Sinn Fein Poblachtach will not be attending this year’s Bloody Sunday March.

After long and considered consultation with our membership we have decided that it is impossible for us to attend this year’s Bloody Sunday March, giving the anti-republican message expressed by the creation of the official poster advertising the march, and which has been on display this past week during events run by the Bloody Sunday Committee in Derry City in relation to the march.

It was important for us to give consideration to the opinions of the republican community in Derry, who expressed similar concerns and ultimately have taken the same decision. We did not rush to judgement and in actual fact attempted to seek dialogue to resolve the issue, we presented our concerns and asked questions as to motivations surrounding the posters etc, the response we received was courteous and respectful but failed to address the issues. In our view the concerns expressed were not taken seriously.

This decision was therefore reached with a heavy heart and resentment for those who have used the Bloody Sunday March to enforce their perverse agenda. Republican Sinn Fein has no interest or takes no advantage from division. Every year until now we have given our support to the march, the families and the victims. We continue to support the victims and the families in their pursuit for justice against the British State. However we will take no part in supporting platforms gifted to individuals or groups who call for the arrest and imprisonment of Irish Republicans.

The issues have been clearly outlined but we shall make it clear once again. The events organised by the Bloody Sunday Committee cannot be separated from the march itself. The Bloody Sunday events run by the Committee offer a platform to victims seeking justice. Which is their position and we respect their right to that position but we cannot support it. As stated above these platforms are being used this year to attack republicans from a number of angles which include seeking the arrest and imprisonment of IRA volunteers, and yet they hold an anti-internment event as well which is quite simply a paradox.

We will not be dragged into name calling, or mudslinging but it is important that we outline our reasons and provide clarity to our supporters, and that is the only reason we have produced this statement. In the years that follow we would hope that the inclusiveness purported by the organisers will include Republicans and that any suggestions and concerns they may have be given a fair consideration. We would ask that any future elections to the Bloody Sunday Committee would include a republican perspective to ensure that the issues that have proved so divisive and destructive are never repeated again.

We will continue to honour those innocent victims of Bloody Sunday, in keeping our annual tradition of laying a wreath at the Bloody Sunday Monument during our Sean Keenan commemoration.


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