People Before Profit: Open Letter to Sinn Féin

The headline news from Sinn Féin’s recent Ard Fheis was, of course, Gerry Adams’ announcement of his plan to stand down. But more important in reality was the passing of a motion in favour of Sinn Féin being able to enter government, in the Republic, as a junior partner i.e. with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. This is a change from the party’s previous position which was only to go into coalition as the majority partner. It is therefore an important shift rightwards. People Before Profit responded to this development by issuing an Open Letter to Sinn Féin members urging resistance to the rightward drift and calling for dialogue on the major issues facing the Irish people North and South. We reproduce it here:

Socialist Worker

People Before Profit:  Open Letter to Sinn Féin


Sinn Féin and People Before Profit have been on the same side many times. We have fought against water charges; we both oppose the partition of Ireland; we want regime across the whole of this island.

We also disagree on key issues – and there is no hiding that.

But in this open letter, we want to make an appeal to Sinn Féin on the three key issues. We welcome dialogue with you and it is in that spirit this letter is written.

The Equality Agenda:

Sinn Féin is under huge pressure from the political establishment to rejoin the DUP in government – even if theu do not agree to equality and respect.

In our view, you are right to demand an Irish Language Act that respects the rights of Irish speakers. There should be no concessions to the DUP on LGBT rights. Gay people have a right to marry and the dinosaurs of the DUP should not be able to veto this.

We go further, however, and suggest that full decriminalisation of abortion ahould implemented in the North. Why should a woman have to travel to Britain – just to protect the hypocrisy that there are no abortions here?

It is only by standing for full equality for all, including economic equality, that we can win both Catholic and Protestant workers to a vision of a radically new Ireland.

Stay out of Coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael:

The political establishment is up to its neck in corruption – and the muck sticks. No matter the good intentions the reality is that a Fianna Fáil or a Fine Gael led government will implement right wing policies. If you join with them you will have to take responsibility for the attacks they mount on working people. We urge you not to go down this road.

The political establishment will demand an entry price before they let you near the apparatus of the state. They will demand that you ‘moderate’ your positions and start to appear ‘respectable’.

At a time when large numbers of Irish workers are breaking with the mainstream, it would be totally wrong to prop them up.

Women should not have to be victims

You can never have full equality until women have the right to control their bodies.

You should not have to be a VICTIM of rape or be suicidal to have a basic right to determine whether or not you will be pregnant.

We urge Sinn Féin to move beyond the current compromise position which will only force women to prove they are victims before getting a right to abortion.

It is time to stand up and say openly – women have a right to choose.

We wish you well in your conference and make these points solely as part of a dialogue between our parties.

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