Sinn Féin Ard Fheis: Time for Change

A packed hall in Dublin hosted the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis (Congress) on Saturday. The slogan of the meeting was 'Time for Change'.

A packed hall in Dublin hosted the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis (Congress) on Saturday. 

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald told the party’s Ard Fheis that a “new dawn” was breaking in Ireland and that “we stand on the threshold of a new era”. Ms McDonald emphasised the centrality of Irish reunification to Sinn Féin’s programme.

“We live in the end days of partition. On the cusp of an historic opportunity - the reunification of our country and our people,” she said, appealing to those who she said were “apprehensive about Irish Unity”.

She added: “I want you to know that in a new Ireland you will be cherished, included, respected as equal citizens.”

She outlined three “big opportunities” in the coming decade - the reunification of “our country”, the achievement of energy independence and “the power of our young people”. 

Michelle O'Neill, who was elected to become First Minister in the North of Ireland Assembly said: "For the first time, the balance of power at Stormont shifted, and Sinn Féin emerged as the largest party, topping the poll with 27 seats.

The electorate overwhelmingly endorsed our message of hope, optimism and of working in partnership with others to get things done.

They voted for us to invest extra money in our health service and to help them through the cost-of-living crisis."

O'Neill added: "My call is for London and Brussels to Propel the Protocol Talks and for Downing Street to demonstrate the political will to get a resolution.

As for the Stormont Leaders, now is the time for renewed unity of purpose and determination to deliver a stable power-sharing coalition that works, and delivers."

O'Neill underlined that "next April we will mark 25 years of peace and the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.  

And we will reflect on the transformation of our island over the last quarter century.

We will also take the opportunity to look forward and  to imagine the future.

We are now in the decade of opportunity."