Gerry Adams says State has failed Proclamation
Sinn Fein president addresses MacGill summer school in Glenties
Minister for Health James Reilly having a laugh with John Colgan from Dublin at the MacGill summer school in Glenties yesterday. Photograph: Michael O Donnell.
“This state is not the Republic envisaged by those who wrote the Proclamation,” Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams told the MacGill summer school in Glenties last night. “They had a vision for a real republic.”
Addressing a session of the school on a vision of “a republic of justice, equity and fairness”, he said that, in contrast to the ethos of the 1916 Proclamation, the current Government was preparing a drastic Budget that attacked the principles of republicanism.
He said that document addressed the “first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of the children, to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter, but that all shall be provided with the means and facilities requisite for their proper education and training . . .” The intervening years have been ones of failure, he said.
In addition the institutions of the present-day Republic had their backs to the Border, he said. “This will only be changed when a genuine national spirit is recreated to replace the nonsense popular in some circles that this state is the nation and that Ireland stops at Dundalk or Lifford.”
Turning to unionists, he said orange was one of Ireland’s national colours. Yet, he said, “there is no design plan for reconciliation but we all share responsibility to give leadership in spite of opposition and adversity ”.
This should be not in a threatening or interfering way but under the terms of the Good Friday and other agreements, he added. “As sections of unionism, like others, adjust in a more pragmatic and positive way to the merits and advantages of cross-Border cooperation, particularly on economic issues, we will see more progress.”
Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty International said the authors of the Proclamation and later the Democratic Programme of the first Dáil were true visionaries. They envisaged these ideals decades before the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
However, he added, “in reality something slipped between revolution and statehood, the governments of the Irish Free State did not radically change Ireland, but simply carried on much as before once the crises of the revolutionary period had ended. Their response to the grave crisis Ireland faced at that time was not to replicate a discredited system, but to replace it with something new, a different and better Ireland.”
He asked what would happen in Ireland when the state emerges from the current crisis. Will we “go back to being the state and society we were, the one that led us to this crisis, oor will we instead begin to think about the state we might be?”