Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson has reaffirmed the socialist republican party’s intention to organise protests during the upcoming state visit to the Twenty-Six Counties by Britain’s head of state Elizabeth Windsor.
He has also called on Sinn Fein to “do the right thing” and mobilise its supporters in opposition to the visit.
Speaking from Dublin, Leeson said: “The upcoming Windsor visit has sparked a very welcome debate across the Twenty-Six Counties. For the first time in many years, people are now talking about the British occupation and the nature of British interference in Irish affairs. A whole new generation of Irish people are now debating, perhaps for the first time, the nature of Britain’s relationship with Ireland. This debate may not have been intended by those who have organised the Windsor visit, but it is happening nonetheless.
“For our part, we in éirígí are taking the opportunity of this debate to promote the central tenet of Irish republicanism, namely the right of the Irish people to decide our own future free from external interference. Our position is that of Tone, of Pearse, of Connolly and of Sands. Britain has no right to occupy any part of Ireland. For as long as that occupation lasts it must be consistently and vociferously challenged.
“The upcoming visit by the commander-in-chief of Britain’s armed forces has one purpose and one purpose only – to copper-fasten partition and the British occupation of the Six Counties. By extending an invite to Britain’s head of state, the Dublin government claim that they are attempting to normalise relations between the peoples of Britain and Ireland. There can be no normalisation of those relations until Britain completely withdraws, militarily, economically and politically, from Ireland.
Leeson added: “While this state lurches from one economic catastrophe to another, the political establishment have decided to invite a reigning British monarch to banquet with them in their great dining halls. It may not be possible to prevent this visit from going ahead, but we can at least make sure that Windsor and her Irish apologists hear the voice of protest as they are ushered into Dublin Castle and Farmleigh House.
“Republicans, socialists and other progressives across Ireland are duty-bound to energetically oppose this British royal visit. To fail to do so will further entrench British rule in Ireland. A failure to mobilise against this visit will stand as a black mark against our generation for many years to come.
“In recent days it has become increasingly clear that the Sinn Fein leadership are shying away from their obligation to actively oppose the Windsor visit. And today it has been reported that Martin McGuinness is calling on others not to protest either. In this he, and the rest of the Sinn Fein leadership, are playing straight into the hands of the enemies of Irish republicanism. I am calling on the Sinn Fein leadership to reconsider their position and to join with the millions of Irish people across the globe who are opposed to this visit.
“This visit can and should be met by the angry voices of thousands of Irish citizens united in their opposition to everything that the British crown stands for. éirígí will be doing its utmost to ensure this happens, Sinn Féin should do the right thing and do likewise.”
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