This blog was honoured to attend the Wexford Sinn Féin dinner dance last Saturday night. The night was an immense success with the highlight being an address from Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams. Gerry paraphrased a famous speech given by Wexford hurling manager Liam Griffin in 1996, back when Wexford were on the trail of the McCarthy cup, or as Gerry put it, "Back when ya's were good!"
Liam Griffin famously took his team off the team bus and asked each player, "Who are you?"
Griffin knew that standing for a team wasn't good enough, you had to be the team. To win, each player had to understand their stake in the team and accept that the team came before their own personal welfare.
Last Saturday night, Gerry posed the same question to the room full of Wexford republicans.
"Who are you?"
"Who are we?"
So who are we?
Are we people who put the needs of toxic banks before the welfare of the Irish people? No.
Are we people who openly support cuts to people on benefits even when we're in opposition? No.
Are we the people who put forward half baked economic proposals that claim to protect our nations vulnerable, but at the same time make alliances with a party that openly favours introduction of those cuts? No.
Are we members of a quasi intellectual left movement, who talk of out of date doctrine which they have given near religious significance, while never approaching a working class estate outside of election time? Are we the peoples movement who speaks for a class which they believe themselves and their cohorts to be superior to? Are we the grand champagne socialists of Ireland? No, No, No.
We are none of these things.
We are Sinn Féin.
We are the people who still in the true republic laid out in the 1916 proclamation and the 1919 democratic programme. We are the people who believe it is more important to act on the revolutionary teachings of James Connolly and Liam Mellowes than it is to quote them in elitist magazines. We are the people who go into working class estates and rural communities to try and help the people who live there, the people who work, who love, who suffer the daily indignities of post tiger Ireland. We know where those places are because we live there. We are those people who suffer.
We are the people who believe change is possible and that against all odds, a new type of government can be brought about. A new system. Government by the people for the people. We are the people who stand alone in opposition against the gombeen establishment, which seeks to destroy and vilify us because we dare to tell the truth. We are the people who will change this country and bring about a new nation of unity, equality and peace. We are Sinn Féin, a party that is united, that knows what it stands for and that will never, ever go away.