Gerry Adams on the future of Ireland (2006)

In April 2006 Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams gave an address at the Easter Commemoration, marking 90 years since the 1916 Easter Rising. In this excerpt he speaks about the future of republicanism in Ireland:

“Ninety years ago this Easter, an alliance of Irish republican organisations and others… rose up against British rule in Ireland and declared a Republic. Much of this occurred in Dublin but republicans also took up arms elsewhere in the country, including the north. Six days later, and with the centre of Dublin in ruins, the leaders of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic ordered the surrender. In the weeks which followed 15 of the leaders were executed, and four months after that Roger Casement from this county was hanged in London…

All of us are proud to be part of that struggle. It is a struggle which continues. There is now a need for a great national effort to bring it to a conclusion. The Irish government should be part of that effort. The Taoiseach has called for a return to the core values of Irish republicanism. I welcome that call. The men and women of 1916 were very definite about the type of Republic they wanted to create.The Proclamation makes that clear.

The Proclamation… is the heart and soul of Irish republicanism today. But in truth The Proclamation is also unfinished business. It is unfinished business which the vast majority of the Irish people want to see brought to completion… The Proclamation is about self-determination and democracy. Does anyone think that the men and women of 1916 would settle for a partitioned Ireland? …

A central part of the work of Irish republicans in the time ahead is to engage with unionists, to talk to, debate with, but ultimately to seek to persuade unionists that their future and that of their children, lies with the rest of us on this island.

The fact is that no British politician has ever governed in any part of Ireland in the interests of nationalists and republicans and unionists. They have always governed and exercised power in British interests. And they have used and exploited and deepened the divisions and fears of people to advance British interests. The result has been exclusion, conflict, division, inequality and poverty. And no section of our people has been immune from these.

Why should a British Minister take decisions on the future of our children? Why should a British Minister have the power to decide the priorities in our health or education services?

The day will dawn when all the people of Ireland will have the desire for freedom to show. Comrades and friends, let us go from here to continue the work for that certain day.”