Monday, 11 January 2016

11‭ ‬January‭ ‬1970:‭ ‬The foundation of‭ ‘‬Provisional‭’ ‬Sinn Fein on this day.‭ ‬The political organisation was activated after a formal split arose within Sinn Fein as to what was the best approach to take in regards to opposition to British Rule in the North and towards the‭ ‬26‭ ‬County Government.‭ ‬The more left wing members of the leadership like Cathal Goulding and Sean Garland wanted to operate a broad based‭ ‘‬National Liberation Front‭’ ‬that would include both Sinn Fein and the likes of the Communist party within its ranks.‭ ‬They also wanted to recognise the parliaments in Leinster House,‭ ‬Westminster and Stormont as legitimate.‭ ‬Political Action within the current political framework was their chosen method of approach.

However to the more traditionally minded SF members these policies were anathema.‭  ‬They wanted to pursue a policy of active opposition to British rule in the North that would include support for armed struggle to bring about a British withdrawal from Ireland.‭ ‬They did not want any recognition of the partitionist States here.‭ ‬In an acrimonious Ard Feis that took place in Dublin at the Intercontinental Hotel a split emerged into the open that had long being brewing.‭ ‬Despite the best efforts of MacStiofáin and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh,‭ ‬who eventually led the subsequent walkout,‭ ‬the changes were finally approved by the party membership but not,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬by the two thirds majority required for an alteration of the party’s constitution.‭ ‬In the wake of these decisions they organised a walkout by a minority of like minded delegates who reconvened a meeting at Kevin Barry Hall on Dublin’s Parnell Street and duly set up a‭ ‘‬caretaker‭’ ‬Sinn Féin Executive to liase with the previously elected Army Council.

Some days later the new group made its intent clear in a newly issued pamphlet:‭

We pledge our allegiance to the‭ ‬32‭ ‬county Irish Republic proclaimed at Easter‭ ‬1916,‭ ‬overthrown by force of arms in‭ ‬1922‭ ‬and suppressed to this day by the existing British imposed Six County and Twenty-Six County partition states‭’

Thus were born the‭ ‘‬Provos‭’!

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