“Never, Never, Never, Never…” declares Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

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Micheál Martin at the Church of Ireland in Bodenstown where Theobald Wolfe Tone is buried

On Sunday (October 18 2015) the leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin addressed the Annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown. I previously looked at the Arbour Hill Address given by Micheál Martin in April 2015, the annual oration which marks the lives of the 14 executed leaders of the 1916 Rising.

This latest speech was for a Northern protestant once again fascinating. “Provisional Sinn Fein” is hegemonic in the north. It is the authentic and infallible representative of Irish republicanism in the six county geography. Criticism comes almost only from unionism. Not a one party state but a state with one “republican” party. With that comes concomitant deficiencies.

Turn South and suddenly an array of criticisms and counter-narratives are deployed against the ascendant republican party.

The Bodenstown oration was combative. Challenging the incumbent administration Micheál Martin rubbished their budget and record, and set his party out Fianna Fáil as the responsible alternative.

The Cork man also set Fianna Fáil out as real and rigourous republicans, dismissing Sinn Fein as unconnected to the men and women of 1916, a “mafia-like organisation” that “dishonoured the Republic.” He said:

“The party which today uses the name Sinn Fein has no right to claim that it represents the men and women of 1916. Founded less than 50 years ago, the Provisional movement waged a campaign in the face of the overwhelming and constantly reaffirmed opposition of the Irish people. It used methods which dishonoured the Republic and its first loyalty has always been to its own and not the Irish people.

Gerry Adams’s statement last month that Provisional Sinn Fein is “the only republican movement in this island” shows how these people think. Theirs is not the ideology of 1798 and 1916 – it is a mafia-like organisation which is incapable of respecting anyone outside of its own ranks.

How dare they claim to own Irish republicanism. No organisation which fails to expose child abusers, racketeers and murderers can call itself republican.

And let’s not forget that last month they also said that they could guarantee that the Provisional IRA didn’t exist because they know everything that happens in republican communities in the North.”

At Arbour Hill Martin said Sinn Fein are “not republican.”

The Fianna Fáil leader swatted the lethargy of the Kenny-Cameron stewardship of the peace process, and raked his studs into the torso of Sinn Fein for bad faith and sectarianism in northern politics. He said:

“For all of its posturing about building bridges, Sinn Fein has increasingly been playing a sectarian card to try and build its support.

One of its Ministers was held by the High Court to have made a major appointment in a sectarian way. This year one of its most senior politicians actually put up posters telling people to vote Sinn Fein to get one over on the Protestants.

Gerry Adams himself addressed a meeting recently where he said about unionists that he intended to “break the bastards” and that “the equality agenda is the Trojan Horse of the republican agenda”.”

The latest Irish budget presented last week by Noonan and Howlin was labelled “highly” and “intensely” political. This latest speech delivered by Micheál Martin was especially political. Little sentimental reminiscences about Tone, principally the address was about the delivery of blunt verbal blows to political opponents.

Especially political because April 2016 is quickly approaching. That month offers a double: the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising on April 24; the Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed that the next General Election will be in the Spring, and laws say an election must take place no later than 8 April 2016. The field is open, the atmosphere is charged.

Gerry Adams responded to the speech. He compared Micheál Martin to Margaret Thatcher, called the speech a “diatribe” and called Fianna Fáil a posing Republican Party that works for the people of the “Galway Tent”.

Disagreement among believers of the faith is always the most vicious and violent. The coming months represent a show down to find the true holder of the truth, republicans trying to out-republic fellow republicans.Ireland is out of the World Cup by the battle for the crown of Irish republicanism goes on.

Spring 2016 is also big for Northern Ireland, there Stormont elections lie. For the Stormont village the clash of the republican Titans is an irrelevancy and for the news bureaux someone else’s subject. In the south, Republicanism is strengthened, and Sinn Fein is weakened by having a range of parties with a range of narratives. By ignoring the south you strengthen Sinn Fein in the north.

It is an incredible pitch and soundbite that Sinn Fein offers the electorate – Sinn Fein is the largest party on the island of Ireland. That soundbite requires all island scrutiny. Northern politicians and media must therefore challenge Sinn Fein on that all-island plane.


Micheál Martin speech in full here.

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About Author

Brian is a writer, artist and law graduate.


  1. As a person who was born and reared into the ethos of the republican movement who pledge their allegiance to the 1916 proclamation i take grave exception to Michael martin and fianna fail, a person and a party who have twisted history and truth to suit their version of events some of which effected me and my community for over 60 years
    I don’t wish to enter into a history lesson here but i will point out a few facts re fianna fail and their steward ship of the 26 counties , and ask , who wrote the free state constitution which created the catholic sectarian state which gave the catholic church pride of place and special status within the state, which allowed the same church because of its position run the mother and baby homes the Magdalene laundries where unmarried mothers where abused, where their babies where sold off into america, Australia, new Zealand,and Canada that went on to this day deny these mothers as to the whereabouts of their babies not to mention the various boys homes where boys where regularly sexually abused, all of this was enabled by fianna fail and their various leaders from develera onwards, they are so scared of what might happen that the current government have closed all records that they hold for 100 years this act was enacted this year 2015 all of this was and other parts are still hidden from the people of Ireland, the big problem for the establishment ie fianna fail/ fine gael and labour not to forget the catholic church is that we will expose all this to the word and will try to reunite all of these mothers and babies that we can so martin and his party of fianna fail have inflicted on thousands suffering that is worse than anything sinn fein or the true republican family ever did in the six counties during the troubles /war

    why did develera try to destroy sinn fein and the IRA in the 20s, 30s, 40s,,50s, 60s
    Someone needs to ask where did he get the money to set up the irish press newspaper or should i ask what happened to the money collected in the united states under the banner / pretence of sinn fein about a month before he closed down sinnfein and formed fianna fail and registered the irish press as a family business, who went on to intern/ murder people who disagreed with him including his own brother in law, who in 1933/34 he arrested nationalist / republicans in omeath who where trying to defend the nationalist areas of Belfast from the rampage of loyalist mobs where families where burned out of their homes and in some cases murdered.
    what party in 1969 turned their back on the nationalist people of the north as we where once again being burned out of our homes and murdered on the streets which party stood back and made no effort to protect the people who marched for civil rights and the right to vote, who for over 30 years did nothing to right the wrong of partition, which they promised to do at every election during those years as the flew they green flag to ensure they got re elected

    so he talks about demeaning the republic , what republic? there is no republic its a sectarian state ran by people who swapped bowing the knee to the British to bowing their two knees it to the catholic church and its a far way from that great Presbyterian, Wolfe Tone or Henry Joy Mc Cracken founders of the United Irish men ( which was founded on the cave hill Belfast ) the fathers of the republican ethos on which the 1916 proclamation is based, so in conclusion i would think that if anyone has a call on the republican ethos its us northern republicans but as Gerry Adams said we would not be as self righteous to claim such a thing as we try to unite protestant, catholic, and dissenter in the true ethos of republican and Irishmen .
    As a veteran of the war in the north , let me state this in 1969 we did not want to go to war but as the Irish government of finna fail and Lynch abandoned us yet again, and as we where no longer willing to accept the status quo of the orange state’s institutional/ physical violence we had no option but to regenerate the IRA which was to be come known as the provisional IRA to face them down once and for all, we where left on our own, we stood on our own, we defended our communities on our own, and we won on our own never again will northern nationalist / republicans be dependent on any free state quisling, but rather we will allow our people be proud of our nation and we will help them up off their knee’s off subjection to any church or state

  2. “Even worse, our own Government agreed to be effectively sidelined from discussions which Dublin had previously always asserted its right to be a full participant in” (Micheal Martin on North) I wonder is this a prelude to FF entering politics here

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