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Nationalist Parties Seeking to ban the Democratic & Civil Right to Protest Have Short Memories. - Aontú

In response to a motion being brought to the next meeting of Newry, Mourne, and Down Council by Sinn Féin, Aontú Deputy Leader, Cllr Denise Mullen has expressed her disappointment that a party claiming to support Civil Rights would seek to remove the right to free assembly and peaceful protest because they disagree with such protests.

Cllr Mullen agrees that “Every citizen should be able to live their lives free of harassment. Also every citizen has a right to peacefully protest.”

“We support the Human Right to life of everyone and seek a society that supports both mother and child. We oppose the ending of human life whether legally or illegally. Shockingly we are the only Nationalist/Republican Party with this core value.”

“As a party we have not been involved in vigils or protests outside healthcare centres or hospitals. However the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental corner stone of a liberal democracy. We will stand up for that right even for individuals and groups whose views or methods we disagree with or oppose. Banning peaceful protests and the suppression of these democratic rights has been a tool of authoritarian regimes right around the world. It would be a dangerous step if this precedent was introduced into Ireland. Whose right to protest would be banned next?”

“In Newry, Derry and in towns and cities right across the north Civil Rights protests were once banned by the British and Stormont regimes. Given the experience of our communities, no nationalist, republican or democrat with any sort of memory could vote for or support the suppression of the right to protest.”

“I would have thought that Sinn Féin, a party which was once the victim of censorship by the state and media, would be completely against enacting any form of censor or attempt to silence opposition. But New Sinn Féin have left much of their core values behind. In Aontú we may not like a protest, we may not support a protest, but we will defend the rights of citizens to peacefully protest in our democracy. The alternative is too frightening to consider.”

By Aontú Press | 27 April, 2021

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The Irish political system is radically broken

In Ireland the vast majority of elected representatives put a finger in the air to check which way the political wind is blowing. They have one eye on their leaders – seeking brownie points – and another eye keeping their seat safe. If elected reps shut up and do as they’re told, they are promoted; if they stand up for what they believe in, they are demoted. No wonder we have the political class we have. No wonder one point one billion euro is being buried in a hole under the National Children’s Hospital and that Stormont is in stalemate.

Throughout Ireland, many people are now afraid to say what they feel, many are afraid to respectfully engage on a range of different topics. Many feel there is a new censorship and a new political correctness in Ireland, that opposition to the establishment is being deleted.

Respectful opposition is not the enemy. Respectful opposition is a critical element of a functional democracy. Aontú will have the backbone to stand up, without fear, for you.