Ard Fheis Highs and Lows

* Winning the motion to make repeal of the Offences Against the State Act a condition to entering coalition government in the south. I really didn't think we would win it, because not only the Ard Chomhairle but a couple ordinary punters I spoke to had indicated they would oppose it on the grounds it would "tie our hands". But, my God, if ever there was anything we should tie our hands on, surely imprisoning people just for being republicans is it? The membership did absolutely the right thing here, and I'm delighted.
* Dessie Ellis's speech on migrant workers. He set out our stall clearly, unambiguously, and live on RTÉ that we will not succumb to populist race-baiting. I can honestly say that I haven't been as proud to be a Shinner in ages as I was listening to that speech. The left-wing Labourites watching must have been sick.
* The appearances by Joanne Delaney and Mícheál Ó Seighin, especially when the latter confirmed that yes, Sinn Féin have been raising the Corrib Gas issue for many years (take that, Enda Kenny).
* Barry McElduff. The man is a national treasure.
* All three of the motions/amendments I wrote speeches on were passed. Clearly, my powers of persuasion are greater than I ever imagined :)

* Failure not only to rule out policing and coalition, but even to adopt the motions requiring a two-thirds majority to take part in either. Especially in the case of policing, I think it will be a huge mistake not to ensure we have widespread and not just majority support for such a step.
* Losing the pro-choice motion, although I hadn't really expected otherwise. It still depresses me to think that a revolutionary party like Sinn Féin could hold such a reactionary position on women's reproductive rights.
* The Ard Chomhairle elections - a "southern massacre" as someone put it.
* The stupid catering set-up in which you couldn't get a cup of coffee without queuing behind the people ordering hot food.
* Being skint, again. Why is it that Ard Fheis weekend always falls during a week when I have half a dozen bills to pay?

A pretty good weekend all in all, but we still have much work to do.

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