1998 SFY Congress

17 October 1998

Sinn Fein Youth and the peace process

Discussion Document


Analysis of Conflict

Sinn Fein Youth believes that the British presence in Ireland is the primary cause of the conflict. Partition, discrimination, marginalisation, imprisonment and militarisation are strategies employed by successive British and Unionist administration to ensure Irish subjugation and maintenance of British rule. Conflict, inequality and sectarianism are the product of these strategies. The conflict on this island is a political conflict. It is about the denial of the Irish peoples right to self determination and our resistance against British Imperialism.

Resolution of Conflict

Sinn Fein Youth believes that the conditions which created the conflict can only finally be removed with the removal of the British state presence. We support Sinn Fein's peace strategy which is aimed at bringing all the protagonists in the conflict together in order to address the causes of the conflict and seek their resolution.

Peace Process

Sinn Fein Youth recognises that Irish Republicans are only one section of the Irish People. Any truly successful peace process must involve all sections of our people, collectively working together to remove the causes of conflict. The current peace process which began with the initiatives of Sinn Fein and the SDLP during the Hume-Adams dialogue, provides the best available political process for resolving the conflict. It also provides the best political process for moving forward the republican analysis and achieving our goals of independence and socialism.

National Consensus

Sinn Fein Youth is mindful of the ideological gap which currently exists between the project of republicanism and that of other Irish political parties within the nationalist camp. On questions of social, economic, political and cultural policy, Sinn Fein's political programme is radically different from parties such as the SDLP, Fianna Fail, and the Irish Labour. However all these parties are crucial to the success of the peace process. Equally important is the continuance of a nationalist alliance representing the aspirations of the majority of the Irish people for unity and independence.

American Involvement

Sinn Fein Youth is mindful of the destructive and anti-democratic role of the US government in international affairs. From Cuba and Palestine to the Gulf War and recent bombings of the middle East American foreign policy is undemocratic and consistently violent. However we also recognise the enormous good will which emanates from the Irish-American community towards the republican movement and the Irish Peace process.

It is this good will which has changed the direction of US foreign policy towards Irish Affairs. Sinn Fein Youth welcomes this change of direction, and while openly critical of many aspects of US government policy, see their involvement in the peace process as positive.

Radical Consensus

Sinn Fein Youth also believes that there are new alliances to be built which can consolidate the peace process and the republican project. Working with marginalised and excluded throughout the country should be seen as an essential part of our global political strategy. Questions of womens equality, racism, homophobia, economic inequality, anti-heroine campaigns, rural isolation, inner-city marginalisation are not just important local campaigns but need to be seen as part of our national project. What makes local sense, makes national sense. Independence is as much individual and local as it is national. Sinn Fein Youth believes that building radical alliances should be made a key political objective over the coming years.


Sinn Fein Youth is mindful of the many fears and concerns which exist within the unionist community. We do not seek to impose anything on unionists, we merely seek dialogue and discussion. This will facilitate better understanding and the possibility of cooperation. We do not wish to deny unionists their identity, culture or rights. We seek a future together working as equals, as part of a rich nation, not made up of two communities but many.


Sinn Fein Youth demands equality for all people, and we demand it now. Equality is not a gift, it is not a process it is a right. There is a need for immediate movement by the two governments an d the participants in the assembly to address issues of equality, social, economic, cultural, political and linguistic. Without such movement nationalist confidence in the peace process can not be maintained.


Sinn Fein Youth demands the complete demilitarisation of our country. The British government and the unionists have a responsibility in this to ensure that the removal of the British Army and its fortifications the disbandment of the RUC and RIR and the normalisation of our environment. Without demilitarisation there is no peace process.


Sinn Fein Youth welcomes home all our prisoners of war released to date. We wish them well and every success with their lives. However mot all our prisoners are home. Sinn Fein Youth demands their speedy release. Prisoners are a consequence of the conflict. Its resolution requires their release. Sinn Fein Youth also supports the release of all prisoners imprisoned during and connected to the conflict.

Belfast Assembly

Sinn Fein Youth gave a cautious yes vote to the amendment of our party's constitution to allow elected representatives to take their seats in the Assembly. We believe that this assembly should be viewed as another arena of struggle another playing field to argue for and advance our republican aims and objectives. It is crucial that both Sinn Fein and Sinn Fein Youth participate in the Assembly while maintaining our other pillars of struggle; namely campaigns and mobilisations; peace strategy; advice centres and local constituency work; local councils; educations; international work. Only when these areas of struggle are placed together can the Republican Movement have the force and capacity to achieve our goals.


Sinn Fein Youth believes that without the participation of young people in the peace process it is doomed to failure. In the Assembly the All-Ireland Ministerial Council, the Patton commission etc.; young people must become active and take ownership of the process. We must also continue to reclaim the streets and make them our voices. Campaigns and mobilisations are our strength. We have a responsibility as young people to rasp these opportunities

Sinn Fein