L’orazione letta dall’ex POW repubblicano TA Cosgrove alla commemorazione di Pasqua 2015 del Republican Network for Unity a Dundalk
A chairde agus comradaí
On behalf of the movement i would like to extend solidarity greetings to our imprisoned comrades in Maghaberry, Portlaoise and Hydebank who have spent another year weathering the British storm and refusing to allow the state to criminalise our struggle. Republican Network for Unity salute their resilience and fortitude, and pledge to continue to assist their fight for the implementation of the August 2010 agreement.
It is an honour to deliver this speech today at Dundalk’s 99th anniversary of the Easter rising, also paying attention to all those who have paid a huge sacrifice for the national liberation struggle, through long years in jail or an eternity in the grave. They are the backbone of our struggle and we gathered here today are the revolutionary remnants of those who fought to realise the Republican aspiration.
This is the 5th year our movement has gathered here at the final resting of Óglaigh Thomas McKeown, John McNulty, Thomas Murray, James Melia, Thomas Lennon and Joseph Ferguson who were deliberately and brutally executed by the native defenders of British interests in Ireland. A reality which many homes have suffered in this country throughout the long years of struggle, from Belfast to Cork.
These men, and the hundreds that preceded and followed them died in a perpetual conflict between the oppressed Irish people and the British state, which has for centuries, shown a blatant disregard for the will of the Irish population. A will that has been reaffirmed by the most oppressed sections of Irish society, who have consistently refused to allow British supremacy to usurp the expression for national liberation, a country free from external impediment, controlled and determined by her own people.
Let me note that as proclaimed in 1916 on the steps of the GPO – Irish sovereignty is inextinguishable and indefeasible The Irish Republic that these men died for is the same Irish Republic that we strive for today, the same Irish Republic which has inspired thousands to strive toward revolution. That Irish Republic cannot be achieved through a gerrymandered border poll, designed to reinforce consociationalism, ultimately isolating and marginalising those who hold out for the only acceptable solution to the Irish question; A 32 county socialist republic.
While proponents of Good Friday will point to a litany of language which they claim promotes a Republican narrative – such as the term ‘self-determination’ – we remind them that this was simply a refurbishment and redress of the Unionist veto. The secretary of state controlled border poll provision contained in the agreement which allows the minority to dictate to the majority is what is meant by ‘self-determination’ in GFA terms.
The fact, in line with the agreement that an unelected and undemocratic secretary of state maintains dictatorial powers over any progression toward Irish unity should automatically cause all right thinking Republicans to reject it outright.
Even if the secretary of state decided to grant the Irish people the scraps off the British table, any yes vote in the gerrymandered border poll would be non-binding and must be submitted to the assent of the British parliament at Westminster, who have been the enemy of Republicanism since its inception. It’s no surprise that we gathered here today, taking head from our Republican martyrs, refuse to allow Britain to set the parameters on Irish freedom. As Republicans and democrats, we rubbish the discourse contained in the GFA which, if you scratch the surface shows up as a small group of individuals protecting their own selfish interests in Ireland.
These selfish interests are reinforced by an overt and covert military regime which stalks our streets, homes, friends and family.
The British military intelligence services, MI5 are the guiding hand behind the black operations we have witnessed the PSNI undertake in recent years, including spying, recruiting children, conspiring with the judiciary and facilitating the internment of Republican activists. They have directed a campaign of coercion and intimidation against our communities in an attempt to depoliticise them and drive them away from the Republican struggle. They operate from the shadows to carry out their activities while attempting to hold themselves up as the face of justice in our communities. The PSNI under the control of MI5, regardless of their fancy rhetoric are NOT the face of justice in our communities. They harass, cajole, brutalise and coerce while attempting to recruit young children and criminals for their own political ends. They continue to allow anti-social elements to destroy our communities in exchange for their services, this is not the actions of those who have the interests of working class communities in their heart.
British rule in Ireland also relies on the subservience of those who sit in Stormont – backed up with an increasing military presence which is set to be further entrenched with the reintroduction of the SRR, another aggressive British militia whose goal is to move along the transition of the 6 counties into a police state. Not to mention the thousands that are situated in barracks across the 6 counties waiting to be deployed at any minute.
In recent times, criminal gangs, no doubt operating on behalf of the same British intelligence services have attempted to hijack the Republican struggle in an attempt to give themselves political cover for their abhorrent criminality. Like their employers they have failed, as we steadfastly faced them down and refused to allow them to tarnish not only our name, but the name of Republicanism.
Equally as abhorrent is the attempt to rewrite history and inject revisionism into Republicanism. We have witnessed the Blueshirts, along with others, attempt to rewrite the cause of the martyred dead and the 1916 proclamation itself. These people are disengaged from reality, they have no aims to further the Republican struggle, they are simply using it for their own electoral purposes. The proclamation is a work in progress, it has not been realised yet. This revisionism of a revolutionary cause can only be halted by Republicans by spreading the Republican message and bringing it to the home of every individual on Irish soil with relentless vigour.
There is very little to say that hasn’t been said about the struggle for national liberation in Ireland, however there is certainly much to do. Leave this graveyard today with renewed energy, optimism and in the spirit of determination commit yourselves to rebuilding the Republican struggle.
While looking back in poignant remembrance, take the time to look forward, plan for the future and ask yourself what you can do today, tomorrow and the next day to further the realisation of the ultimate goal. With vision, energy and determination there is no doubt that we will quell all attempts by Britain to destroy our nascent revolutionary movement and put an end to the aims of the forces of reaction to rewrite Republican history, goals and values. So comrades, lead the way.
Go raibh maith agaibh.