The 1986 Sinn Fein Ard Fheis

Cover of 1986 Sinn Fein clár
Cover of 1986 Sinn Fein Ard Fheis clár

This weekend marks the 29th anniversary of the 1986 Sinn Fein Ard Fheis. Famous for this exchange between Martin McGuinness and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh over the issue of abstentionism. Although, as both men correctly point out, it was actually about the strategic direction of the republican movement. We all know what happened next and the subsequent political trajectory of the republican movement but watching their speeches from this vantage point still makes fascinating and thought provoking viewing.

Below each video clip I’ve included links to the transcript of both speeches. The full 1986 Ard Fheis clár can be viewed here.

Compare and contrast.

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Jim Slaven tweets @JimSlaven