

In terms of building institutional memory within an organisation it is clearly of considerable use.

As it notes at the start:

The importance of communicating efficiently in an an increasingly complex world is appreciated by practically every company, group and organisation in the world. It has led to the growth of the huge expensive ‘Publicity and Public Relations’ Industry. The importance attached to it by everybody from the Churches to the politicians to the international corporations is reflected in the increasingly large salaries which persons who are thought to be experience fit eh art of effective and favourable communications are commanding.


There is also the negative side of the question. Publicity is vital to counteract the efforts of opponents who will seize on every opportunity to misrepresent your point of view. Publicity is a vital part of the major task of political education in which SF is engage. it is the major tool in ensuring increasing support in our struggle for the life of the Irish nation. It is the most effective weapon in our effort to ensure that we are no misrepresented. It is the best way to see to it that maximum benefit is gained from the blood, sweat and tears of all those who are working for the Republican idea – an Éire Nua.

This is well worth a read, not least in order to consider how its suggestions were applied by the party during the 1970s and after.

Left Archive: Mining and Energy – The Sinn Féin Policy, Provisional Sinn Féin, 1974 December 9, 2013

Posted 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.

It continues:

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, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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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.

It continues:

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, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in 1969/70), Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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SF REP cover

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’.

It states:

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.

It continues:

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.

It concludes:

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.

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