Easter Oration 2013 by Francis Mackey, National Chairman, 32 CSM – Derry
The 1916 Rising became an essential part of the republican struggle to stem the normalisation of British Rule in Ireland in collaboration with the Home Rule Party.
Then and now Home Rule was the preferred option for the colonial power to have the natives administering their rule.
Republicans challenged this and the coming together of republican forces that Easter resulted in the flames of freedom being rekindled and the Republic being proclaimed.
History shows us the signatories of the Proclamation, our Provisional Government, were executed by the British, however their spirit could not be put down and in the election of 1918 the Irish people upheld the proclamation and on the 21st January 1919 the Irish people declared their freedom and the first Dail Eireann was established.
The British parliament refused to recognise the democratic will of the Irish people and through the use and threat of force our great nation was partitioned.
Sadly today, after decades of republican resistance and of great pain and loss, so called republican leaders moved to the Home Rule position again and, at the insistence of an intransigent British Government, accepted involvement in a process that did not address the violation of Irish National Sovereignty.
Instead they partook in that violation and have sentenced future generations to the challenge of getting rid of British Rule in Ireland. We have taken up that challenge.
Two years ago we were assembled here on a windy cold day, Marian Price delivered the oration and afterwards was charged with a spurious claim of holding a piece of paper. She was given bail, however Owen Patterson the British Secretary of State, a man with no mandate in Ireland, revoked her licence and she has been incarcerated ever since. Despite the efforts of the legal system the British Government has refused to show any compassion and are indeed vindictive in their treatment of Marian. Her incarceration is gone past the political process and is indeed a humanitarian issue and yet despite doctors reports that attribute Marian’s severe deterioration in health to the conditions under which she is held, there is no movement from government to secure her release. Marian Price was no threat to anyone, is no threat to anyone and this is recognised when on two occasions through the courts she has been granted bail on the charges against her.
We reiterate our call today to release Marian Price now and I call on the Irish people to write and lobby for Marian’s release.
Others like Marian and Martin Corey are suffering the same plight at the hands of British Administrators and internment continues. Our call today is to end such inhumane practices, end internment, release all political prisoners and end British Rule in Ireland.
Last year we had another dignified and honourable commemoration, a few weeks ago the platform party of last year were arrested and charged with spurious allegations. They were released on bail, however British conditions imposed prevent them from honouring the brave men and women of 1916 here today. We know you are with us in spirit and you know we are fully supportive of your position.
The British establishment and British policing in Ireland can try to disrupt our right to honour our dead, they can incarcerate us, harass and intimidate us but they will never suppress the right of the Irish people to be free.
These failed foreign policies of the past will not succeed. They failed over the past 40 years of resistance and they will fail now.
A couple of weeks ago Martin Mc Guinness alleged he received a death threat from republicans and the message was delivered by British police representatives, the PSNI.
Messages between Stormont Ministers and their British regional police force hold no importance or merit with republicans.
Mr McGuinness is an irrelevance and a minor distraction to republicans just as he is to unionism and the British government.
The spurious threat has more to do with the recent by-election were Mc Guinness was MP and the timing of the claim had more to do with boosting their candidate given the panic that Molloy was not going to make the grade, a fact borne out in the result with a 10,000 drop in the PSF vote.
Republicans are not in a civil war mentality and we challenge Provisional Sinn Fein; will you support a challenge to the British Government on their illegal sovereign claim to part of our country or will you be honest and tell the Irish people you violated the peoples sovereignty and effectively are a Unionist party having signed an agreement upholding the British Governments illegal claim?
British political policing, the source of the Mc Guinness’ claim, is in tatters from Baggott down, it is in tatters because when they move on the British Agenda on issues PSF don’t like raised they move to the political agenda and back track. They have become political puppets and when they eventually moved on the loyalist/unionist flag protesters they were criticised by the DUP and moved again politically to ease political tensions in Stormont.
There is no accountability, the policing Board and the Partnerships are toothless, the political parties have no power and policing remains firmly political.
Contrast the treatment of illegal marches in Belfast by the union flag protesters and the treatment of the residents in Ardoyne when they were beaten off the streets. Three months of marches crippled Belfast and the PSNI escorted them safely around the streets of Belfast.
Political policing hasn’t gone away you know and the republican/nationalist people here in Derry and across the occupied territory know the full extent of it day and daily and there is not a word of criticism from the compliant political parties and establishment media.
The only answer to political policing is to disband the PSNI/RUC, dismantle British policing structures and get rid of Baggott and Co. End British Policing in Ireland.
Today it is recognised the lead in upholding Irish Nationality Sovereignty is given by the 32 CSM. This is obvious in the number of republican organisations who now are espousing our position and recognise there is no other issue for republicans.
We ask those groups to engage with us in an open and transparent manner regarding the only challenge to the British Governments violation of Irish National Sovereignty at the UN. The issue is not the preserve of any individual or organisation. We have repeatedly said this document is not in our ownership no more than the 1916 Proclamation belongs to any one group. The challenge represents all our thinking and it is for all of us collectively to have that conversation and discussion in moving all our positions forward, just as the leaders in 1916 did in lighting the freedom flame at a time when the Home Rule machine was the greatest threat to our freedom.
The challenge at the UN is a clear peaceful alternative in addressing the cause of conflict that wasn’t resolved in 1998 despite claims to the contrary.
Today that conflict continues in the absence of conflict resolution. I say absence because the political parties at Stormont having violated our sovereignty cannot admit they failed. Their failure has reduced their capability to bring an end to conflict as their political masters in Westminster wrote their script and based the sham agreement on British terms.
The depth of republican thinking has yielded a wealth of visionary ideas for the future well being of our country. But it is essential that our visions for a free Ireland are not used as preconditions against cooperation amongst republicans to secure our peoples right to national self determination. Our core aim is to give our people a free vote to determine their future and they are free to determine what that future should be.
We cannot withhold fighting for our people’s sovereignty on the basis that they may not choose an Ireland as we envisage it. The challenge for republicans is to make our vision an integral part of the struggle for freedom and to persuade them that ending the conflict must involve fundamental change in Irish society if a free vote is to mean anything at all.
Partition has failed on both sides of the border. Re-inventing partition has failed. Using partition to end partition has failed. Re-naming the institutions of partition has failed. As republicans we first and foremost seek an end to this continuing failure by adopting political strategies which are not compromised by the fatal flaws of the past. And in this task we need the essential assistance of you all whether or not you are a member of the 32 CSM.
Together we can move beyond consolidating our position to actively achieving it.
The leaders in 1916 achieved it and it is with honour and pride we celebrate and commemorate their brave and honourable stance. We too can take hope from their position and together we can move to an Ireland without British interference.
An Ireland that will cherish all of our citizens equally, an Ireland established by all its people in a free vote to determine how we are governed in a post British situation.
Let us leave here today with a resolve to addressing the only issue that republicans need to address, the violation of Irish National Sovereignty. Let us do it together.