Danny Morrison (centre in jacket) with, back row: Cllr. Tom Cunningham and Cllr. Pearse McGeough; front row: Cllr. Antóin Watters, Cllr. Joanna Byrne, Cllr. Ruairí Ó Murchú and Imelda Munster TD.
The main speaker at Saturday's annual Hunger Strike commemoration in Drogheda, republican writer and secretary of the Bobby Sands Trust, Danny Morrison, has defended the Sinn Fein policy of not taking up its seats at Westminster.
The Drogheda event, chaired by Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster, was attended by republicans from all over the county, including a number of county councillors, and began with a book signing by Mr Morrison of a new edition of the seminal 'Hunger Strike' at Barlow House.
Those in attendance marched through the town centre to the Hunger Strike memorial at the bottom of Ballsgrove Hill where Ireland's 22 hunger strikers are remembered.
Deputy Munster said the 1981 Hunger Strike was “one of the most defining moments in modern Irish history that 'inspired a whole new generation to the struggle for Irish unity.”
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In his address, Mr Morrison was staunch in his support for the continuation of Sinn Féin abstentionist policy.
He said: “We have politicians calling on Sinn Féin to betray the electorate and its manifesto by taking seats in Westminster.
“The same politicians whose parties have had ample opportunity to set up shop in the North and run for elections, but are too cowardly to do so. Ever wonder why Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, who had 80 years to do so, never organised in the North?
“It was because they accepted partition, became comfortable with partition and perfected partition.
“Once you take your seats in Westminster and interfere in the affairs of Britain, you lose all moral right to complain about Britain interfering in Irish affairs.
“The TDs, the Sinn Féin men and women elected in December 1918, whom Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil revere, were right to boycott Westminster then, just as Sinn Féin women and men are right to boycott that alien parliament and demonstrate to the world our rejection of British rule in Ireland.”