Friday, 30 April 2010

Independent Hunger Strike Commemoration

We would like to invite everyone to support and take part in this commemoration to remember all 22 Hunger Strikers who gave their lives in support of the struggle for Irish Independence.

The above committee is made up of former political prisoners, H-Block activists, aligned and non-aligned republicans who wish to commemorate the 22 Irish Republicans and Socialists who gave their lives on Hunger Strike in the struggle for Irish Freedom and Independence in the 20th Century.

The Belfast Hunger Strike Commemoration is non-party political. We are calling on all republicans who wish to honour Irelands Martyred Dead to support the Independent Hunger Strike Commemoration Sunday 2nd May 2010.

To that end, we are inviting all political parties, H-Block activists, aligned and non-aligned republicans to support the Commemoration. The commemoration march assembles at College of Art York Street at1-30.p.m. and will be leaving at 2-00.p.m. en-route to Dunville Park.

No party political banners or flags will be carried, only black flags and photographs of the Hunger Strikers are to be carried. There will be no party political speeches. We intend to release 22 doves to commemorate each Hunger Striker. Five bands are due to attend.
ph 07867622924

Greater love than this no man hath, than a man lay down his life for his friends.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

RUC/PSNI Dirty Tricks Continue

Yet again we have concrete proof of the unchanged nature of British policing in Ireland. This unchanged force are still using the tactics they have always used. Their history of framing and attempting to set up Republicans is well known.

In recent days this sinister paramilitary force has once again raised it's ugly head, this time they attempted to use a vulnerable young man to do their dirty work. The political police forced a young Belfast man to gather information on a  number of Belfast Republicans, more worryingly they tried to make him plant explosives and weapons on Republicans in an attempt to set them up. The use of these sinister tactics have in the past resulted in arrests, imprisonments and deaths!

This proves once again that the RUC/PSNI is unchangeable. Former Republicans tell us that times have changed and so has the "PSNI", yet it has been proven time and time again that this isn't the case.

Yet despite all of this, former comrades continue to support the enemies of Ireland, and call for people to turn informer on Irish Republicans.

"The "PSNI" remains a British police force, enforcing British law in support of the British ‘justice’ system. Like police forces across the capitalist world its primary aim will remain the protection of the state and the interests of the ruling class; interests which run in direct contradiction to the interests of the working class."

Details of POW Picket

The whiteline protest will take place on Monday 3rd May during the Belfast City Marathon ,it will take place on the Falls road section of the run, the assembly point for all those taking part in the picket is Conway Mill at 9am please attend and show your support for the POWs .

This protest will be peaceful and it is our intention to use this opportunity to highlight the POWs plight to as many people as possible .

We need to make this protest as big as possible ,so we all need to get out ,be seen and be heard .


Monday, 26 April 2010

Republican POW Picket To Be Held During Belfast Marathon

Due to the ongoing situation in Maghaberry Republicans have decided to organise a picket in solidarity with the POWs along part of the route of the Belfast City marathon.

This will take place in West Belfast and after a number of very successful well attended protests all over the country to demand the restoration of political status and an end to the harsh treatment inflicted upon the POWs and their families. So far the main event was the rally at Maghaberry in which over 500 people attended, making it one of the largest mobilisations in support of Republican POWs in many years.

The picket that will be held during the marathon will be seen by many thousands of people and will also be in the full glare of the media. Hopefully this will bring more attention to the plight of the POWs.

I will post the details of this event as soon as they are finalised

Friday, 23 April 2010

Different Name, Same Aim, Day of Action, Newry

éirígí activists in Newry will be holding a Different Name, Same Aim campaign day of action on Saturday 24th April (tomorrow). This event will be to highlight to the general public the unchanged nature of the RUC/PSNI,

 Assemble at the Quays, Newry, 1.30pm

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Positive Public Meeting

Last night Republicans in Newry attended a packed public meeting in the Arts centre regarding British Policing in Ireland. The meeting was hosted by the Republican Network for Unity and the top table consisted of Ex-POWs and former combatants Tony Catney and Mairtin Óg Meehan and Lorna Brady the sister of Óglach John Brady.

Each of the speakers gave examples of their own personal experiences with British policing beginning with Lorna. Lorna gave a very moving speech and spoke of the harassment her family had to endure over the years, a lot of which was directed at her brother John even though he was very young. Eventually John being a Volunteer ended up incarcerated for his republican activities. Lorna then on to explain that her brother spent just 4 years of his adult life outside of prison, the rest of his life was spent incarcerated by the British and then he was eventually murdered. I don't think there was one person in that room who wasn't moved by Lorna's account and experiences of her, her family and John.

A good comrade of mine, Mairtin Óg Meehan, then gave his account of his 1st hand experiences with British policing and the injustices that come with that. Firstly he spoke of his admiration of Newry and it's people and explained how his late father having a great love for "the town", as he fondly called it, when he was active in the border area in the early 70s. Mairtin Óg told of his experiences and encounters with the British police as both a community activist and proud socialist Republican. He spoke about the harassment directed at the community based anti-drugs group CFAD, who have done some magnificent work in Belfast over the past 18 months in tackling the scourge of drugs. Anti-drugs activists have been regularly harassed and arrested by the British police for their community activities. He then told us about a serious incident when a fellow Republican and community activists had his house attacked. While going to his comrades house with a fellow Republican to show solidarity, Mairtin was stopped at a British police checkpoint. The enemy forces asked him his name and as soon as he told them he was punched in the face and had an entire canister of CS gas emptied in his face! Another member of the British militia grabbed a rifle, cocked it and stuck it through the window of the car. Mairtin was then kicked over to the other side of the car, was handcuffed and then taken to an enemy barracks. Mairtin asked for medical treatment due to a heart condition and was refused, he was taken to a  barracks and was made to stand in the car park for 4 hours. When he did eventually see a doctor in the barracks and had his blood pressure taken the doctor immediately sent him to the hospital.

Former POW Tony Catney gave a detailed account of his views of British policing in Ireland, he also spoke of smear campaigns and black propaganda being directed towards Republicans by the media and various others. Tony is no stranger to smears and gave a light-hearted mention to him being featured in the Sunday papers recently. Tony spoke about himself being arrested and harassed numerous times by the British police.

The public then had the chance to voice their views in regards to policing, many of those who spoke told how they felt abandoned by former Republicans. They also told about how false promises were made to them, they were told that the police would be held to account and that manners would be put on them, but sadly that has never materialised. People now feel that they have been left at the mercy of hoods, drug dealers and criminals and that former Republicans who were once to the fore in protecting the vulnerable communities now look the other way and live the good life. Another thing that was mentioned a lot was Mi5's continued involvement in occupied Ireland.

One thing that stuck out at the meeting was that there were many Ex-POWs, lifelong Republicans, community activists and former volunteers in attendance, all of which were singing off the same hymn sheet. It's assuring to know that people of such calibre are still remaining true to the Republican cause and have not sided with the enemy unlike others. I have no doubt in my mind that Republicanism can be rebuilt and in recent times republicans have made great strides in doing just that.

Republicans in Newry will continue to help rebuild that movement and will continue to oppose, expose and highlight British policing in Ireland and we will have plenty of events in the coming days and weeks.

Reminder: Newry RNU meeting on 'Policing'

The newly formed South Down / North Louth cumann of Republican Network for Unity is hosting a public meeting in Newry Arts Centre on April 22nd at 7.30 pm.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Why republicans must oppose British policing’, prominent speakers will address the meeting and intend to touch upon areas of concern such as; continued oppressive practices (like the controversial section 44 search procedures), the framing and jailing of republican activists and the use of criminal informers in working class areas. Potential alternatives to current state policing models will also be discussed.

The meeting is open to the public and all republicans are welcome to attend and make their contribution to what will be a unique meeting in the history of the town.

For more information see website

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Successful Protest At Prison Ombudsman's Office

Around 80 republicans gathered outside the prison ombudsman's office in Windsor House, Bedford street, in Belfast city centre. Among the protesters were families of republican POWs as well as friends and former POWs. The families' intention was to hand a letter in to the prison ombudsman in person but were informed that she was not in the building. Indeed the families were strangely informed that no-one from her office was there to meet with the families.

The protesters who had gathered remained outside the building for an hour displaying posters and a banner highlighting the inhumane conditions and practices forced upon republican POWs in Maghaberry, as well as calling for a restoration of political status.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Protest at Prisoner Ombudsmans Office

Plans are currently in place for a protest this Friday outside the Prison Ombudsman Office which is situated at Windosr House, Bedford St, Belfast.

It will take place at 12.30pm

Republicans are called upon to show support for our POWs and attend this Protest.

Organised by POWs families, friends and Ex-POWs

Monday, 12 April 2010

Situation In Maghaberry Deteriorates

I just heard from a POW's family this evening that the situation in Maghaberry is deteriorating. The POWs were woke this morning at 6.30am by screws banging on their doors and shouting etc. When the POW was not served breakfast he asked for an explanation, he was told " you were offered your breakfast but you refused it."

The lads have covered up the flaps on their doors as a form of protest and they have been informed that they will lose their hour in the yard while the flaps remain covered up, but since the protest on Easter Sunday the POWs have not been receiving the compulsory hour exercise, if they have a legal visit or family visit they have been made forfeit their hour in the yard.

Controlled Movement is also being used to such an extent that the POWs are not able to wash or be fed on a daily basis. The situation is becoming unbearable for the POWs and their families and it looks like it will escalate.

The only way this can be resolved is for political status to be restored.

Newry Republicans will continue to stand in solidarity with the POWs and their families.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Republican Protesters Take Action at Maghaberry!

Yesterday several hundred Irish Republicans protested outside Maghaberry prison in response to the brutality and inhumane conditions that the POWs have to endure.

Newry Republicans have been to the fore in these protests and held a successful picket at Newry courthouse last Thursday in which over 70 people attended. And yesterday well over a dozen Republicans from Newry, including several former POWs, attended the protest at Maghaberry prison in solidarity with Republican POWs and their families. One of the cars travelling from Newry was stopped twice under section 44 by the RUC/PSNI.

Awaiting us at Maghaberry was a large presence of RUC/PSNI personnel in armoured landrovers. The paramilitary force had set up checkpoints on all the roads leading to the jail and proceeded to stop and search republicans as they arrived, they also noted the registration of every vehicle that passed through the checkpoint and several vehicles were stopped and searched under section 44. We assembled in the car park and marched up to the main gates behind a "SUPPORT THE POWs, RESTORE POLITICAL STATUS" banner. Many people carried placards and tricolours and when we reached the main gates of the prison a number of Republicans addressed the large crowd including former POW Tony Catney, Former Blanketman Alex McCrory, Former Hungerstriker and blanketman Gerard Hodgkins, recently released POW Terry McCafferty, former POW Martin Rafferty and families of the POWs. Dozens of former POWs were among the crowd including several from the Newry area.

The protesters then blasted air horns, blew whistles and chanted for several minutes at the main gates, no doubt the POWs inside could hear us and this would have given them a much needed boost of morale.

We then marched back to the car park and drove in a convoy of hundreds of cars back up to the main gates were every car was blasting their horns.

While Constitutional Nationalists sit on the sidelines and regurgitate statements, word for word, that were already issued under different names last week, Irish Republicans are mobilising people and are active on the streets taking part in grassroot activism.

This is only the start!


Saturday, 10 April 2010

Óglach Colum Marks

Óglach Colum Marks
Killed in Action - 11th April, 1991

Colum was active in his early years in rioting against the British Army and soon came to the attention of the enemy. On one occasion, Paratroopers raided the family home searching for the youthful resistance fighter but Colum eluded them, taking refuge in a neighbour's home. He was first arrested at the ate of 14. The family home was constantly raided. He was an active member of Na Fianna Eireann during these years.

When he left school at 16 he worked at various jobs until he was 20. The Hunger Strikes began and he became involved in the Newry Youth Action Group. He was to get his first taste of jail in June 1981, spending eight months on remand before being cleared of all charges. He was continuously harassed and arrested - sometimes it seemed the RUC/PSNI Barracks was his second home.

Colum was brutally murdered on 11th April 1991, when the RUC/PSNI shot him dead in Downpatrick. He had been a dedicated IRA Volunteer who brought the fight to the enemy. He is sorely missed and loved by his family, friends and comrades.

Video of éirígí Easter Commemoration in Belfast

Here are a few videos of the éirígí Easter Commemorations in Belfast and with a stirring speeches made by former POW and Blanketman Pádraic Mac Coitir.

Introduction by éirígí Vice-chair Rab Jackson

Main Oration by former Blanketman Pádraic MacCoitir

Main oration continued

Proclamation read by former POW Máire Drumm

Friday, 9 April 2010

Taking it To The Next Level


A protest will be held this Sunday the 11th of April at 4.00 pm outside Maghaberry prison in support of our POWs.

All Republicans are called upon to show their support for our POWs and come together to support this protest.

This protest has been organised by family, friends and ex POWs.

POW Picket Resounding Success

Yesterday evening between 70 and 80 Republicans attended a white line picket outside Newry Courthouse in solidarity with Republican POWs and their families.

Several ex-POWs, local Republicans, community activists, along with a number of families of current POWs participated in the picket which lasted for an hour.

Those present held placards demanding the immediate Restoration of Political Status, End of Controlled Movement, End of Prison Brutality, Support POWs, Smash Criminalisation, and pledging Support for Prisoners families.

Towards the end of the picket the participants gathered at the front of the British Crown building were a statement was read on behalf of the organisers, POWs families and friends.

This is the second successful POW picket Republicans in Newry have organised, we had one last December and it attracted similar numbers.

This picket coincided with several other pickets that were held across the Occupied 6 counties. In Belfast 300 people took part in the picket on the Falls/Whiterock, in North Belfast 150 people attended the picket in Carrickhill and in Lurgan roughly 70 people stood in solidarity with the POWs.

It's great to see so many people rededicating themselves to grassroots Republican activism

Statement on Behalf of POWs Friends, Families and Picket Organisers

Republican Prisoners families, friends and ex-POWs have organised this picket to show solidarity with all Republican prisoners and their families. We demand an immediate end to the brutal regime in place in Maghaberry, under which Republican Prisoners have to endure strip searches, 23 hour lock up, controlled movement, sniffer dog searches, assaults and repeated attempts to portray them as common criminals.

We demand the restoration of Political Status which was won in the early 80s following a hard fought battle with the British Establishment and resulted in 10 brave young men sacrificing their lives.

Our family members and friends are not common criminals. They are political prisoners and are in prison for their political beliefs. It is safe to say that these men would not even be in jail if it wasn’t for the ongoing British presence in Ireland. They are clearly political prisoners and we demand that they be treated as such.

Not only are the prisoners suffering, but their families are also suffering, they endure degrading strip searches when visiting their loved ones and are regularly on the receiving end of harassment from the RUC/PSNI.

Up to five assaults have been carried out on Republican prisoners in Maghaberry in the last 18 months, all resulted in Republicans being charged with assault in an attempt by a corrupt prison regime to cover up what is happening. Only a few weeks ago a Republican prisoner was mauled by a prison dog and suffered severe injuries.

The only way this conflict in Maghaberry will be resolved is for political status to be restored for Republican prisoners and for the harassment and degrading treatment of visiting families to be ended immediately.

This picket is just one of many that has taken place across the 6 counties this evening. No doubt the prisoners will receive a much needed boost of morale and confidence knowing that Irish Republicans are standing together in support of them.

We want to thank everyone for attending this picket tonight at such short notice. It’s heartening to see so many lifelong Republicans and ex-POWs standing in solidarity with the prisoners and their families.

We must be ready and willing to take to the streets until this issue is resolved, at the end of the day the prisoners are in there for us and we are out here for them.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

White Line Pickets in Support of POWs in Maghaberry

White Line Pickets organised by the families,friends and ex prisoners will be held tomorrow Thursday 8th April in support of POWs in Maghaberry.


North Belfast, Carrickhill at 5pm.

West Belfast, Whiterock/Falls junction at 5pm.


Free Derry Corner at 5pm


Newry Courthouse at 7pm


William Street at 7pm

(please note that due to a large number of family

members attending prison visits the time has changed from

5pm to 7pm)

We call on all republicans to attend these protests and show your support for the POWs in Maghaberry.

Newry RNU meeting on 'Policing'

The newly formed South Down / North Louth cumann of Republican Network for Unity is hosting a public meeting in Newry Arts Centre on April 22nd at 7.30 pm.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Why republicans must oppose British policing’, prominent speakers will address the meeting and intend to touch upon areas of concern such as; continued oppressive practices (like the controversial section 44 search procedures), the framing and jailing of republican activists and the use of criminal informers in working class areas. Potential alternatives to current state policing models will also be discussed.

The meeting is open to the public and all republicans are welcome to attend and make their contribution to what will be a unique meeting in the history of the town.

For more information see website

Belfast éirígí Remembers 1916

Upwards of 500 people gathered in Belfast on Easter Monday [April 5] to remember all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom.

Assembling at the gates of Milltown Cemetery on the Falls Road, the marchers made their way to the Harbinson republican plot led by the Kilkeel republican flute band, where proceedings got underway.

éirígí national vice-chairperson Rab Jackson chaired the event and began by highlighting the plight of the republican prisoners in Maghaberry Jail, who had begun a protest against appalling conditions.

The Proclamation of the Irish Republic was read by former Armagh political prisoner Maire Drumm, before wreaths were laid on behalf of éirígí’s ciorcal naisiúnta, éirígí Béal Feirste and republican ex-prisoners.

The main oration was read by one-time blanketman and former chair of the Belfast National Graves Association Pádraic Mac Coitir

Pádraic Mac Coitir Speech
Go raibh maith agaibh a cháirde agus chomrádaithe. It is an honour and a privilege for me to speak at the first éirígí Easter parade here in Milltown cemetery. On behalf of éirígí we send solidarity greetings to all our supporters and activists at home and abroad.

Since 1926 Republicans have attended similar parades throughout the country; even during very difficult periods when we have been attacked and vilified by our enemies, both foreign and domestic. On this the 94th anniversary of the Easter rising we especially remember our patriot dead and extend solidarity greetings to their families.

On Easter Monday, 1916 thousands of Irishmen and women took on the might of the British Empire by taking part in an armed rebellion. Pádraic Mac Piaras read on the steps of the GPO the Proclamation, which is as relevant to us today as it was 94 years ago. During Easter week these brave men and women fought throughout Dublin and many of them sacrificed their lives for national freedom and sovereignty.

In the 94 years since the rising there have been five occasions when Republicans have taken up arms against the British and counter-revolutionaries. Unfortunately each time it has ended in defeat only to be re-ignited by the next generation.

In this cemetery there are numerous graves of those who fought for independence, from the Young Irelanders of the 1840’s, to women like Winifred Carney who was in the GPO, those who fought in the Tan War and the counter revolution, the 40’s and 50’s right through to those who fought and died in the most recent phase of the struggle. None of us can say for certain where these men and women would be today but as Republicans they would definitely not accept a partitionist state nor be participants in it.

We are standing at a memorial to a man who was in the British army at the time of the Fenian rising of 1867 and was prepared to resist British oppression. Along with his brother and others he was imprisoned in Belfast gaol and due to the treatment he endured in that very prison he died. Men like William Harbinson are the true bearers of the Republican ideal.

One of the six men buried in this plot is Joe Mc Kelvey who was executed by the Free Staters on 8th December 1922. Joe had been a Volunteer in the IRA in Belfast and he quickly rose through the ranks. By the time a truce had been called in July 1921 he was active in Dublin and with many others he was appalled at the terms of the truce and treaty. This led to the civil war in which the counter-revolutionaries and the stake-in-the-country merchants were victorious.

When the counter-revolutionaries led by Mulcahy and Collins decided to take out all opposition they set the scene that was to continue for generations of Irishmen and women. Their cohorts continued to oppress Republicans to the point that many either walked away or kept their heads down.

This position also encouraged the unionists in the newly formed Northern state when they brought in repressive laws which were the envy of despots throughout the world. Is it any wonder so many were afraid to raise their heads? Of course in every generation there were those who aspired to the ideals of the Proclamation and for us standing here today we should understand and be guided by the principles of it.

Some of those who should know better frequently engage in felon setting and accuse of us of having no mandate and no political philosophy. If people like Peadar O’Donnell, Frank Ryan and George Gilmore and others who were involved in The Republican Congress were able to continue the struggle then it’s imperative that we do likewise. During the 1930’s Ireland had suffered massive economic problems which were mirrored throughout Europe. This in turn gave rise to fascism and attacks on Socialists and democrats. These fascists were supported by the extremists in society led by the Catholic Church. In our own country former IRA Volunteers led by De Valera’s party, Fianna Fáil imprisoned and harassed their former comrades and this also allowed reactionary forces to flourish.

Why didn’t Republicans just accept the status quo and row in behind Fianna Fáil? Why did a large number of them defy the conservative elements in the IRA and go and fight in Spain? Because like us here today they believed that the only way in which to challenge these fascists was through resistance. The Spanish Civil War was one of the most defining moments of the 20th century and without the sacrifice of Internationalists like Charlie Donnelly, Jim Straney and Bob Hilliard where would we be? These men had no desire to die but they made a conscious decision to go and fight in a foreign country for a cause that they had a lot in common with. Although they knew change was needed in their own county they believed the greater evil was to be fought in Spain.

Since partition both states have been determined in their pursuit to defeat Republicanism, none more so than De Valera’s government. He executed IRA Volunteers and allowed others to die on Hunger Strike-one of which, Seán McCaughey is buried in this very graveyard. Like others before them men and women continued to fight in pursuit for a Republic. Today we took the route from the gates to this plot, which for a long time in the 1940’s and 50’s was the very same route our parents, grandparents and their comrades took. This was to change dramatically in the 1960’s when there was a revival in Republican politics inspired by the ideals of the 1916 rising. Thousands took to the streets in celebration of the 50th anniversary and here in the North this greatly concerned the Unionists. What did they do? What they have always done- set up death squads. Ordinary working class Protestants had nothing to fear but goaded on by bigots led by Paisley they swelled the ranks of the loyalism and initiated pogroms.

The Civil Rights movement campaigned for an end to gerrymandering and discrimination. Unionists saw this as another Republican conspiracy and reacted violently to peaceful marches and demonstrations. The state forces led by the RUC attacked the Bogside in Derry; this was quickly followed by attacks here in Belfast when thousands of people were burned out of their homes on the Falls Road, Bombay Street and Ardoyne. Along with loyalist mobs the RUC also shot and killed a number of people. Only for the brave actions of a small number of IRA Volunteers more homes would have been burned and more people killed. Republicans in the 6 Counties were determined not to let this happen again and so more weapons were brought in, the IRA started recruiting and very soon became a formidable guerrilla army.

Once again both states reacted with violence by bringing in repressive laws which led to Internment in 1971, the ‘special courts’ in the free state and Diplock Courts here in the North. Despite these draconian measures Republicans continued to resist. Neither did Bloody Sunday in Derry, the use of plastic bullets, shoot to kill and the use of loyalist pseudo-gangs to attack Republicans/Nationalists in the hope that it would break the will of the people to support an armed struggle.

I have spoken of pivotal moments in Irish history but the events of 1981 will be spoken of in years to come. For generations Republicans have been imprisoned throughout this country and in foreign prisons and whilst in gaol they have gone on protest, either by refusing to work or by refusing to wear a prison uniform. In September 1917 Thomas Ashe died on Hunger strike in the Mater hospital, Dublin after being force-fed and in every conflict since then others have died on Hunger Strike. On March 1st 1981 Bobby Sands started another strike and after 66 days he died. He is buried in the New Plot along with his fellow comrades and hunger strikers, Joe Mc Donnell and Kieran Doherty. The other seven men who died are buried in graveyards in counties Tyrone, Armagh and Derry.

It was also during this period when the RUC and British army killed and injured dozens of people, including children by the firing of plastic bullets. The British, by their own admission, said they fired 50,000 of these weapons from the 1st March until the 3rd October. The same plastic bullets they fire today.

We Republicans continued to be targeted, killed and imprisoned but still we struggle. We struggle because we are right in our pursuit of a Democratic Socialist Republic. We will continue that struggle no matter what our enemies may say. How many times have we heard in the past that we have no strategy and no mandate? Were these same accusations not levelled at every generation from pulpits, the media and by partitionist governments?

We should be under no illusion that the reactionary forces out there will use all the might they have to try to crush us. The state forces didn’t deter men like Henry Joy McCracken, Robert Emmett, James Stephens and women like Anne Devlin and Constance Markievicz. People like Thomas Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, James Connolly, Liam Mellows, Tom Williams, Brendan O’Boyle and every Volunteer buried in this cemetery who were labelled because they ‘dissented’ from this state and went out to fight for what was right. As Mac Piarais said, ‘they think have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half they are wrong’. Given that is the case I am proud to say that I too ‘dissent’ from the current state today. However the one thing I am not is a ‘traitor’, as I assume none of you here today are!!!.

Where are the great and the good when heavily armed members of the state, in the guise of a police force, break down doors and smash homes today? This is the same force that assassinated Tomás Mac Curtain, killed an unarmed Pearse Jordan, shot John Downes dead with a plastic bullet. This is the same force that colluded with loyalists in the killing of hundreds of nationalists and Republicans. This is the same police force that harasses Republicans on a daily basis. This is the same police force that will beat workers off peaceful pickets. This is the same police force that will imprison not only Republicans, but those who stand up to the state in whatever form. Be under no illusion that whenever those in Stormont, Leinster House or Westminster decide to use force to put workers down they will do so.

So where do we go? We will not go away you know; that much is for sure. We know what we are up against – the same bigots in unionism, the reactionary forces of the Free State, those who wish to reform Stormont and ultimately the British government. Of course we have a daunting task ahead of us but unless we get up and do something about it our goal of a Democratic Socialist Republic will not be handed to us.

On behalf of éirígí we salute the people of Palestine and the democratically elected government of Hamas. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of the Basque Country, of Cuba, of Venezuela, of Vietnam and others throughout the world defending democracy and Socialism. We will always oppose the aggression of the British, the US and their allies who are destroying the lives of millions in Iraq and Afghanistan. We support the workers who strike for better working conditions, whether it be in Ireland or Britain where gombeen Irishmen are doing all they can to follow Thatcher and destroy the unions. We will oppose the injustices in this country while others rub shoulders with corporate America and the multi-nationals who pay their workers slave wages. We will oppose the unscrupulous slum landlords who expect people to live in their properties where they demand massive rents.

So there is plenty for us to get involved in – community projects, the Irish language campaigns, trade unions and political parties. Each on their own will not bring about change but if we have the confidence and show leadership to others then we will succeed. As the men on the blanket protest used to shout in the face of the screws – Tiocfaidh ár lá!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

éirígí Easter Commemorations

Dublin Remembers 1916

éirígí Baile Átha Cliath organised three separate commemorative events over the Easter weekend to mark the 94th anniversary of the 1916 rising. The first of these took place on Saturday (April 3) at Mount Street Bridge on Dublin’s south side. This location witnessed some of the bloodiest fighting of the entire 1916 rising as a small detachment of republican volunteers inflicted huge casualties on a numerically far larger British force. Up to twenty people listened on Saturday as the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic was read aloud before a wreath was laid at the monument which pays tribute to those who took part in the heroic stand at Mount Street.

More then a hundred people took part in the main éirígí Baile Átha Cliath commemoration which took place on Easter Sunday. Led by a colour party the crowd walked the short journey from Hart’s Corner in Phibsboro to Glasnevin Cemetary.

The commemoration was chaired by éirígí activist and Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan, who introduced the first three speakers, who read out the 1916 Proclamation as well as writings from Nora Connolly and Pádraig Pearse. Ciaran Heaphey then laid a wreath before a minute’s silence was observed in memory of all of those who have given their lives for Irish freedom. éirígí Ard-Rúnaí Breandán Mac Cionnaith then gave the main oration before a rendition of Amhrán the bhFiann was played.

On Easter Monday it was west Dublin which hosted the final commemorative event of the weekend. Here Cathaoirleach éirígí, Brian Leeson, laid a wreath at the memorial plaque for Fianna Hughes, Holohan and Rogers on Monastery Road in Clondalkin. Up to a dozen people joined the minutes silence in memory of the three young republicans who were murdered by the Free State army in 1922.

1916 Remembered in Arklow, Newry and Sligo

éirígí activists in counties Down, Sligo and Wicklow marked the 94th anniversary of the 1916 Rising with a series wreath laying ceremonies. In Newry wreaths were laid at four separate monuments as well as the republican plot in St Mary’s graveyard on Saturday (April 3).

As part of éirígí’s ongoing Reclaim the Republic campaign copies of the 1916 Proclamation were distributed for free to households in the town over the weekend and a number of national flags and éirígí flags were also erected as part of the 1916 celebrations.

Meanwhile in Arklow on Saturday éirígí activists were also distributing free copies of the 1916 Proclamation to pedestrians on the town’s main street. A large banner encouraged people to not only ‘Remember Ireland’s Dead’ but also to continue to ‘Resist British Rule’.

On Easter Monday éirígí activists crossed the border into Wexford to lay a wreath at the grave of legendary socialist republican Liam Mellows in Castletown.

In the north-west éirígí activists took part in a ceremony at the republican plot in Sligo cemetery on Easter Monday (April 5). Once again the words of the 1916 Proclamation were recited, as well as the 1919 Democratic Programme and Declaration of Independence. A wreath was also laid at the monument in memory of those locals who have given their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom

éirígí Easter Statement

Ninety-four years ago, on Easter Monday, April 24 1916, Irish republicans and socialists took armed control of Dublin City and proclaimed the Irish Republic. In doing so, these brave men and women changed the course of history.

As always, the British government reacted to this assertion of social and national rights with a brutal display of force – in the killing of civilians on the streets of Dublin, in the execution of the leadership of the Rising and in the attempted crushing of Irish demands for self-determination. But the risen people who followed in the footsteps of the men and women of Easter Week proved, yet again, that no one can break the will of a people to be free.

This Easter, éirígí, and all Irish republicans and socialists, remember with pride the sacrifice of those who struck that historic blow in 1916 and all those who have given their lives for freedom in the decades since. éirígí extends solidarity to the families of all those who have lost their lives because of their devotion to the republican cause.

The Ireland of today is not the one that was envisaged by the leaders of the Easter Rising when they drafted the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. It is not the one that was envisaged by all those who have given so much in the long years of struggle before and since 1916.

Today, more than half a million people are unemployed in Ireland; tens of thousands more are emigrating. The financial wealth of the Irish people is being used to prop up private banks, while their natural resources are being given away to multinational corporations. The living conditions, wages, rights and entitlements of workers are being attacked daily in an effort to shore up the profits of the business class. Working class communities are deprived of amenities and left to the ravages of poverty and all that flows from it. Partition remains in place and the occupation of the Six Counties is maintained by the armed forces of the British government.

These are the glaring injustices that provide the incentive for unceasing struggle in modern Ireland. In doing so, éirigí is provided with the inspiring example of the revolutionaries of Easter Week, who knew that freedom and rights are never returned willingly by oppressors, but must be taken back forcefully by the oppressed.

The task that lies before Irish revolutionaries in 2010 is the same as that which faced the revolutionaries of 1916 – noting less than the complete removal of Britain from Ireland’s affairs and the radical reordering of the social and economic system.

What began on Easter Monday 1916 was a decolonisation process – Britain’s days in Ireland have been numbered ever since.

To complete this process, another uprising is needed – an uprising of the working people and all those who are exploited and oppressed. It may not happen today or tomorrow or next year, but happen it must and the preparatory work for that rising must begin today.

Four years after its foundation éirígí remains wholeheartedly committed to the struggle for Irish national, social, economic and cultural freedom. This Easter, we encourage republicans and socialists to join us as we honour Ireland’s dead and recommit ourselves to the ideals for which they died.

Ar aghaidh linn le chéile