Upper Bann Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

SF comment on SDLP call for single nationalist party

Published: 24 May, 2010

Commenting on a statement from SDLP MLA Declan O'Loan calling for a single natiobalist party in the six counties, Sinn Féin Assembly member John O'Dowd said:

"At times the mixed messages coming from the SDLP on the issue of maximising nationalist representation are completely confusing. During the recent election campaign Margaret Ritchie spurned talks on the issue and branded Sinn Féin efforts to broker co-operation as 'sectarian politics'. Now Declan O'Loan is seeking a single nationalist party. I wonder what his party leader thinks of this?

"The telling part of Mr O'Loan's statement is the final paragraph. He is seeking a nationalist party for what he calls 'Northern Ireland' one which would maintain working relationships with parties in what he calls 'the south'. This exposes very starkly the partitionist mindset which Mr O'Loan and people like him are trapped in. The Irish nation does not stop at Dundalk or Aughnacloy. And neither should any nationalist party. Sinn Féin are an Irish Republican party, our vision of a united Ireland goes far beyond that partitionist vision as set out by Mr. O'Loan.

"The logic of the Good Friday Agreement is very clear. More powers in Ireland and more all-Ireland harmonisation. Any party truly claiming to be nationalist or republican needs to demonstrate this through their organisation. Meek acceptance of a six county arrangement is the trade mark of the old nationalist party and more recently of the SDLP. That is not ground onto which any republican will be going on to and it is the ground increasingly being abandoned by nationalists in the north. The future of politics on this island is 32 county and republican in vision and practice."