Cill Dara Shinn Féin Poblachtach

We must never lose sight of the high idealism of 1916

Speaking in Derry and Drumboe, Co Donegal on Easter Sunday, March 31 the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton said:

Every year Irish Republican gather at monuments and graves throughout Ireland and around the world both to commemorate the heroic deeds of the past but also to rededicate themselves to the essential work of the present which is to bring to victory the cause for which that generation like those before and since: “weighed so little what they gave” in the words of Yeats. The 1916 Rising gave us our charter of freedom and it serves the cornerstone of everything that we do as Irish Republicans. To regard 1916 as merely an historical event would be to do a disservice to all that sacrifice. We can only properly honour the memory of those who have gone before by recognising that their cause and ideals remain for us to realise.

In commemorating 1916 we also remember the men and women who made the supreme sacrifice throughout the preceding and succeeding generations. Ninety years ago at Drumboe four more names were inscribed on Ireland’s Roll of Honour. Charlie Daly, Tim O’Sullivan and Dan Enright came to join the fight with their comrades in Ulster and along with Sean Larkin of Derry died in defence of the full freedom of Ireland. Daly, Larkin, O’Sullivan and Enright were in the words of Peadar O’Donnell among that brave band of men and women who: “milled the stampede of 1922.” These men and women fought to preserve the All-Ireland Republic from the forces of reaction, forces who sought to undo the work of the ‘Four Glorious Years’ when the All-Ireland Republic became a functioning reality. The Counter-Revolution of 1922-23 was a war between the forces of All-Ireland democracy and those who were willing tools of British imperialism; the present failed partitionist system is its legacy.

Drumboe, Ballyseedy, Countess Bridge and other sites throughout Ireland are names, which ring with infamy. The dark deeds carried out in these places should serve as a salutary lesson to those who think it possible to temporise or compromise on the principle of Irish freedom and the depths to which those who collaborate with British rule can sink. Brian Ó hUiginn writes: “The lesson of 1922, of all the years before it and all the years since is that when you seek help from an enemy invader against your own, you become his contemptible slave. He will degrade you and drive you to do deeds that your people will remember with shame for all the years to be.” It is a lesson that should be noted by those who today sit comfortably in Stormont and Leinster House.

As we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rising a battle has commenced for the hearts and minds of the Irish people. The legacy as well as the essential message of 1916 is at stake for this and future generations. The resources of both partitionist states are being employed in order to sanitise our history to the point that it has been robbed of any meaning. Equivalence is being made between the forces of occupation and the independence movement that no self-respecting nation would contemplate. Does France commemorate the Vichy policemen or Norway its Quislings who collaborated with German occupation forces? The 1916 Rising for Irish Republicans is not only an important moment in our history but a beacon to light our way forward. It is an event that not only continues to occupy a central place in our history but also remains relevant due to the simple fact that it remains unfinished business. The 1916 Proclamation sets out clearly the principles upon which the All-Ireland Republic should rest. It takes no great examination to see that both the Six and 26-County states fall far short of the definition of freedom and democracy set by the men and women of 1916. We would do well to remember the words of Pearse: “We know only one definition of freedom: it is Tone’s definition, it is Mitchel’s definition, it is Rossa’s definition. Let no man blaspheme the cause that the dead generations of Ireland served by giving it any other name and definition than their name and their definition.” If 1916 and all that it represents was of no relevance to the Ireland of today the 26-County Administration, the British Government and its surrogates in Stormont could quite happily ignore it. Instead they are attempting to erase from the public mind any notion of Ireland as a nation by hijacking our history, robbing this and future generations of their identity, even the name Ireland has now been replaced in the official lexicon by the meaningless term “the island” in a blatant attempt to deny the essential unity of the Irish Nation. Instead loyalty to the state is expected to replace the natural sense of allegiance and identification people feel towards their nation.  The philosopher Dr Mathew O’Donnell writes that nations rather than states, which are simply units of political organisation, bring people together: “For people are not brought together by a state; the state is the subsequent organisation of people who already posses some kind of unity…It is with the nation that one’s loyalty lies. There is no disowning it, no alternative to it. There should be a feeling for the nation, for it is one’s own people. This is the origin for the effective element in patriotism.” Dr O’Donnell warns of the dangers of substituting state for nation: “ An unduly emotional attachment to the state – the organising coercing element – will surely lead to totalitarianism, expansionism, militarism. And an unduly detached critical attitude to the nation could lead to an exaggerated cosmopolitanism, rootlessness, and in the long run, a general impoverishment of the spirit through the loss of the sense of belonging. If humanity is reduced to pure individuality it is a poor and stunted thing.”  

Like Thomas Davis we believe: “This country of ours is no sand bank, thrown up by some recent caprice of earth. It is an ancient land, honoured in the archives of civilisation.” We must never lose sight of the high idealism of 1916 because it will always speak to us of a New and better Ireland and with it the possibility of revolutionary social, political and economic change.

Today we see all too clearly the evidence of the failure of both paritionist states. In the 26 Counties once more our young people are being exported while the political and economic elites wage a war of attrition and economic terrorism on the people of the country. The language used by 26-County County ministers resonates of a Victorian morality speaking almost in terms of a “deserving and undeserving poor.’ They are collaborating with the new imperialists of the EU/ECB and IMF Troika in the their attempt to economically enslave the people of the 26 Counties. In the Six Counties the evidence of the old imperialism of British Rule is all too evident for those who wish to see. Despite the protestations of the Stormont regime and its apologists in the media the internment without trial of Martin Corey and the continued imprisonment of Marian Price expose the Six-County State as an undemocratic and abnormal political entity. In July last year the then British Secretary of State Owen Paterson was willing to subvert his state’s own judicial process in order to keep Martin Corey in jail. Forty-one years after the introduction of internment in the Six Counties it is once more being employed as a means of silencing Irish Republicans. What has happened to Martin Corey constitutes not only an attack on Martin’s human and civil rights but are an attack on the human and civil rights of all people within the Six Counties. The ongoing struggle by Republican POWs in Maghaberry prison are yet another indicator of the abnormality of the Six-County State. We extend them our greetings and pledge them our continued solidarity. On top of this while the Provos mouth emply words of protest about the effects of austerity in the 26 Counties they along with the DUP willingly implement cuts in health, education and other esetnial services across the Six Counties.

The past number of months has underlined the abnormality of the Six-County state and its inherent sectarianism. On December 3 Belfast City Council voted to end the daily flying of the ‘Union Jack’ flag over Belfast City Hall. Instead a coalition comprising of the Provisionals, the SDLP and the Alliance voted to fly the ‘Union Jack’ on 17 designated days. This unleashed an orgy of loyalist rioting and protests across the Six Counties but particularly focussed on East Belfast. In contrast to the heavy handed treatment meted out by the RUC/PSNI to Republicans and nationalists who have engaged in peaceful protests the loyalists riots were met with only token opposition from the RUC/PSNI. Indeed Republicans attending the annual Bloody Sunday commemorative march in Derry on January 27 witnessed the RUC/PSNI helping loyalists to erect loyalists flags in the city. Compare this with the Republicans who have been jailed for simply participating in a peaceful protest march highlighting the ongoing internment of Martin Corey. On the top of this comes the call from the Provisionals for a ‘Border Poll’ on Irish unity. It is important that all of this is viewed in context in order to understand what is going on here. With the securing of British rule the big constitutional questions have been removed from the political agenda and in their place instead we find the tribal and sectarian games of one-upmanship of the two sectarian power blocs at Stormont led by the Provos and the DUP. In his Irish News column on December 15 Patrick Murphy described Stormont as: “…a sectarian carve-up of limited autonomy…It is designed to cater for, rather than counter, sectarian differences.” The Provisionals are quite happy to tout the vote in Belfast City Council as a victory, but over whom? British Rule is firmly entrenched administered and policed by the Provos and their camp followers, internment with-out trial and the attempted criminalisation of Republican prisoners goes on, political policing and repression is the daily experience of nationalist communities across the Six Counties, little wonder then the Provos would attempt to reduce the issue of Irish freedom to a question of flags and symbols. By doing so they hope to distract from their abandonment of even a basic nationalist, let alone, a Republican position. In 2009 Vincent Browne in his nightly TV3 programme put it clearly. He said in effect that the nationalist view had been rejected and the unionist position had been accepted. The nationalist standpoint was that the people of Ireland as a whole should determine the future of Ireland. He continued: “The Unionist position was that the majority in the Six Counties should decide the future. We have all become unionists.” Having abandoned Republicanism the Provos have embraced sectarianism as the means to consolidate their power base. As Patrick Murphy points out: “With few modern writers, philosophers or even poets saying much about the Irish nation, nationalism in the north has degenerated into what we might call quantitative sectarianism. It uses a sectarian inch tape to quantify the frequency of flag flying, the number of Catholics in the census results and the volume of music from Orange bands. Unionism is delighted to hold the other end of the British-made tape.” It is working class Protestants now who are the enemy not the British Government as establishment Provo leaders queue up to shake hands with the Queen of England while at the same time stoking the flames of sectarian conflict. The nationalist community within the Six Counties have rightly not allowed themselves to be sucked into the naked sectarian violence despite blatant attempts to provoke a response with attacks on nationalist areas. Republican Sinn Féin correctly refused to rise to the bate of Unionist stooge Willie Frazer when a loyalist protest at Leinster House was mooted. Instead leadership is required in keeping the focus on the core issue, which is partition and British rule in Ireland. The Provo’s sectarian alter ego in the DUP likewise is playing the sectarian card in order to bolster and increase their power.

In January the Provos called for a ‘Border Poll’, again more of the smoke and mirrors designed to give their supporters the illusion of actually doing something to end partition while masking the reality that they have been absorbed wholesale into the machinery of British rule. By rejecting the very notion of an historic Irish nation and swallowing the idea that British generated sectarianism is a conflict between two nationalities the Provos have undermined any effective argument for Irish unity, reducing their case to one of pure economics. In the late 1940s having lost power after 16 years Fianna Fáil latched onto the issue of partition using the Anti-Partition League as a vehicle to consolidate their base and rebuild support. The waving of the green flag and the platitudes about the ‘fourth green field’ were their electoral stock-in-trade. Now the Provos are playing a similar game. As Patrick Murphy puts it: “…the proposed border poll is cleaver electioneering for more important polls north and south.” For true Republicans the attempts by the Provos to besmirch Republicanism with sectarianism is as reprehensible as those who would try to link it with criminality.

Another and serious threat to Republicanism is that posed by the gangs operating under the banner of Republicanism who are engaging in activities which sully the proud and honoured name of Irish Republicanism. Elements within the media are more than happy to promote these groupings as representative of the Republican tradition hoping that in the process they will discredit and delegitimise Republicanism in the eyes of the Irish people. the pseudo-Republican groupings that take money from the drug dealers are no less parasitical than the drug dealers themselves. In many ways they are worse in that they leech from the communities they purport to defend – in effect they are drug dealers by proxy with the added insult of sullying the noble name of Republicanism in doing so. These pseudo- gangs masquerading as Republicans have nothing to contribute to the struggle for a free Ireland and should disband now.

The duty to halt this slide lies with those who claim the title deeds of Republicanism.  We have a bounden duty to hold out against this hijacking of the Republican ideal; we must lead by example in ensuring that authentic Irish Republicanism continues to live in the hearts of the Irish people. Republican Sinn Féin must maintain its organisational integrity and thereby ensure that we provide a focal point for those seeking a true and credible Republican alternative.

On June 14 and 15 Republican Sinn Féin will be holding an Anti-Imperialist Forum in Belfast as an Irish Republican Alternative to the G8 summit taking place in Co Fermanagh. The forum will be a platform for discussion and debate for anti-imperialist activists from Ireland and abroad to discuss alternatives to the imperialist world order as represented by the G8 group of states. Delegates from abroad will provide an international perspective and allow Ireland’s struggle against the twin imperialisms to be viewed in its international context. We are calling on those interested in contributing to the debate on a New Ireland to join us in Belfast and begin the process of building a network of solidarity among all peoples around the world striving a new and better world. Culminating with the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration in Bodenstown on June 16 it will be truly a weekend suffused with the spirit of anti-imperialism.

One has only to look back at the course of Irish history to learn that as long as Britain continues to deny Ireland and her people their right unfettered nationhood that denial will be met with resistance. This response to British Rule has proven to be an iron law of Irish history, denying its reality will not make it go away. We believe that only by fully engaging with the root cause of conflict, which is partition and continued British occupation, can there be any prospect of a just and lasting settlement. A public declaration of intent by the British Government to withdraw militarily and politically from Ireland will create the space necessary to build a New Ireland for all sections of the Irish people, Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter. We believe that Éire Nua coupled with our social and economic programme Saol Nua contains the basis for a truly pluralist 32-County Federal Democratic Socialist Republic. We resolutely and unapologetically take our stand on the Proclamation of 1916: We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people.” Our proposals contained in Towards A Peaceful Ireland provides for the election of a 32-County Constituent Assembly to draft an All-Ireland Constitution, providing the mechanism by which the process of creating a New Ireland can begin.

We turn from here determined to continue on the long straight path to a Free Ireland. History teaches us that there are no short cuts on that road and only by achieving the goal of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week can we fully realise our full potential as a free people, taking our place rightfully among the nations of the earth.

We must ensure as a political movment that we are worthy of the task entrusted to us and should note well the words of Brian Ó hUiginn: “Keep close to them on the road they walked without flinching, the road whose signposts, as Liam Mellows said, are unmistakable, the road of truth and honour and earnestness and courage, the road of no wavering, of no compromise with wrong, of no surrender – the only road that leads to the freedom and happiness of the indivisible Republic of Ireland.”

1 Comentário:

Alina hat gesagt…

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