Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy told delegates to the recent Special Sinn Féin Ard Fheis that those in political and media circles who questioned why Mary Lou McDonald’s election as Sinn Féin President was unanimous, continued to fawn over a Taoiseach who 65% of his own party members voted against.
Republicans had made huge progress because they had dared to dream and had followed through with strategy, determination and grit.
Although a United Ireland had yet to be realised, Sinn Féin, organised across 32 counties was determined to see it realised and much off this was down to the vision and determination of outgoing party President Gerry Adams.
He said the party under the leadership of Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill would realise the aspirations of all those republicans who had gone before them.
Matt Carthy said:
“Imagine being in a party where the leader is elected with the support of just 35% of it’s members. Or imagine being in a party like Fianna Fáil where ordinary members had no say whatsoever and who ended up with Mícheal Martin as leader after he secured 33 votes. Imagine being in the Labour party – Actually, I’m going to stop now.
“But, sometimes it’s good to imagine – to have a dream, a vision. We have reached the point we are at today because of the dreams of others.
“The dreams of those over a hundred years ago that dreamt that women would not only secure the right to vote but would win full equality. The dreams of those who rose up in 1798 in the belief that one day the denominations of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter would be replaced by the common bond of being Irish.
“Of those who marched out on Easter Monday 1916 with the dream of a nation where the ownership of Ireland belonged to the people of Ireland, with a vision of a country where the Irish people were sovereign and indefeasible.
“Or the dreams of those who lay naked in H-Block cells embarking on a hunger strike who dreamt of the laughter of our children and of an Ireland united in peace.
“All of these dreams, of course, remain unrealised, but huge progress has been made because of the dreamers behind them and because they followed through on their dreams with strategy, determination and grit. And, when their dreams were slipping away, were being taken away, they resisted. We’re here because they dared to image and because they believed.
“Thanks to the dreamers, who were also strategic believers, we have come this far.
“Women don’t have full equality yet, but there is a progressive party that is about to be led by two woman who will make it happen. We don’t have a United Ireland yet, but we have a republican party that is organised across all of Ireland’s 32 counties determined to see it realised – a party with twenty three TDs, six Senators, twenty seven MLAs, seven MPs, four MEPs, over 200 Councillors and more than 12,000 members – each as committed as the next to deliver the Republic.
“Who could have imagined it? Well, Gerry Adams for one. So let’s keep on dreaming. Because the risen people insist on it.
“Dream of the Republic. Dream of an Ireland where it doesn’t matter what church you attend. Dream of a country where all citizens can have a place to call home. That when you need healthcare it doesn’t matter where you live or how much money is in your pocket. Dream of a country where the interests of Irish families and communities are prioritised above the desires of bankers and speculators and vulture funds.
“Keep on dreaming – and remember the words of the great Pádraig Mac Piarais when he asked wise men to riddle him this – what if the dream come through?
“What IF the dream come through? Because the republic will be realised. And, at that point someone will undoubtedly ask – who could have imagined it. Our response – Marylou McDonald. Michelle O’Neill. Thousands of Sinn Féin members gathered in the city that fought an empire on the 10th February 2018.
“A chairde, it’s time to elect our new leadership with every expectation that they will realise the dreams of the giants on whose shoulders we stand, the dreams of those of us in this hall and the 500,000 (and counting) people who support our party, the dreams of the risen people across every corner of our land.
“Let’s start the next chapter. Keep dreaming,