[lg policy] Sinn Féin leader reaffirms abstentionist policy at Markievicz celebrations

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Mon Dec 10 11:19:20 EST 2018

Sinn Féin leader reaffirms abstentionist policy at Markievicz celebrations
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08/12/2018 - 17:54:00Back to Brexit
<https://www.breakingnews.ie/maintopics/brexit-4106.html> Ireland
<https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/> Home <https://www.breakingnews.ie/>

Mary Lou McDonald has used a speech at the centenary celebration for the
first female MP to reaffirm her party’s stance on abstentionism.

The Sinn Féin leader spoke on Saturday at an event dedicated to Constance
Markievicz, who was elected to the House of Commons as an abstentionist
Sinn Féin MP in 1918.

The party have come under renewed calls to revise their policy and take
their seven seats in Westminster.

“Constance Markievicz could have taken the easy path, could have turned a
blind eye and lived in comfort. But she didn’t. She chose a life of
struggle. A life of service, a life of hope and a life dedicated to change”
- @MaryLouMcDonald <https://twitter.com/MaryLouMcDonald?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw>
pic.twitter.com/XyXSMFidPk <https://t.co/XyXSMFidPk>
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) December 8, 2018

As the vote on the draft Brexit agreement nears, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
called on Ms McDonald’s party to give up the seats to representatives who
would take them, enabling them to vote in the critical ballot next week.

Sinn Féin have remained steadfast in their policy that they will not take
their seats in the House of Commons or pledge allegiance to the Queen, a
point reiterated by Ms McDonald on Saturday, before taking aim at her
political rivals.

“These revisionists celebrate the election of Markievicz as the first woman
elected to Westminster, as they should,” Ms McDonald said.

“What they ignore is her principled abstention from that parliament, her
pledge to never take an oath of allegiance to the power she meant to

“These revisionists attack Sinn Féin for that same principled stance. That
unwillingness to take an oath of allegiance to a foreign power.

“I ask those revisionists: would they take that oath?

“One hundred years on and Constance Markievicz remains a troubling figure
for those in power.

All roads lead to Lissadell #Rebels
pic.twitter.com/qslKJAg3uQ <https://t.co/qslKJAg3uQ>
— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) December 8, 2018

“Because she stands against the hypocrisy of Irish political leaders
calling on others to swear an oath to a queen.

“Because she reminds them than no republic worthy of that title would
tolerate homelessness or partition or would be a home to poverty and
READ MORE: What is the Norway-plus Brexit option that UK politicians are
talking about?

“What would she make of this Dáil and the partnership of Fianna Fáil and
Fine Gael?

“Parties that take the side of the landlords. That have stolen the dream of
many to own a home. That stand over a system in which a working wage is not
a living wage.

“What would she make of a Dáil that still behaves like a boys’ club?

“What would she say to Leo Varadkar and Micheal Martin?

“My guess is that she would have a lot to say. She isn’t here to say it.

“So we must. We will, and we will be heard.”

In Lissadell House, the family home of Constance Markievicz, for an
historic meeting of @sinnfeinireland
<https://twitter.com/sinnfeinireland?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw> Ard Chomhairle to
mark the centenary of her election as the first abstentionist MP
pic.twitter.com/aREHHUnAlA <https://t.co/aREHHUnAlA>
— Caoimhe Archibald (@CArchibald_SF) December 8, 2018

In a reference to Northern Ireland, Ms McDonald noted lack of marriage
equality, abortion rights and the Irish Language Act, which has seen
Stormont deadlocked for almost two years.

“What would she (Markievicz) say about the continued partition of our
country? What would she say about the denial of basic rights to our people
– the right to speak our language, to health care and to love and marry who
we want?

“We must continue on the road to true equality and finishing what they
started – we must continue the fight for a new, inclusive, united Ireland.”

The event, held at the birthplace of Constance Markievicz in Lissadell
House, Co Sligo, discussed themes such as the power of the vote, and the
1918 election.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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