Following on from RNUs decision at last year’s Ard Fheis to constitute as a Revolutionary Party, and following prolonged discussion amongst our membership at Cumann and Ard Comhairle level, Republican Network for Unity are happy to announce that several candidates have been nominated by the party to contest both the forthcoming Six County local Council elections, as well as elections at council level in the Twenty Six county area.
We can further confirm at this stage that we intend to field candidates in both the Oldpark and Lower Falls District Electoral Areas.
41 year old Sammy Cussick has been a lifelong political activist who grew up in Ardoyne. A father of five he now resides in the Cliftonville area and has campaigned vigorously on Social and Republican issues relevant to both the National Question as well as to working class people in area in which he lives.
Sammy is well-known for his active opposition to Sectarian marches in North Belfast.
A former GARC member he is currently active with the North Queen Street support group which campaigns on behalf of residents in the Carrickhill/ Newlodge area.
Sammy is also a dedicated Anti-Drugs activist and along with RNU & ‘Concerned Families Against Drugs’ (CFAD) he has personally assisted with the confiscation and disposal of tens of thousands of pounds worth of narcotics, taken from drugs gangs in the greater Belfast area.
Sammy has also worked within the ‘North Belfast Civil Rights Association’ which campaigned to tackle the problem of homelessness in North Belfast, and in particular he has campaigned for the building of Social Housing on the former Girdwood Barracks site.
He describes himself as a typical North Belfast Republican, a Socialist and a family man with a passion for making his locality a better place to live. Sammy will stand for the Oldpark Electoral Area.
In West Belfast, 23 year old Tommy Doherty is a well-known and dedicated Republican activist, he is also RNUs youth officer. In recent years he has worked as ‘youth and Peer educator’ for Republican ex Prisoner support group ‘Tar Anal’, for whom he travelled and delivered their ‘Equality program’ to many youth centres and clubs around Belfast.
Outside of his work for Tar Anal Tommy has long immersed himself in working for a variety of community projects and groups in the Lower Falls area.
As well as being a founding member of the ‘Beechmount Residents Collective’ he has volunteered for the ‘Blackie Centre’ in his native Beechmount, along with ‘Challenge for youth’ and within safety projects launched by the Falls Women’s Centre. He was awarded millennium Volunteers ‘award of excellence’ for giving hours of positive contribution to the community.
Still studying in the area of youth work and Conflict Resolution, Tommy is excellently placed to understand the needs, the challenges and requirements for young people in deprived areas of West Belfast, in his role with the Beechmount Residents Collective he is also acutely aware of the needs, demands and frustrations of all generations living within the Lower Falls district.
Republican Network for Unity believe and hope that in contesting council elections in North & West Belfast, we can further establish our connections with the working class communities there, bringing with us an alternative Republican and Socialist message which can lead to greater empowerment of ordinary people who live there.
In line with the principles of Revolutionary Republicanism, we hope to play our part in the reclaming of these areas which have for too long lay neglected by the constitutional parties which claim to represent them.
Primary areas of concern to both candidates will include the issues of:
- The increasing problem of Drug Abuse in working class communities and the need for communities to face down the gangs responsible for capitalising on misery.
- Campaigning against ongoing Selective Internment, PSNI oppression & the ill treatment of Republican prisoners in Maghaberry Gaol.
- The need for a marked increase in the provision of Social Housing to meet the requirements of the thousands of people currently on the waiting list.
- The need to campaign for increased provision of social & leisure facilities for young people and families.
- Campaigning against Sectarianism & Racism in all its forms.
- Building total opposition to London & Stormonts programme of cuts to public facilities, and the savage ‘Welfare Reform Bill’ which promises to take £600 Million a year from the pockets of the most vulnerable families in the Six Counties.
- The building of a credible Republican & Socialist alternative to the failed politics of constitutional Nationalism and self-serving Unionism.
Speaking following their nomination today (Sept 25th) both activists agreed that they would bring to local politics an ‘Alternative Republican Voice’ tied neither to petty sectarian agendas nor the requirements of a failing project in Stormont, but based upon the principles of Revolutionary Irish Republicanism and the interests of working class people.