ON the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the momentous Easter Rising of 1916 the Leadership of the Republican Movement sends greetings to Irish exiles throughout the world and to all Irish Republican prisoners.
In particular we salute the prisoners in Maghaberry Prison, Co Antrim who have been on protest for political status for two years this Easter. The British, and the Stormont regime which includes our former comrades who have accepted and now administer British rule in the Six Occupied Counties, entered into an agreement with the prisoners in August 2010 to end strip-searching.
They reneged on that arrangement. They never implemented the alternative of the BOSS chair and so the no-wash strike continues. Even the secretary of the prison warders’ union has stated publicly that the protest should be settled.
Meanwhile there is a publicity black-out on the plight of the prisoners while their comrades outside do their utmost to support them. The political status won at such great cost by the heroic hunger strikers was signed away as just another of the many surrenders to English rule in Ireland by the Provo leadership.
The state visit by the British monarch to the 26 Counties in the past year – the first such in 100 years – was intended to normalise British rule in Ireland and put the seal on the current sell-out of the Six Counties to England. Republican Sinn Féin’s protests on that occasion delivered a clear message.
Empty streets in Dublin and carefully-selected audiences elsewhere showed the performance to be a failure. Yet the Establishment persists in calling it a “success”. But the reality was on the ground – and at a cost of €38 million for security.
Then in February the GAA sold out its independence and the ideals of its founders when it accepted a massive amount of English money — £61 million in sterling or €77 million euro – to develop Casement Park in Belfast. Roger Casement got the English hangman’s rope but those who use his name allow themselves to be exploited by Stormont just as others contribute to the city of Derry – historic Doire Cholm Cille – being the British “City of Culture” in 2013. Those who pay the piper undoubtedly call the tune!
As the centenary of the fateful Easter Rising of 1916 approaches the intentions of the Leinster House establishment become clearer to all. They want to combine commemorations of 1916 with those for members of the British forces involved in the imperialist World War I.
Republicans must clarify the issue for the Irish people. We salute the memory of those who died for Irish freedom. Others can pay homage otherwise to their dead, many of whom were forces for economic reasons to take part in the 1914-18 “war to end all wars”.
A further step has been taken to integrate the 26-County state forces into the British war machine with the announcement that RUC soldiers are now suitable to join the ranks of the 26-County police even up to top level. These new arrangements will bring the British forces back south of the Border 90 years after they were driven out by the men and women we honour today.
At the same time a combination of the International Monetary Fund, the EU Commission and the European Central Bank is dictating the pace for many years to come in eroding the limited sovereignty of the 26-County state. Undue hardship is being wantonly inflicted on ordinary people while the well-off continue to thrive.
The good name of the Republican Movement, valid since 1986, is under attack again. Criminality masquerades as Republicanism and confuses the Irish people. The name of Republican Sinn Féin and of the Continuity IRA have even been stolen by a minuscule local grouping in its reckless attempt to bewilder further those who stand for the full freedom of Ireland.
The people who rejected constitutionalism and reformism and stood staunchly by the revolutionary road when it was deserted and betrayed in 1986, have upheld the banner of Irish Republicanism down the years. They merit the support of Republican-minded people even as the no-wash protest continues in Maghaberry Jail.
Martin Corey of Lurgan, Co Armagh, who spent 19-and-a-half years in a British jail in the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to prison two years ago. He is now spending his third Easter in jail on no charge whatever. It is nothing short of internment again.
Republicans and their followers who support Martin and the prisoners on protest have been brought before British courts in the Six Occupied Counties for holding peaceful demonstrations on the streets.
Let us, in our turn, stand by the same Cause, the Cause we uphold today, the Cause of Pearse, Connolly and the men and women of Easter 1916!
An Phoblacht Abú. Long Live the All-Ireland Republic.
— Issued by the Leadership of the Republican Movement, Easter 2012.