Being part a radical Party in a time of relative contentment on the part of the general population is no easy task. It wears on the nerves to see as clearly as if it were already here, what is inevitably coming. The comparison with watching a horror movie in which one of the characters decides to just check out that “noise” in the basement, it probably being nothing, is palpable. No point in screaming at the screen and no point either screaming at the Irish people. They are determined it seems to check out the basement of Sinn Féin and ignore the noises as being probably nothing too bad. It’ll be a change at least and that’s as good as an arrest, no typo. But hasn’t it all been tried before and failed, well that was somewhere else and some other time.
One thing is certain enough that the failings of this current government while planting the seeds of disaster everywhere have only fully bloomed in some senses. There is a “cost of living crisis” but sure aren’t they giving us a bit of free money to cover that, well not really, but SF will. And there’s a housing crisis but the market will build them (not so far) or again SF will. The country is full of foreigners but sure there’s a war and they’ll go home then (not really) but isn’t diversity a strength. There hasn’t been a full-scale riot on O’Connell Street yet because of a football match and the French just let in the wrong type, probably.
‘Died suddenly’ is a thing which ironically it wasn’t in the middle of a pandemic, but then not everyone who had the vaccine is dead so that is an exaggeration. All in all, what can’t be fixed now can be fixed with another go at the voting thing, just mark the piece of paper in the right order and everything will be affordable again and plenty of houses and no more dying. Just be patient. Don’t be a patient though because the HSE is a mess. Never mind.
I get it. I get the frustration of the members and supporters of the National Party. We are growing but not fast enough and the problems that it seems only we can see clearly are growing faster. I get it more than most that the voices of discontent being heard in the media through print or broadcast are demanding that things get worse and faster instead of better. Even the main platforms of so-called alternative media are closed off, algorithms tampered with to say the least. You can speak but you can’t always be heard. And soon they have plans that you can’t even speak even if no one hears you, the law will be given the power to judge not only what you do but what it a judge believes you thought about doing, even if you didn’t actually do anything.
Most recently the National Party Ard Fheis was attacked with a ferocious violence that Irish politics has not seen for a long time. Hammers are not for debate.
And yet, and yet… in that attack it would seem obvious that someone is very concerned indeed that things are already changing. That it will not be much longer that the pretence that everything is alright can be maintained. Some important people in “socialist republican” circles have no confidence at all that Sinn Féin are going to build enough houses for the whole world, or provide the cost of living, or that diversity will be our strength. They have indeed so little confidence that they need to wipe out right now the voices they fear can only grow louder, the numbers that can only grow bigger, the real solutions that can only become more popular when the “change” is what’s left in your pocket after a week’s work and tax and not utopia.
It is hard to be part of the National Party right now, and so it should be. Nothing worthwhile ever came easy, especially in Ireland. It is a certainty I share with you that it will get harder, confident in the character and faith of rank and file of Party members that knew this either from the beginning or were acquainted with it quickly. We wanted neither summer soldiers nor sunshine patriots and insofar as we got some I’m as certain they have left or will. Still the National Party goes on, still the far-sighted come to us, if slower than we might wish then so be it. Being right too early can so easily look wrong. But growing we are nonetheless. The Ard Fheis and the fact that we were able to continue despite everything is testimony to the character and courage of those we have amongst us.
No, victory is not near, who among us ever said it was. But we march forthrightly in 2023 and there are more of us, and those of us there are have shown their mettle. There will be more again in 2024. And neither violence nor unjust law will stop the advance of the National Idea.
Like it or not we are the coming thing.
Ar Dheis ar Aghaidh!
Ceannaire an Pháirtí Náisiúnta