Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has hit out at dissidents for trying to hijack the “republican future”.
In an Easter Rising commemoration speech at the republican plot at Milltown Cemetery yesterday Mr Adams (right) said that a “peaceful and democratic path to a united Ireland has been opened up”.
He said: “I uphold the right of everyone to dissent from Sinn Fein’s point of view.
“But no-one is entitled to hijack our proud republican history and our republican future and abuse it for narrow selfish interests or self gain.
“Sinn Fein, standing firmly on a republican platform, sets ourselves firmly against those elements who do this.”
Mr Adams also added there was no going back to the old days of “sectarian domination and two-tier citizenship”.
“The relationship between the North of Ireland and Britain has also been fundamentally altered and an increasingly confident republican community is taking co-ownership, as is our right, of every sphere of public, political and institutional life here,” he said.
Mr Adams also spoke to listeners on the ongoing economic climate.
“The dire economic situation is the number one issue for many people today,” he said.
“Predictions of half a million citizens on the dole by Christmas give some sense of the difficulties facing working people across this island.
“Sinn Féin is ready to join with other political parties, trade unions, community and voluntary organisations to forge a new political alliance for change in Ireland.
“Such an alternative would seek to combine economic success with social responsibility. It would foster prosperity and equality.”
Meanwhile, the Easter edition of republican newspaper An Phoblacht did not include a traditional Easter statement from the IRA for the first time in memory.
Instead the weekly paper has this year carried a Sinn Fein leadership Easter statement recommitting members to the “achievement of our republican objectives”.