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New ‘revolutionary' republican party Saoradh launched

The National Executive during the Saoradh Ard Fheis held in Newry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
By Connla Young

THE chairman of a new republican political party has described it as an “unashamed revolutionary party”.

Saoradh, which means 'liberation' in Irish, held its first ard fheis in Co Down on Saturday.

Republicans from across Ireland attended the event, during which Co Tyrone ex-prisoner David Jordan was selected as the party’s first chairman.

Other high-profile republicans at the launch at the Canal Court Hotel in Newry included Colin Duffy and his brother Paul, Dee Fennell and Nuala Perry.

Jordan, who is currently on bail after being charged with trying to kill a PSNI officer in a bomb attack in Castlederg in 2008, said the new party will be rooted in socialist politics and be controlled from the “ground up”.

During the event Derry republican Thomas Ashe Mellon read out a message of support from prisoners aligned to the ‘IRA’ in Maghaberry and Portlaoise prisons, saying they rejected "sectarianism and sexism which have been prevalent in the past".

A message was also read out from veteran Belfast republican Billy McKee, a founding member of the Provisional IRA.

In an address to members, the new chairman said the leadership will be regularly rotated.

“I have no desire to sit as your chair for longer than is necessary. The Irish habit of following the personality rather than principles has been disastrous in the past for political movements and I am sure that as a collective we can rise above that."

And in another thinly-veiled criticism of Sinn Fein, he was critical of those who participate in the current political institutions.

“Those who sit in the pay of our nation's oppressor while claiming to champion our liberation are false prophets who have been defeated and consumed by the very system they claim to oppose," he said.

"These institutions are the harness for the horse; they are designed to prevent the Irish people regaining their national sovereignty."

He claimed history was "littered with the failures of successive ventures into constitutional nationalism".

“Currently elections do not advance our strategic objectives, but remain a weapon in our arsenal when fought on an abstentionist basis with regards to foreign parliaments and partitionist assemblies.”

The new party was said to represent the “birth of a radical, revolutionary, republican party that will increase the relevance of our ideology across society and show our enemies that we can match our faith with forceful articulation, growth, participation and, most importantly of all, genuine activism”.

Speaking after the conference, Jordan said Saoradh is a “stand alone” party with no links to other political groups or organisations.

He said talks aimed at forming it have been taking place for several years and involved a range of organisations, with branches have already been set up on both sides of the border.

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