Sinn Fein says it wants to build a peaceful Ireland where “all of our children can live in peace.”
This was the message delivered by Gearoid O’hEara - the party’s candidate in next month’s Westminster election - an at Easter commemoration in Derry’s City Cemetery at the weekend.
The Derry republican told a crowd gathered at the republican monument that his party wanted a “united, equal and inclusive Ireland.”
He added: “Sinn Féin wants equality not austerity. That is our way. A Republic, ‘cherishing all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious to the differences fostered by an alien government’. In that republic, there can be no place for sectarianism, racism or homophobia.
“Presently, Sinn Féin ministers are fighting to protect frontline public services from the worst of Tory cuts and we will continue to do this. But the magnitude of these cuts is putting real pressure on public services, on school budgets and on community groups.
“It is clear that austerity is the cost of the union and both have failed. Sinn Féin will continue working to end both.”
Mr. O’hEara said that, when Sinn Fein spoke of “cherishing all of the children of the nation equally”, it was also referring to “our fellow country men and women in the Protestant, unionist and loyalist community who share this island with us.”
He added: “We offer equality, support and respect for all identities including those who view themselves as British. This will be central to resolving the issues of flags, identities and parades.
“Sinn Féin is for a pluralist Ireland in which all our citizens have rights and are entitled to respect and equality.
“We want them to be part of a new Ireland where ours and their religious, cultural and political freedoms are guaranteed.”
Easter, he said, provided people with the space to remember the sacrifice of previous generations and to “reflect on progress we have made and how we approach the next period of time.”
“We owe it to those who came before us and to those who will follow to continue to work to achieve the republic dreamt of by Wolfe Tone and proclaimed on the steps of the GPO in 1916,” he said.
“The Republic that they proclaimed has not yet happened and the words and sentiments of the written Proclamation with which they declared it have not been implemented. The Proclamation and its principles continue to guide this generation of republicans. Those words have guided us through the thick and thin of the last 40 years.”