Gerry Adams and Maurice Quinlivan lead the Sean South commemoration
SINN Fein is ‘seeking to build’ on Maurice Quinlivan’s election as a TD in 2016, which was a ‘considerable breakthrough’, according to party president Gerry Adams.
Mr Adams was in Limerick on Sunday to attend the 60th anniversary of Sean South’s death, using his graveside oration to hail the Limerick man, mortally wounded in the 1957 Border campaign, as “iconic”.
The procession, which began at Bedford Row and finished at the republican plot in Mount St. Laurence Cemetery, was –according to Sinn Fein – the largest commemoration in memory to take place in the city, with an estimated 500 people in attendance.
It was led by Adams and local Sinn Fein TD Quinlivan, who said “the life and death of Sean Sabhat (South) is an integral part of the history of Limerick”.
Adams used his speech to discuss Irish unity, the state of politics both north and south of the border as well as Brexit, referencing too the problem of homelessness in Limerick and the trolley crisis at University Hospital Limerick. He was speaking before the dramatic resignation of Martin McGuinness the following day.
“I believe if we advance together, united behind our republican goals, we will win our freedom and build the united Ireland for which Sean Sabhat (South) and Fergal O hAnnluain gave their lives,” Mr Adams said.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader before the annual commemoration, he said the names such as South were “iconic” and it was “important to be able to reflect”.
“I think it is important that this is not just about the past, about commemorating or looking back, it is only necessary to do that to look forward,” he said.
“I take considerable pride from the fact that we don’t need any more Sean Souths, and there might be some people who say that you never needed them, but that is a matter of their opinion.”
Praising Quinlivan, who was elected in February of last year, the first Sinn Fein TD in 93 years from Limerick, Mr Adams said his party colleague’s election was “a considerable breakthrough for us, well and hard worked for, and we would be seeking to build on that”.
“We haven’t studied precisely how we would go forward in any particular constituency, but we would be seeking to strengthen what we have, and we will do that in consultation with the people here in this constituency,” he added.
Of Limerick’s rebounding economy, he said “there should be no horizon or limit or boundary to how this place should grow. It is a lovely city, it is in a beautiful setting, it has brilliant history behind it. There is no reason at all why this city can’t prosper.”
Deputy Quinlivan said he would like to see a tribute to South in his native city.
“The uniform is there and whatever people’s opinions are, it is a historic item so it should be on display somewhere,” he said.