IRSM EASTER COMMEMORATION 2001
Danielle Ni Dhighe
nidhighe at SPAMirsm.org
Mon Apr 16 15:54:47 MDT 2001
EASTER COMMEMORATION 2001
EASTER MESSAGE ORATION OF THE REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST MOVEMENT
Republican Socialists, Comrades and Friends
It is indeed an honour and privilege to stand on this spot and deliver the
oration for the socialist republican movement.
Today is the 85th anniversary of the Easter Revolution. We are also in the
20th year from the 1981 hunger strike in which 10 brave men including my
own father died.
In the after math of the Revolution that lead to the establishment of the
Free State the role of the Irish Citizen Army was airbrushed out of
history. Socialism was told to wait and the Citizen Army were changed into
the Irish Volunteers. For years the roles of James Connolly and Citizen
Army were ignored whilst the fat cats of the bourgeois republic bathed in
the reflected glory of the revolutionaries of 1916.
Today we see the same insidious attempts to airbrush the role of the INLA
hunger strikers from history. Patsy O'Hara, Kevin Lynch and Mickey Devine
died on hunger strike for the recognition of Republican Prisoners as
political prisoners. They were INLA Republican Socialists. They saw them
selves as one with IRA volunteers in being political prisoners. They were
committed to the establishment of an Irish Socialist Republic and are
direct inheritors of the tradition of James Connolly that giant of Irish
There are those who would deny these men their role and activity. There are
those who try to airbrush the INLA from recent history.
There are those who deny that there are still political prisoners in
Ireland today. These fools deny even their own political history and activity.
Experience has shown those who become the falsifiers of history will one
day be consigned to the dustbin of history.
We as a movement are committed to the liberation of the Working Class in
Ireland. That is why we oppose the Good Friday Agreement. The current peace
process is fatally flawed, and will not produce a final settlement. The
GFA does not contain a vision to inspire nor steps to deliver peace. It
will not produce a political solution. Those who wedded to the Good Friday
Agreement will remain wedded to the divisive, sectarian politics of the
past The GFA is a failed, flawed and finished document.
It has led to increases in sectarianism as the working classes are
pressured into identifying with the two sectarian blocs and Partition been
That is no victory, nor indeed honourable draw. Unless and until the six
county state is either totally abolished or totally transformed,
sectarianism will dominate politics here.
The cross border institutions have been sidelined by Trimble`s barring of
Sinn Fein from participation. Running to the courts will not change the
nature of unionism. Therefore we believe no republican should play a part
in the maintenance of a sectarian Government.
Political prisoners are released on licence by a British administration
discrimination is directed against those prisoners who refuse the accept
the agreement. We call on the Government of Bertie Ahearn to immediately
release Dessie O'Hare. Those Republican prisoners still incarcerated as a
result of the conflict arising from the British claim to sovereignty should
at all times be treated as what they are, prisoners of war and given that
The IRSP will support the right, no matter to what republican group
prisoners belong, to political status. We believe all Republicans should
stand together on this issue We call on all Republicans and all socialists
to continue to campaign for political status for Republicans.
To Sinn Fein we say join the white line pickets. It's what Bobby Sands and
the nine other republicans died for. This issue has not gone away.
We who have in the past been marginalised and despised by other republicans
will have no hand or part in efforts to demonise any section of the
republican tradition. That is why we support the Spirit of the Lark group
and deplore efforts to stifle dissident views. No republican should raise
gun boot or fist against another Republican. Let us use conflict resolution
techniques among republicans.
If Irish republicanism has played a progressive role in Irish society it is
because of its ability to renew itself in each generation and become
relevant to the lives of the people from which itself had sprung.
We must see beyond the narrow interests of the GFA and see the long-term
vision. Only when the working class takes power, as a class, will the
Socialist Republic be established.
Our socialism will be a socialism of comradeship, of fraternity, of
empowerment of equality. It will be an advance from the bourgeois Republic
that now exists.
Comrades we are internationalist socialist and republican. We identify with
the oppressed of the world. If any of our leadership start to darken the
corridors of Washington the centre of world Imperialism and take as we use
to say "the Queens shilling " then they will no longer be leaders of this
The IRSP is actively involved in political struggle. We are taking the
struggle into the workshop, into the halls of the trade unions and on to
the streets. Where ever there is resistance there will be the IRPS.
We as a movement have survived against all the odds because the core
beliefs that Seamus Costello, Miriam Daly, Ronnie Bunting and later Ta
Power and Gino Gallagher gave their lives for were the core beliefs of
Irish socialism. They fought and died that the living today may achieve
liberation from economic political social and cultural oppression.
Unfortunately in all the hulabaloo about the 20th anniversary of the hunger
strikers attention has focused only on the dead (and some live hunger
What about the forgotten victims?
It is important that a number of other republicans / human rights activists
who were killed by Pro British forces are remembered for their commitment
and dedication to the POW's cause.
The H Block/Armagh blanket/Dirty protest was entering its third year when
in 1979 at the British general election returned the Tory1s under the
guidance of Margaret Thatcher to government in Britain. The election of
Thatcher signalled a change to Britain1s strategy against Irish
republicans. Alongside the Ulsterisation policy introduced by the previous
labour government a new tool was added to the British armoury POLITICAL
As the public outcry at the conditions in which Irish POW1s were forced to
endure was building on the streets across Ireland and further a field a
broad based committee was formed to highlight their plight and co-ordinate
protest action. It was called the National H Block/Armagh committee.
In 1979/80 a number of key members of this committee were assassinated. At
the time there were no claims of responsibility from any groups at the time
(Though many years later John McMicheal, UFF commander claimed they were
responsible) and suspicion fell on the British Military Intelligence.
These claims were based around a number of factors:
1. the professionalism of the assassinations
2. the fact that key security gates that had been closed for many years were
left open to facilitate the assassins
3. no vehicles were ever recovered
4. some of the killings happened in broad daylight
5. by men some with English accents in west Belfast. Three of the National
H Block Armagh committee assassinated were also members of the Irish
Republican Socialist Party.
In 1979 the Irish National Liberation Army had executed the British Tory
Airey Neave MP, Airey Neave was Margaret Thatcher's right hand man and was
in line to be the next Northern Ireland secretary of state if the Tories
won the general election. This coupled with the IRA1s intensified campaign,
which had claimed the lives of 18 paratroopers in Warrenpoint, was Maggie
Thatchers baptism of fire in Irish politics.
The Pat Finacune and Rosemary Nelson assassinations coupled with the shoot
to kill operations in the 1980s have brought a sharp focus on British
collusion with loyalists and British Military Intelligence covert operations.
We believe there is a need for an independent public inquiry into a number
of assassinations of political activists that occurred around the time of
the H Block protests and hunger strikes.
They are -
Cllr. Larry Kennedy, Independent
Miriam Daly - IRSP, National H Block/Armagh committee
Ronnie Bunting - IRSP, National H Block/Armagh committee
Noel Little - IRSP, National H Block/Armagh committee
Cllr. John Turnley, IIP, National H Block/Armagh committee
Comrades let them not be forgotten. Support the forgotten victims campaign.
We have attempted to articulate the plight of those dispossessed. There are
values in this world that transcend the selfishness, greed and corruption
that is endemic in capitalism. Values such as solidarity, co-operation,
comradeship, and defence of ones own community and class. These are basic
for the working class if that class is to rise above the petty capitalist
values of today's modern Ireland.
The drug gangs` that ply their trade in working class communities are
consciously killing not only the heart of working class communities but
also the bodies of our youth. Ireland has the youngest proportion of drug
addicts in the world. The drug gangs are drug capitalists interested only
in the quick profit. Selfish greedy and brutal they have been allowed to
flourish while the so called police north and south looked the other way or
used these people as their touts and informers in working class
communities. Every time local communities began to organise themselves to
push these drug capitalists out police action has been directed against the
communities, not the drug barons. The spreading of a drug culture among
working class youths helps to keep down radical dissent and provides the
police with a small army of touts.
Drugs are a class issue. There is no place for drug pushers in our society.
We denounce those who encourage foreign investment in Ireland. They are
appealing to capital's desire for cheap labour, and have a small segment of
society reap the rewards of that cheap and productive labour. That appears
to be more and more the drive of Sinn Fein -- No mention of empowering
workers, of having them organise along industrial lines, of taking control
of their workplace and changing society. No, it's to bring economic
benefit to impoverished areas by courting native and foreign capital.
Irish trade unions are unfortunately ideologically tied to the capitalist
system and have a stake in its preservation. They also see issues naturally
in purely national terms and have in effect only paid lip service to
We need to stop paying lip service to working class unity and saying that
the working class, north and south, have more in common, and have shared
destinies, more than they share anything with the two governments that
divide them. A strategy that empowers workers will appeal to wider and
wider sections of the working class.
We say there is an alternative republican socialist perspective, and it is
neither guns nor Government. Comrades, In refusing to disarm Republicans do
not have to take the armed road. That is not an option at this time. The
IRSP has said all along that it was a mistake for Republicans to trust the
British. We say the whole point of the exercise was to disarm, discredit
and demoralise republicans?
We call on all Republicans and Republican Socialists to step back from this
whole process and reflect on what has been achieved and what has been lost.
It is now time for Republicans to say no.
The loyalist cease-fires are a joke (no decommissioning nor inspections
there) yet the UDP has paid offices in Stormont courtesy of your taxes
while the UDA is recruiting disaffected protestant youth for a renewed
sectarian campaign. They are part of a sustained systematic and sectarian
campaign directed, controlled and influenced by an alliance of businessmen,
solicitors, policemen, intellectuals clergymen and Orangemen who reject any
concessions to " fenians"
We categorise the Orange Order as an organisation that is both racist and
fascistic in nature. It has been directly responsible for the
dehumanisation, terrorisation and siege of nationalist communities. We
have called for all progressive forces political trade union and community
based to back any residents under siege from Orange marches. We deplore the
decision of the Parades Commission in regard to the Ormeau Road. Many of
the members of the loyal orders are for the continuation of the war of
extermination against Nationalists.
We are confident those exterminists do not represent the vast majority of
protestant working class opinion and we remain committed to the concept of
a mutually agreed non aggression pact between communities that will restore
confidence in working class communities especially those living in flash
The violence has continued. We understand how working class communities
suffer during armed conflict. We endorse the Irish National Liberation Army
cease-fire. That move was always in line with the founder of the Army's
vision of an army of the people. Others may fight allegedly 'on behalf of'
and without reference to the people. We reject such militarist elitism.
There is a ferment of ideas taking place within the republican community.
The IRSP welcome that ferment. We should never be afraid of debate and
dialogue. We are prepared to talk to anyone about the future development of
the Republican ideal armed with our working class analysis. Only a Republic
that places the working class firmly in control is worth the struggle.
We believe talks between the various forces of Republicanism could be
useful provided it is not to build up personalities and allow some to grand
stand for the media. We appeal to all those radical sections of political
opinion, north and south, republican and socialist to come together in the
interests of the Irish working class and at least begin to create some hope
for the future.
But parallel with an openness to others this leadership will continue to
develop and consolidate this movement. In small ways comrades have
supported local initiatives against crime in local communities. We do not
feel that the social thuggery arising within working class communities is
best deal with by self appointed baseball bat beaters. Only a full
community response can lessen the impact that thugs have. Why is it only
working class youths are the victims of punishment beatings. Are there no
middle class hood's?
Comrades this is a class issue.
We know that we are gaining support and sympathy for our politics. Why?
Because people see in this movement a movement of integrity in politics and
a movement capable of adapting to the needs of the times without
We have tried to instil confidence, self-respect, and loyalty to the
movement and a fundamental belief in the primacy of politics. These
attribute go to the very heart of our ideology. Confidence in the class,
self respect for our values of socialism, loyalty to our own movement but
not uncritical loyalty, and of course the primacy of politics.
Former comrades and friends who walked away for what ever reason from this
movement we say there is still a place for you in the Irish Republican
We here are all important. No class nor man nor woman is our better..
As we stand here by the graves of our Fenian dead let us renew our
commitment to the liberation of the Irish working class.
Go raibh maith agat.
Republican Socialist Publicity Bureau
IRSP Press Office
392 Falls Road
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