Sinn Féin past and present


Sir, – Mary Lou McDonald writes that The Irish Times now seeks to legitimise partition (Letters, October 27th).

Partition was legitimised in the 1998 Belfast Agreement when Irish people agreed unification could only occur with the consent of a majorities on both sides of the Border.

The legitimacy of Northern Ireland is seen clearly in the changes to our Constitution.

The Republic of Ireland’s claim of jurisdiction over the whole island in the former was effectively abandoned by the replacement of Article 2 of the Constitution (The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas) and Article 3 (the right of the Parliament and Government established by this Constitution to exercise jurisdiction over the whole of that territory), with Article 3.1: “It is the firm will of the Irish nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions . . . with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island”.

Rather than harking back to 1922 and simply condemning the policies of the DUP (whose democratic mandate is every bit as legitimate as Sinn Féin’s) Sinn Féin should now work to achieve the constitutional aims of 1998 and “unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions”.

The Belfast Agreement and our constitutional changes demonstrate a total repudiation of the IRA’s failed and futile “war”.

The legacy of this “war” is one the greatest obstacles to a united Ireland, in the community memory and ongoing pain of atrocities like La Mon and Enniskillen. Bearing in mind the need for unionist consent, one wonders how Sinn Féin’s regular glorification of IRA bombers can possibly help to achieve a united Ireland.

Every now and then, a senior Sinn Féin person will say, as Ms McDonald does (Letters, October 27th) “I deeply respect our unionist people”. Unfortunately, other Sinn Féin words – like her final words at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis – “up the rebels” and “tiocfaidh ár lá” – suggest otherwise. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.