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1916 pride

What does it mean to be a republican in 2016? We asked this Sinn Féin senator

Fintan Warfield thinks ‘you don’t have to be a Shinner to be a republican’.

FINTAN WARFIELD IS one of newest members of Sinn Féin’s Oireachtas team.

The 24-year-old became the first person elected to the incoming Seanad during the week.

Warfield, who has toured with the Young Wolfe Tones, thinks some people might be reticent to say they are republican due to fears of being criticised.

However, he said the Easter Rising centenary commemorations have led to people being more in touch with national pride.

In a High Table Interview with TheJournal.ie, Warfield explained to us what he thinks it means to be a republican in modern-day Ireland.

He told us: “You don’t necessarily have to be a Shinner to be a republican.”

TheJournal.ie / YouTube

Video: Nicky Ryan

Warfield said the 1916 anniversary has also resulted in people being more willing to discuss a united Ireland – something he said would benefit people north and south.

Seanad reform

During the interview, Warfield also spoke about the type of reform he wants to see in the Seanad.

“It’s not lost on me that I argued for and campaigned for Seanad abolition. At that stage we had no confidence in the government to reform it, that’s been apparent,” he said.

Sinn Féin has called for 50/50 gender balance in the upper house, as well as opening up voting to all Irish citizens – including those in the north and the diaspora.

TheJournal.ie / YouTube

Video: Nicky Ryan

A lot of people have said to me, ‘Why would you find yourself in the Seanad? There’s no power there.’ For myself it’s not necessarily about the power but about using a public space, a political space that we occupy, to make social change, to make political change.

One of the first things he plans to focus on is bringing forward legislation to amend the Gender Recognition Act so trans people of all ages can apply to have their preferred gender officially recognised.

Read: ‘Young trans people don’t turn trans when they’re 18, they deserve so much better’

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