Over 1,000 march through Sallins for Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at  Bodenstown Churchyard on Sunday.  Photo Tony Keane.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams at Bodenstown Churchyard on Sunday. Photo Tony Keane.

The route to Bodenstown Churchyard from Sallins village took the marchers past a largely empty commercial and residential development on the Clane Road, opposite the entrance to the Sallins Bridge housing estate.

As a metaphor for the collapse in Ireland’s economic fortunes the moment was as jarring as it was unintentional.

Time was when the annual Sinn Fein commemoration was an event tinged with menace. In the years prior to the peace process it brought nearly as many gardai - uniformed and in plain clothes - as marchers.

Today though Sinn Fein has more fish to fry as it elbows its way towards influence. Sinn Fein now has 5 members of Kildare County Council, voted in by people battered by the effects of the downturn overseen by Fianna Fail and poisoned by the medicine administered by Fine Gael and Labour, as SF see it.

This is where much of Sinn Fein’s support comes from today and on Sunday there was an easygoing almost festival-like atmosphere as supporters, members, councillors, TDs (Aengus O Snodaigh and Mary Lou McDonald) walked towards the final resting place of Theobald Wolfe Tone, from whom SF seek inspiration and validation - as do Fianna Fail.

But it can’t forget the past. Because as president Gerry Adams says, it is a 32 county party and “the largest on this island.”

That’s why many people wore shirts remembering the Hunger Strikers who died in 1981 and why one of the marching bands, based in New Lodge Road, Belfast, is named after two dead IRA “volunteers”.

It’s future though rests with who is blamed for the empty buildings and the empty pockets of 2014 and beyond.




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