'Rise up and Reclaim the Republic' says new group
A number of leading Sinn Féin activists in Dublin have left the party to establish a "Socialist Republican campaign group" called Éirigí. The new group, launched last month with a "Reclaim the Republic" campaign, includes Stewart Reddin, former Dublin Sinn Féin organiser; Joanne McDonald, the sister of Mary Lou McDonald, the party's Dublin MEP; and Brian Leeson, a former party organiser. Éirigí translates from Irish as "arise" or "rise up".
Brian Leeson, a spokesman for Éirigí, said: "This group has emerged from Dublin-based political activists who felt that what was needed was a creditable campaigning group that was going to promote Socialist Republican politics in Dublin and challenge a lot of the inequalities we see around us. It is non-party political."
The departure of the group is believed to have been provoked by tensions within Sinn Féin concerning a perceived move to the right in policy and the insistence of the party leadership that the option of entering a coalition government with Fianna Fáil be maintained. Éirigí's "Reclaim the Republic campaign" has so far involved dictributing leaflets and 7,000 copies of the 1916 proclamation around Dublin. Members have also attended meetings of the Independent Workers Union. Sinn Féin is said to have so far maintained a positive relationship with the new group due to its commitment solely to campaigning politics.