RNU EASTER STATEMENT 2014
Il testo integrale della Dichiarazione di Pasqua del Republican Network for Unity
A chairde agus comradai.
Tá Failte raoimh go leir, anseo ag an chomóradh Dun dealgan don Eiri amach na casca.
You are all very welcome at this, Dundalk’s 98th anniversary commemoration of the Easter Rising, at which we also remember our patriot dead from all periods of the Republican struggle for Irish Freedom.
This is the fourth year in which the movement in its current form, have gathered here at Dundalk Republican plot. The final resting place of IRA Volunteers; Thomas McKeown, John McNulty, Thomas Murray, James Melia, Thomas Lennon and Joseph Ferguson.
Previous speakers have talked at length on how these men paid the supreme sacrifice for their principles and refusal to abandon the Republican aspirations which had led them to war and eventual imprisonment. How in January 1922, they were taken in an act of barbaric retribution from their prison cells and executed, by the forces of the new Free State, the same forces who with fixed bayonets and rifle fire attacked mourners at this very grave side almost three years later; when eventually they saw fit to hand the bodies over for a decent Christian burial.
We assembled will never forget the ultimate sacrifice which was paid by our comrades who lie within in this plot, nor the sacrifice made by the thousands of other fallen patriots who have given their all, since the Republican struggle commenced in this country in 1798.
Today is our day for remembering all such brave men and women and we do so with a great pride and a continued determination that their deaths will not be in vain.
Republican Network for Unity have chosen to make Dundalk their annual national focus for commemorating our patriot dead, however we recognise that other similar commemorations are taking place across Ireland and further afield, today and over the course of the weekend. To all genuine Republicans gathered at similar events we extend comradely greetings and best wishes for the year ahead.
As always we take this opportunity to send our very best wishes and salutations to the incarcerated Republican prisoners, in Maghaberry, Portlaoise, Hydebank, Limerick and elsewhere recognising that many of them are prevented from paying tribute to Irelands fallen and indeed will face harsh punishment for trying to do so.
We pay particular tribute to our dear friend, RNU Ard Comhairle member, former H Block and current Maghaberry POW Tony Taylor, who stood here with us three years ago. We wish him the best and look forward to his return to Dundalk in the future.
In the past year we also lost our friend and comrade Oglach Seamus McKenna, at whose funeral we stood firm against the Free State forces who (just like their predecessors in this graveyard in 1924) tried but failed to prevent Republicans burying him with respect and dignity.
In the past year, Ireland also lost a stalwart of principled Republicanism, one time IRA leader Rurai O’Bradaigh.
His passing is felt by all Republicans and as with Seamus McKenna, we send our sympathy to his family, friends and comrades.
On a more positive note, since we last gathered here we have seen the return to Ireland of Michael Campbell from Lithuania, after years of living in unjustifiable imprisonment and squalor. We commend his bravery and celebrate his rightful return to Ireland.
We also (in this the centenary year of the Cumann na mBan movement) pay particular tribute to the unique and special role which women have played in the national struggle down through the generations, as active Volunteers in the field, within the prisons, as street activists, as mothers wives, partners and daughters; the women of Ireland who in their tens of thousands made up the back bone of the movement and without whom there would have been no Freedom struggle.
In the year since we last gathered here, RNU have stood by their promise to continue to build upon firm ground, the ideological basis upon which we as a collective of Republican activists committed ourselves to not giving up the Revolutionary position but instead revisiting and strengthening it. We believe and trust, that this position is in keeping with the aspirations of our patriot dead and vow to carry on our work in their name.
We long ago, recognised the blind alley, up which Irish Republicanism was being led by those who assured us that Britain could be confronted through a process of accommodation.
Those who espoused the abandonment of the Sovereignty principle, went on to espouse a process of perpetual accommodation with England, they continued to assure us throughout that Irish Republicanism could be best served by its own gradual destruction and destroy it they tried.
Not a fortnight ago we were treated to the nauseating spectacle of Irish citizens succumbing to the lure of British state banqueting, a long accepted Imperial method of killing off whatever self-respect was left within former opponents of England’s position.
Not sufficiently bedazzled by the fruits of coalition with Fine Gael; and in these times of abject poverty and renewed emigration at home; former Workers Party & Republican Clubs member Eamon Gilmore allowed himself to be paraded through the streets of London in a horse drawn carriage, flanked by the Royal Cavalry and accompanied by none other than Prince Charles, commander in chief of the Parachute regiment.
President of the pretend Republic, Michael D Higgins (a highly educated man) allowed himself to be used as a quaint ornament, testament to relinquished Irish aspirations of Independence, greeting the British head of state as if in normal times, yet fully aware that her government and forces still illegally stand in the way of his and our birth right, a free living nation with guaranteed sovereignty governed by the Republican principles of equality and social justice.
Most galling of all, the corrupt commander, Martin McGuinness, for whom so many gave up so much, appeared to the world dressed in the attire of the oppressor to dine with and toast the system which patriots went to their graves to resist, many spurred on by McGuinness’ own words, assurances and commands.
What must the families of our patriot dead feel when they view this spectacle? Indeed what must the families of all who died feel? Regardless of their role? Their apprehension and annoyance is fully justified, it is also shared by us.
However let us not spend any more time considering the antics of those who dined with the enemies of our freedom, let us celebrate the fact that we and others have kept the faith and like our fathers and theirs before them, have not only regrouped and gathered here, but have gathered with increasing confidence and vigour, willing and capable of reclaiming and rebuilding Revolutionary Republicanism, promising to practice its principles and realising its full potential.
We are living in challenging times, in which all who claim to uphold the values of principled Republicanism are called upon and are duty bound to bring fresh vigour and dynamics to the struggle, we in RNU have played our part in this process, not least through the promotion of our world-view documents and position papers ‘Standing outside the Pace Process’ and its sister document ‘Revolutionary Republicanism’.
No longer can we be accused of having no alternative to the failed Stormont process, as it bounces from crisis to crisis, leaving the Republican position more damaged with every blow.
We have an alternative; simply put we propose taking back Ireland; every inch of it; its national territory, its natural resources, means of production and decision making bodies, not for the benefits of a corrupt minority – as is the norm under the current system – but for the welfare and common good of all Irish citizens.
Furthermore, through our documents we have proposed a step by step process by which this vision can become so much more than a pipe dream, and can be made a reality; allowing our people to finally escape from the centuries old shackles of foreign occupation, shameful self-abandonment, emigration, poverty and neglect.
We encourage all those assembled to take the time to explore and learn from our twin documents which will empower them with the arguments and logic needed to take the message of principled Republicanism to where its needs to be, amongst the ranks of the Irish Working Class.
There have been and continue to be, calls for the unity of all parties and organisations who claim the principled Republican position.
Allow us to give our perspectives on such calls. There is undoubted merit in these appeals for unity, but be under no doubt; unity is only unity when adhering to the principles of mutual respect, equality of expression and acceptance of both the opinions and duties of all parties involved. Any initiative which attempts to bypass the need for mutual respect or autonomy, or replaces such values with coercion and subterfuge cannot be considered unity at all.
We have embraced again the founding Republican ideals of Liberty, Equality & Fraternity; and by consequence the unashamed ideals of Irish National Liberation & Socialism. Under our watch, Socialist principles will not be abused as a smokescreen with which some would abandon the urgent need to free our country, nor will it be the preserve of a pompous minority of intellectuals. It will be the straight forward principled position for those who demand a fair deal for the ordinary man and woman of this country, who currently and shamefully are forced to work for the privilege life styles of the gombeen men of Ireland or the foreign bankers backed by the plundering and heartless forces of Troika and the IMF.
We say clearly that the fight for equality and the fight for our countries freedom are one and the same, you cannot have one without the other. This position was enshrined within the spirit of the 1916 proclamation, it was the message of Connolly and Pearce, the subsequent spirit of the programme of the 1st Dail which so many within the IRA (including those buried here) gave their lives up attempting to defend.
We will not let these men, or the children of Ireland down by perusing any less for our country. Let us once again leave this place imbued with a renewed determination to take back Ireland, in the name of God, our dead generations and those who we came to honour today.