éirígí’s fifth Ard-Fheis took place on Sunday [January 23] in Culturlánn
McAdam Ó Fiaich on Belfast’s Falls Road. Up to 200 people from
across Ireland attended the all day conference.The morning session
focused on organisational and policy matters while the afternoon session
saw a range of guest and éirígí speakers address the packed venue.
Following the adoption of standing orders and the election of a steering
committee for An Ard-Fheis, a number of organisational reports were
delivered by a the outgoing elected party officers, Runaí Ginearálta
(General Secretary) Breandán Mac Cionnaith, Pádraig Ó Meiscill
(Publicity), Daithí Mac An Mháistir (Membership) and Ciarán Heaphey
(Finance). These reports were followed by a question and answer session.
The next item on the clár were motions on a wide range of issues
including the British occupation of the Six Counties, the economic
crisis, cutbacks to public services and the treatment of political
prisoners. There were also motions mandating the incoming Ciorcal
Náisiúnta to perform specific organisational and policy tasks as well
as motions sending solidarity to struggles around the world.
A significant portion of the available time was given over to a
discussion on the upcoming localelections in the Six Counties
and the merits of éirígí putting forward candidates in same. This
discussion was the latest stage in a process of internal debate
about elections which began in earnest in the spring of 2009.
At the end of the debate delegates voted in favour of éirígí
running candidates in the May election.
Click here to read all motions adopted by An Ard-Fheis >>
Election of National Officers
Before breaking for lunch An Ard-Fheis elected seven individuals
to An Ciorcal Náisiúnta. These were
An Cathaoirleach (Chair) Brian Leeson
Leas-Chathaoirleach (Vice-Chair) Rab Jackson
An Rúnaí Ginearálta (General Secretary) Breandán Mac Cionnaith
Cisteoirí (Treasurers) Micheál Mac Neighill and Ciarán Heaphey
An tOifigeach Caidrimh Phoiblí (Public Relation Officer) Pádraig Ó Meiscill
An tOifigeach Ballraíochta (Membership Officer) Daithí Mac An Mháistir
Official Launch of From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come
After lunch the numbers in the Culturlánn swelled as a series of speakers
took to the podium to address An Ard-Fheis. The first to do so was éirígí’s
Daithí Mac An Mháistir who formally launched the party’s most recent
policy paper From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come.
Daithí not only gave a flavour of the content of the paper, he also explored
the political context of its adoption and the process which was used to adopt it.
The first of four guest speakers, Patricia Campbell, President of the Independent
Workers Union congratulated éirígí on the production on From Socialism
Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come before condemning the attacks on
public services on both sides of the border. Patricia singled out the cutbacks in
the areas of health and education for particular attention.
Donal Fallon of the student organisation Free Education for Everyone gave
the assembled crowd a brief rundown on FEE’s campaign of resistance to
student fees. He explained that the recent student protests in Dublin, Belfast
and Derry had led to FEE setting up new branches in a number of third
level institutions across the country. Donal finished by expressing his hope
that these developments may signal the emergence of a new radical
The chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign Freda
Hughes impressed upon the Ard-Fheis the importance of developing
an international grassroots campaign of opposition to Israeli oppression
of the Palestinian people. She highlighted the role that everyone has
to play in boycotting Israeli goods and building pressure for divestment
The last of the guest speakers, Pepe Gutiérrez from the Latin America
Solidarity Centre, provided a unique perspective of the current
economic crisis, proposing that the Latin American experience of the
IMF in the 1980s and 1990s could prove useful to Irish activists today.
This theme of mutual solidarity and co-operation was repeated throughout
his contribution. Pepe concluded by encouraging people to have hope
and belief in their ability to win through in the end. Other guests
who attended the Ard-Fheis included representatives from the
Communist Party of Ireland, the Workers Solidarity Movement, Kurdistan
National Congress, and the Cuba Solidarity Group.
Following on from the guest speakers Leas-Chathaoirleach éirígí Rab
Jackson read aloud a message of solidarity from the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine. éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan
then read out a message from the Cuban Ambassador to Ireland, Teresita
Trujillo. Solidarity greetings were also sent to An Ard-Fheis by the
Workers Party of New Zealand, Izquierda Castellana and the Peace And
Click here to read the full text of all solidarity greetings >>
Following the showing of a short éirígí video, Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian
Leeson gave the main address of the afternoon. In a wide ranging speech
Brian paid tribute to the sacrifice of the republican community in Belfast,
rejected sectarianism and highlighted éirígí’s achievements over the last five
years. He also outlined the backdrop to the next ten years of struggle
which will witness a number of centenary anniversaries including the
1913 Lockout, the 1916 Rising and the partition of Ireland. Brian
went on to urge activists to emulate the examples of those who fought
for Irish freedom a century ago, before telling people that the time had
come for the poor to declare war on the rich and committing éirígí to
playing its part in that war. When Brian finished his speech, folk singer
Pól Mac Adaim brought An Ard-Fheis to a close with a rendition of
Amhrán na bhFiann.
Monday, January 24, 2011
éirígí Ard-Fheis Jan 2011 – Full Report
Posted by éirígí Sligeach at 10:21 PM