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Taking a quick break from Coolacrease here, as a contrast to last weeks Official Sinn Féin “United Irishman”, we have a leaflet from Provisional Sinn Féin, the “Inner City Republican” issued on behalf of Christy Burke in the Dublin Central constituency. The leaflet was donated anonymously - for which we’re very grateful - and is from a photocopy, so apologies for the poor reproduction quality.
It’s an interesting document. Some obvious points. The ‘Provisional’ is nowhere to be seen. Perhaps the name change of Sinn Féin the Workers’ Party to the Workers’ Party the previous year had rendered it superfluous. The masthead has a photograph of Connolly and Bobby Sands. There is a heavy emphasis on ‘socialism’ throughout. We are told in the editorial that “there can never be social justice and independence under a capitalist system”. Christy Burke is quoted We are treated to an interview with the IRA which is notable for the way in which it localises its involvement to specific areas in Dublin Central. And linked to that is a strong anti-drugs message. Interesting to see how in 1983 there was the claim that there was no heroin addiction in the North. The intervening years were to bring about a different story. And that too is interesting because the concentration remains very strongly focussed on the Inner City and the ‘war’ and the North is mentioned only glancingly. Perhaps an indication fo future complexities that we would see reiterated as recently as the election this year.
One notable omission is any reference to Tony Gregory who had been elected the previous year. This indicated interesting problems for PSF in the constituency because Gregory had already, to some degree, soaked up the left Republican vote by clothing it in community activist garb. And that linked into my previous point. For PSF this was a constituency, like many in Dublin that would be hard to ‘break’ into because there were many, Gregory, Labour and indeed FF who had first mover advantage. One can only marvel at the way in which Nicky Kehoe almost made it back in the last but one election. On the other hand there was no significant WP or DL presence here throughout the 20 odd years since unlike other constituencies, which counterintuitively might have been a problem in the 1980s and early 1990s but as time went on become yet another source of votes in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Finally, interesting to see that the fada’s are hand rendered. Them were the days…