Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Oration at the gravside of Ruairí O Brádaigh

Oration by Des Dalton, President, Republican Sinn Féin at the grave of Patron Ruairí O Brádaigh, St Coman’s Cemetery, Roscommon, June 8 Speaking at the graveside of O’Donovan Rossa, Pearse restated the principles which had fired the soul and intellect of O’Donovan Rossa and restated the determination of his generation to take up the torch of freedom from Rossa and his generation: “I propose to you then that, here by the grave of this unrepentant Fenian, we renew our baptismal vows; that, here by the grave of this unconquered and unconquerable man, we ask of God, each one for himself, such unshakable purpose, such high and gallant courage, such unbreakable strength of soul as belonged to O’Donovan Rossa. Deliberately here we avow ourselves, as he avowed himself in the dock, Irishmen of one allegiance only. We of the Irish Volunteers, and you others who are associated with us in to-day’s task and duty, are bound together and must stand together henceforth in brotherly union for the achievement of the freedom of Ireland. And 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.” For Ruairí Ó Brádaigh there too was but one definition of Irish freedom. For him there was but one straight and true path leading to the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week. We come here to mourn the loss of Ruairí but we also come to celebrate his long and rich life. It was a life marked by unselfish devotion to the cause of Irish freedom. It was a life set apart by his sense of duty, honour and the intellectual rigour that he brought to the Republican Movement. Indeed often would Ruairí quote these lines from Louisa May Alcott, which are inscribed on the headstone of the tireless champion of Republican prisoners and the working class Charlotte Despard: “I slept, and dreamed that life was beauty; I woke, and found that life was duty.” Coupled with all of this was Ruairí’s deep humanity. He was a man whose empathy and compassion for the downtrodden and oppressed knew no boundaries of race or creed. In his biography of Ruairí, Professor Robert W. White of Indiana University, described Ruairí Ó Brádaigh’s life as: “…a window for understanding his generation of Irish Republicans and how they received the values of a previous generation and are transmitting those values to the next generation.” In his introduction to the same book, the journalist Ed Maloney described Ruairí as the “last, or one of the last Irish Republicans”. Whilst the tribute was well intentioned the case is quite different. It is because of the life’s work of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh that he is not the last Republican but has rather ensured the continuity of Irish Republicanism, passing on the torch to succeeding generations. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was a towering figure of Irish Republicanism in the latter half of the 20th Century. He came to embody the very essence of the Republican tradition, setting the very highest standards of commitment, duty, honour and loyalty to the cause of Irish freedom. Of a proud Republican heritage inherited from both his father Matt and his mother May, since 1950 he served at every level of the Republican Movement, and from 1956 took on the onerous responsibilities of national leadership with only a short intervals, up to the present day. Ruairí was a man of immense capability both as a politician and as a soldier. He holds the unique distinction of serving as President of Sinn Féin, Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army and from 1957 to 1961 as a TD, representing Longford/Westmeath. At critical junctures in the history of the Republican Movement, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, along with his close friend and comrade the late Dáithí Ó Conaill, manned the gap against the forces of reformism who sought to convert a revolutionary movement of national liberation into a mere constitutional political party, first in 1969/70 and once again in 1986. For Ruairí the essential principles of Irish freedom were clear and marked the political course to be followed. He dismissed any cult of the personality warning always of the inherent dangers of following merely the man or woman over the cause of Irish national independence. At a time when our sense of identity is being steadily eroded, when our people are discouraged from taking pride in their history or culture Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was a tireless champion of the Irish language viewing it as the cornerstone of our unique identity as a nation. Like Pádraig Mac Piarais he believed in an Ireland that was: ‘not only free but Gaelic as well; not only Gaelic but free as well’. Gael go smior ab ea Ruairí. Óna chuid ama i gColáiste Mel is i gConamara, d’éirigh leis an teanga a thabhairt leis go han-líofa. Ar feadh a shaoil sheas sé go daingean le cúis na Gaeilge agus d’fhéach chuige go raibh Gaeilge ag an gclann ar fad. Faraoir, le caoga bliain anuas d’aithin an meath a tháinig ar an teanga go háirithe an cúngú sna Gaeltachtaí is sa chóras oideachais. Tá an Ghaeilge i mbaol go mór mura dtugtar áit lárnach di in Éirinn. Mar atá faoi láthair níl áit do theangacha agus do chultúir ar nós na Gaeilge agus ár gcultúr Gaelach atá ag tachtadh ár muintire. Daoibhse atá in eagraíochtaí Gaeilge is gá daoibh an pictiúr mór seo, mar a deirtear, a aithint. Tá an Ghaeilge i mbaol, tá sí á ceil tar pháistí na tire, tá imeallú mór déanta uirthi. The Irish Language has always been dear to Ruairí’s heart. He spoke it on every possible occasion and he saw to it that his children were all immersed in it. Unfortunately during the last 50 years the Irish language has been marginalised, neglected and downgraded in every possible way. The people of the Gaeltacht have been bullied by the politically-powerful and by international consumerism. This bullying has undermined their way of life. The neglect in the Education system now means that Irish is being denied to and hidden from 100’s of 1000’s of Irish children. Who then is responsible for this obliteration of people’s languages and cultures worldwide, including our own Irish? There is no place for own heritage in this neo-liberal agenda, the EU won’t allow it, the two states, even the 26 counties’ Dept of Education, work against the Irish language. ‘Death by a 1000 cuts’ is the effective state policy on Irish whatever niceties may be uttered. To the Irish Language Organisations we say: Be very careful in your dealings with the Northern and Southern states. Stop cosying up to these false promises. They’re only trying to buy you off. 90% plus of the Irish people dearly love our language. They want it passed on propery to our children, they want it central to Irish life not neglected and marginalized. The Irish people need leadership, the Irish language agencies need to give sustained, determined leadership and we as Irish Republicans need to centrally retain our commitment to the Irish language and culture at all times. As an Irish Republican he believed passionately in Theobald Wolfe Tone’s vision of substituting the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter with the common name of Irish man and Irish woman. He played a leading role in formulating the Éire Nua proposals for a Four Province Federal Ireland, which was based on the principles of true decentralisation of decision making with full particatpory democracy involving all sections of the Irish people as trust founders of a New Ireland. Such a democratic template would provide the Unionist minority with a New Ireland with real political power and decision-making. He was among the Republican leaders who met representatives of loyalism and unionism as Feakle, Co Clare in 1974 and later strongly supported the MacBride/Boal talks, which were eventually sabotaged by a 26-County Government Minister. Such was Ruairí’s commitment to the principles of a non-sectarian and pluralist Ireland that he and Dáithí Ó Conaill stepped down from the positions of President and Vice President respectively of Sinn Féin when Éire Nua was dropped as a policy document to further the narrow political agenda of a reformist clique operating within the Republican Movement in the early 1980s. For Ruairí Ó Brádaigh there could be no temporising on the issue of British Rule in Ireland. Drawing on the lessons of Irish history he recognised that it constituted the root cause of conflict and injustice for the Irish people. In opposing the 1998 Stormont Agreement he rightly viewed it as a flawed document serving only to copper-fasten British Rule while also institutionalising sectarianism, thereby further deepening the sectarian divide. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh’s analysis has since been bourne out by a number of independent studies which have shown an increase in sectarianism in the Six Counties in the years since 1998. The economically and politically oppressed and partitioned Ireland of today is far removed from the vision of a New Ireland, which inspired Irish Republicans such as Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. Standing by Ruairí’s graveside we can only truly honour him by turning our eyes to the future, by pledging ourselves to once more take up the fight for a New Ireland. Today our country is being assailed by the twin imperialisms of British military and political occupation and the economic and social oppression of the EU/ECB and IMF. These represent the old and new imperialisms, representing a threat to the very existence of the historic Irish Nation. In the Six Counties political repression remains the norm and the very fact that there remain political prisoners in Maghaberry, the internment without trial of veteran Republican Martin Corey and until recently of Marian Price, the presence of an armed Colonial police force using the same methods of repression, drawing on the same draconian laws to enforce the writ of the British Government all point to the abnormality of the Six County State. British Rule in Ireland will never be wither normal or acceptable and the lesson of Irish history remains as Ruairí continually pointed out: as along as there is a British military and political presence in Ireland there will always be a section of the Irish people determined to resist it. In the 26-County State our people are being robbed of the very markers of a civilised society, the ability to care for our sick and old, to educate our young and to provide for those on the economic margins of society. All of this is being imposed on our people in order to prop up the undemocratic EU superstate and its baking system. The Irish people it seems are merely fodder to be sacrificed on the high alter of EU finance capitalism. But not only are our people plundered financially but also culturally. It seems that the denizens of Leinster House, Stormont, Westminster and Brussels are intent on robbing us of our identity as a separate people and nation. Writing recently in the Sunday Business Post, Tom McGurk wrote that because the Irish people are being thought that it is wrong to take pride in our history, of resistance, our distinct culture and identity, today they are being denied the very tools of a strong sense of national identity required to stand up to EU Troika in contrast to people’s across Europe who have heroically defended themselves and their societies from the grip of the financial and banking elites. With 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.” The Irish nation is not bound by the artificial borders of the two partition states, 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.” In the early 1890s the Irish Revolution began in earnest, speaking in 1892 the founder of Conradh na Gaelige Dubhghlas de Híde spoke of the need to reverse the process of anglicising Ireland: “When we speak of 'The Necessity for De-Anglicising the Irish Nation', we mean it, not as a protest against imitating what is best in the English people, for that would be absurd, but rather to show the folly of neglecting what is Irish, and hastening to adopt, pell-mell, and indiscriminately, everything that is English, simply because it is English.” He went to set out why we as a people needed to reconnect with our own distinct cultural identity if we were to prosper: “I would earnestly appeal to every one, whether Unionist or Nationalist, who wishes to see the Irish nation produce its best -- surely whatever our politics are we all wish that -- to set his face against this constant running to England for our books, literature, music, games, fashions, and ideas. I appeal to every one whatever his politics -- for this is no political matter -- to do his best to help the Irish race to develop in future upon Irish lines, even at the risk of encouraging national aspirations, because upon Irish lines alone can the Irish race once more become what it was of yore -- one of the most original, artistic, literary, and charming peoples of Europe.” As the centenary of the 1916 Rising draws near we have the opportunity once again to awaken the national consciousness to our possibilities as a people and the high ideals which have in the past inspired us to greater things and a vision of a New and better Ireland. 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. This would be and remains the abiding message of Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. In carrying on the work to which Ruairí dedicated his adult life we must bring to it the same high standards, the same commitment to truth and honour which guided him. 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. 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.” As we turn from this place we remember with pride our fallen chieftain, our Fenian Chief (as Desmond Ryan described James Stephens) I think it is appropriate to conclude with some words penned by John Fisher Murray To the Memory of Thomas Davis: “A spark of his celestial fire, The God of freemen struck from thee; Made thee to spurn each low desire, Nor bend the uncompromising knee; Made thee to vow thy live to rive with ceaseless tug, th’ oppressor’s chain with lyre, with pen, with pen, with sword, to strive for thy dear land – nor strive in vain. How hapless is our country’s fate – If heaven in pity to us send, Like thee, one glorious, good and great – to guide, instruct us, and amend: How soon thy honoured life is o’er – Soon Heaven demandeth thee again; We grope on darkling as before, And fear lest thou hast died in vain. In vain – no never! O’er thy grave, Thy spirit dwelleth in the air; Thy passionate love, thy prupose brave, Thy hope assured, thy promise fair. Generous and wise, farerwell! – Forego tears for the glorious dead and gone; His tears if his, still flow for slaves and cowards living on. To Patsy, Mait, Ruairí Óg, Conor, Deirdre, Ethne and Colm,his grandchildren and great-grandchild we extend our deepest sympathies and our gratitute to you and the extended Ó Brádaigh family for the life of Ruairí and his unparalled contribution to the cause of a free Ireland. Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam dílis. http://www.rsf-kildare.ie/

Bodenstown Oration

Speaking at the annual Theobald Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown Co Kildare on Sunday June 16 the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton said: “We have come to the holiest place in Ireland; holier to us even than the place where Patrick sleeps in Down. Patrick brought us life, but this man died for us. And though many before him and some since have died in testimony of the truth of Ireland’s claim to nationhood, Wolfe Tone was the greatest of all that have made that testimony, the greatest of all that have died for Ireland whether in old time or in new. He was the greatest of Irish Nationalists; I believe he was the greatest of Irishmen. And if I am right in this I am right in saying that we stand in the holiest place in Ireland, for it must be that holiest sod of a nation’s soil is the sod where the greatest of her dead lies buried.” Thus spoke Pearse in 1913, one hundred years later those words still hold true. As Irish Republicans we come here each year to reaffirm our commitment to the ideals passed down to us by Tone and the Society of United Irishmen. Standing here on this sacred soil we come into communion with the spirit of Tone and renew our Republican vow first taken by Tone and his comrades on Belfast’s Cavehill in 1795: “Never to desist in our efforts until we have subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted her independence.” This was the programme of Tone and it remains the programme of the Republican Movement today. We are proud of our continuity of ideology and organisation with the United Irishmen, just as veterans of the United Irishmen endorsed and supported the Young Irelanders in the 1840s, today’s movement represents a meeting of the generations in common struggle. The historian C. Desmond Greaves described the reorganisation of the United Irishmen in 1795, transforming itself into a fully revolutionary movement as a: “…turning point in Irish history. For the first time the Irish nation was exclusively identified with Irish democracy”. Today the Republican Movement continues to champion and lead the fight for true All-Ireland democracy in defiance of the forces of reaction led by Westminster, Stormont and Leinster House. The political and economic conditions experienced by the Irish people today are a gross betrayal of the high ideals and vision for a new Ireland articulated by Republicanism from Tone and Emmet right up to today. Last week we laid to rest our Patron and former President Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. Throughout his life he was a gifted and tireless worker for such an Ireland, an Ireland worthy of the sacrifice given to achieve it and one that lived up the high idealism of the historic Republican Movement. The actions of the 26-County police evoked memories of the funeral of Frank Stagg and if anything were a testament to power of a revolutionary idea over the seeming might of a corrupt and failed state. In life they feared Ó Brádaigh and the cause which he served and articulated with great skill, conviction and courage and in death they showed that the power of the ideals and ideas he espoused lived on with the same potency as before. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was one who lived fully according to the template of Republicanism set out by the United Irishmen. For him sectarianism was a weapon in the arsenal of the British State and one that must be countered as forcefully as any political or military threat posed by that same state. Along with his friend and comrade Dáithí Ó Conaill and other Republicans, he devised ÉIRE NUA as a means of making a reality of Tone’s dream of substituting the common name of Irish man and Irish woman for the denominations of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter. The central thrust of ÉIRE NUA is the maximum devolution of power from national to provincial, regional, right down to local or community level. The Provincial Parliaments will be elected by the people of each province according to a system of proportional representation. Unionists and Nationalists within a nine-county Ulster would have a real and meaningful input and control over the political, social, economic and cultural life of their province, regions and communities. Unlike the institutions set up under the Stormont and St Andrew’s Agreements, the governmental structures set out in ÉIRE NUA, would be accountable only to the people who elected them. Under ÉIRE NUA the sovereignty of the Irish people is paramount. As an alternative ÉIRE NUA offers a framework within which all sections of the Irish people are the decision-makers on the vital issues for their communities, their regions and their nation. The people of Ulster within a free and Federal Ireland will make decisions affecting the people of a nine-county Ulster – they will not be dependent on the whim of a foreign parliament or government. Speaking in University College Cork in January 2008, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said: “We do not want to back the Unionists on to a cliff-edge politically where they will oppose us all the more. Neither do we seek to have them as a permanent and disgruntled political minority in one corner of Ireland. “During the 1970s, soundings were taken with every shade of unionism to obtain reactions. The result in all cases was similar; first choice was an independent Six Counties. We did not think that would be viable. All said, in that case they would opt for our ‘four provinces idea’ as the ‘most generous on offer’. “Apart from providing a solution to the Ulster situation, these proposals would bring power nearer to the people and help to correct east-west economic imbalance nationally. Republicans submit that such structures will be necessary to ensure justice for all, including the 18% of the national population who have supported the unionist position.” Tone had realised from the beginning that an effective union of the all the people of Ireland would be necessary to affect a revolution. As James Connolly pointed out in Labour in Irish History what was required to bring about such a union of hearts and minds was: “The activity of a revolutionist with statesmanship enough to find a common point upon which the two elements could unite, and some great event, dramatic enough in its character, to arrest the attention of all and fire them with a common feeling.” The figure with the qualities set out by Connolly was Tone and the event capable of firing the people with a revolutionary fervour was the French Revolution. ÉIRE NUA also proposes a new All –Ireland constitution which would be put to the people of Ireland for adoption and which would include a Charter of Rights. A draft Charter of Rights contained within ÉIRE NUA enshrines such fundamental rights as freedom of conscience, religion, ethical or political beliefs; freedom of expression and communication, the right to education, to join a trade union, the right to access adequate housing, food and medical care. It is also proposed that the European Convention on Human Rights be made part of the internal domestic law of the New Ireland. In fighting back against the new imperialism of the finance capitalists of the EU superstate we carry an alternative social and economic programme SAOL NUA. Our social and economic programme SAOL NUA – A New Way of Life - represents a vision of Ireland based on Republican, Socialist, and Self-reliance and Ecological principles; it identifies the obstacles to be overcome and the goals to be reached if we are to build an All-Ireland Federal Democratic Socialist Republic SAOL NUA is based on the principle that “…every person is entitled to have his or her inherent human dignity respected and every citizen should be able to enjoy freedom from poverty or insecurity and to have access to a fair and adequate share of the nation's wealth. All citizens should be equal before the law and all have the duty and the right to contribute by work to their own welfare and the welfare of society.” It identifies the essential elements of Democratic Socialism which are required in building the New Ireland; banking and all key industries must be brought under democratic or social control and the further development of community banking such as Credit Unions. Social control of capital is essential to ensure capital serves people rather than people being the slaves of capital. By doing so you ensure balanced development and equitable distribution of wealth. Money must be regarded, not as a commodity, but as an accounting system in which all participate. We must have new indicators of what constitutes economic success to replace the discredited indices of GNP and GDP. They merely record economic activity in terms of transaction and movement of money, commodities etc. They take no account of the voluntary sector, those who work in the home etc -- all of who make a valuable contribution to the local and domestic economy. Quality of Life is a far more valid index of human development and progress, the recording of adult and infant mortality, literacy, access to health services, nutrition etc. The UN Human Development Report mission statement is clear on what distinguishes meaningful human development: “The goal is human freedom. And in pursuing capabilities and realising rights, this freedom is vital. People must be free to exercise their choices and to participate in decision-making that affects their lives.” ÉIRE NUA and SAOL NUA give us a blueprint for the future built on the sure foundation of true All-Ireland political and economic democracy. A New Ireland fashioned from the ideals of the 1916 Proclamation and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil. As Liam Mellows reminded us we are back to Tone: “Our freedom must be had at all hazards. If the men of property will not help us they must fall; we will free ourselves by the aid of that large and respectable class of the community – the men of no property.” We have set out here what distguinishes Irish Republicanism from those who collaborate in the interests of British or EU imperialism against the Irish people. Because of this Irish Republicanism has throughout its history faced the full brunt of British and later Free State repression. But all of their gallows, firing squads, jails and internment camps could not and never will quench the flame of true revolutionary Irish Republicanism. However the forces of the State have introduced a new a more insidious threat to Republicanism, one if unchallenged threatens to drive a wedge between Republicanism and the people of Ireland. Even those who would declare themselves as opponents of the revolutionary Republican tradition have admitted to a grudging respect for the idealism and integrity that underpins it. Writing in the Irish Times on September 14 John Waters, whilst dismissing the organisations to which Bobby Sands and Patsy O’Hara belonged to in withering terms he still acknowledged: “there was something noble and redemptive”. Over the past number of years we have seen a plethora of groups emerge, a number of which have taken on the name of the historic Irish Republican Army. The emergence of groupings styling themselves as ‘Republican’ who in reality are merely using that noble title to mask their real purpose of extortion and racketeering. In some cases such groupings masquerade as anti-drugs activists, posing as ‘champions of the community’. These pseudo-Republican groups seek to control their communities through fear. Posing as revolutionaries but merely hiding the grim reality that the only war they wage is not one of national liberation but instead a war on the youth of their own communities. The forcing of a parent to present their son for a punishment shooting as happened in Derry is medieval and far removed from any ideal of progressive Republicanism. The drugs’ gangs who peddle their wares in communities throughout Ireland and across all classes are enemies of the Irish people. The community and political activists who oppose them deserve our full and active support. However 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. The activities of these pseudo-Republican gangs have the potential to eat away like a cancer at the very heart of Irish Republicanism, leaving in their wake an empty husk with neither relevance nor credibility. Such groups have descended into a bloody feud with criminal gangs in a wasteful and futile exercise, which has already resulted in much needless death. Sadly the feuds and deaths which they have led to do not contribute in any way to the historic fight for Irish freedom. 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. It is not enough to claim those title deeds without acting on them. To do so we in Republican Sinn Féin must ensure that a clear distinction can be made between what represents true Republicanism and those who instead provide a perverse and twisted parody of it. We must look first to ourselves if we are serious about building a credible and effective opposition to the political and economic enslavement of the Irish people. There are those who believe that there is a short cut to this by creating a false unity, a so-called unity based on ignoring fundamental principle. To do so is to build on sand and any movement built on such a foundation contains within it the seeds of its own fragmentation and division. We must instead concentrate our energies and focus our attention on building the Republican Movement into what Dáithí Ó Conaill described as its historic role: “It was the catalyst for the for the progressive forces of this country and abroad who desired the establishment of a sovereign democratic socialist Republic.” We must have confidence in ourselves and our own Movement and not relying on other groups or organisations who may on the surface provide a certain glamour and gloss but who lack the necessary ideological depth and commitment to the task of achieving our ultimate goal, the complete ending of British occupation and the re-establishment of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week. It is our duty to take up the torch of freedom and carry it forward; each person has a key role to play and must be willing to play it if we are serious about completing our noble task. The political analysis provided by Republican Sinn Féin of the political trajectory of the current process of embedding British rule in Ireland has proven to be accurate. The very fact that the British Government and their surrogates in Stormont still rely the draconian laws, secret evidence and internment to protect their undemocratic statelet points to the abnormality of British rule and partition. The continued interment without trial of Martin Corey – justified by the British State on the basis of secret evidence – the continued attempt to criminalise Republican POWs – the repressive deployment of an armed colonial police force all illustrate for those who wish to see that the nature and reality of British occupation has not changed. Our analysis is sound because it is based on the lessons of Irish history. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are not to be found within the portals of Leinster House, Stormont or Westminster; they are to be found only by a revolutionary awakening of the Irish people to their own strengths and possibilities as a people and nation. Wolfe Tone was clear about this in his own day, he too rejected the puppet parliament of College Green, he recognised it as merely an agent of the English Government, an institution anchored in greed and corruption. In words which are applicable to both partitionist states today he wrote of the Dublin Parliament in scathing terms: “The revolution of 1782 was a Revolution which enabled Irishmen to sell at a much higher price their honour, their integrity and the interests of their country; it was a revolution which, while at one stroke it doubled the value of every borough-monger in the kingdom, left three-fourths of our countrymen slaves as it found them, and the government of Ireland in the base and wicked and contemptible hands of those who had spent their lives in degrading and plundering her . . . The power remained in the hands of our enemies, again to be exerted for our ruin, with this difference, that formerly we had our distress, our injuries, and our insults gratis at the hands of England, but now we pay very dearly to receive the same with aggravation, through the hands of Irishmen.” The French Revolution armed the Society of United Irishmen with the ideological tools to formulate a democratic programme for a free and independent Irish Republic. Drawing on that rich tradition Irish Republicanism has remained truly international in character. Irish Republicans are not bound by the narrow vision of reaction and reformism but by the wide and embracing ideals of progress and the revolutionary possibility of all peoples. Our cause is the cause of humanity and in the words of the Proclamation of 1916: “…we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine.” As we turn from this honoured place we should consider again the words of Theobald Wolfe Tone: “To break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils, and to assert the independence of my country, these were my objects. To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of past dissensions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter, these were my means.” As Pearse puts it, here we have “implicit all the philosophy of Irish Nationalism”, the very definition of Ireland a nation. I leave you with the words of Pearse spoken here one hundred years ago: “To that definition and to that programme we declare our adhesion anew; pledging ourselves as Tone pledged himself – and in this sacred place, by this graveside, let us not pledge ourselves to follow in the steps of Tone, never to rest, either by day or by night, until his work be accomplished, deeming it the proudest of all privileges to fight for freedom, to fight, not in despondency, but in great joy, hoping for the victory in our day, but fighting on whether victory seem near or far, never lowering our ideal, never bartering one jot or tittle of our birthright, holding faith to the memory and the inspiration of Tone, and accounting ourselves base as long as we endure the evil thing against which he testified with his blood.” An Phoblacht Abú.