“The Fianna Fáil That We Would Have”

Malachaí Duddy, Chumann FF Seán Lemass

The following article was written by Malachaí Duddy, Chumann FF Seán Lemass, Brí Chualann, Co. Chill Mhantáin

The People have judged Fianna Fáil in the recent general election: having found our policies wanting, they have acted accordingly.  The extreme economic difficulties that Ireland has suffered over the last four years have their origin during the 14 years of uninterrupted Fianna Fáil lead government and just as the organisation rightly took credit for the Peace Process and Ireland’s unprecedented prosperity which has kept 1.85 million people at work even during recession: Fianna Fáil has taken responsibility for its part in the present crises, has apologised for these failings, and has been doled its electoral punishment.

Fianna Fáil The Republican Party has traditionally been a broad based national movement holding the support of nearly half the Irish people; embodying the popular mainstream of the Irish political tradition which goes back through the united republican movement of 1917-1921; Pádraig Pearse, James Connolly and the other leaders of 1916; the disciplined Nationalist party and Land League under Charles Stuart Parnell who united, under his leadership with Michael Davitt, the New Departure that revolutionary tradition of the Fenians; the Young Irelanders; and the United Irishmen of 1798 and 1803; and together with the constitutional mass agitation of The Liberator Daniel O’Connell.  That mass constitutional agitation inaugurated the development of the broad national movement which is represented today by Fianna Fáil The Republican Party.  Under the presidency of Éamon de Valera, the founder of Fianna Fáil, Ireland democratically confirmed our national independence, and defended our right to freedom through force of arms.  More than any other political force, Fianna Fáil has shaped this state and nation.  Fianna Fáil is a practical republican organisation permeated with the 1916 ideals, committed to national advancement based on democratic means.

The significance of our inimical resistance is that through the unremitting national struggle, it bound within the nation a movement that embraces geographical, social, and religious diversity to embody the popular mainstream.  The national question  has  always   been   a   passionate concern for Fianna Fáil which together with the welfare of the people is above all else fundamental to our organisation. Fianna Fáil is the Republican Party, the political organisation which, acting in the interests of the people, peacefully dismantled the Treaty settlement and restored the Republic; severing, one by one the bonds that tied this state to the British empire, ensuring that the Irish people, in the greater part of our country, exercised the right of self determination appropriate to a free people, ever mindful that our nation remains divided.

Detractors of Fianna Fáil rhetorically ask what differentiates us from Fine Gael –in an attempt to distance Fianna Fáil from the working population, ignoring all Fianna Fáil accomplishments and at once conflating the two Civil War sides: as the Labour Party compromise socialist class interests, its leader having jettisoned his Marxist-Stalinist heritage, to enter government with Fine Gael, a right wing party with fascist antecedence.  The Fianna Fáil membership has been the subject of a tirade of hostile odium and bias.  We have been vilified and treated with malice mostly through hypocritical prejudice where any Fianna Fáil achievement is treated with loathing or dishonesty to the extent that the public mind has been polluted by malevolence.  In the words of the song Deep In The Canadian Woods by T.D. Sullivan:

“We’ve heard her faults a hundred times, The new ones and the old, In songs and sermons, rants and rhymes, Enlarged some fifty-fold”:

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