On the occasion of the 97th anniversary of the 1916 Rising the Leadership of the Republican Movement sends greetings to all assembled at Irish patriot graves and at monuments to the memory of our Republican dead.
Once again we issue a reminder that the centenary of that momentous Easter Week is a bare three years away and we ask who has the credentials to honour that 100th commemoration? Surely not those who accept the British and Unionist Veto on the future of Ireland or those who collaborate with English rule in our country. Their political surrender to imperialism is a contradiction of the 1916 Proclamation and all that it stands for. Preparations for 2016 need to continue.
We accept the statement of the Continuity IRA that they abhor drug-dealing and gangsterism and that they have nothing to do with either. We acknowledge their declaration that they remain intact and that their objective is to drive out the British Occupation Forces from the Six Counties just as they were evicted from the 26 Counties by an earlier generation. In short that aim is to complete the work of 1916.
We respond to and reject the untrue claim made without contradiction on RTÉ radio recently that there were “no British soldiers in the North”. The insinuation is that English rule no longer obtains there. The reality is otherwise. And it is accepted widely that the politically biased policing of the so-called PSNI is nothing but a return to that of the pre-1968 RUC simply dressed up with new badges on their head-gear.
We note that the title of Republican Sinn Féin has been misappropriated from it by a tiny splinter group in Limerick. Politicians and a hostile media have given credence to this action by highlighting its misdeeds and then placing the blame on the true Republican Movement. We take advantage of this occasion to clear the air and assert once more Republican Sinn Féin’s integrity and good name.
Similarly, even the name of our country, Ireland, is denied in official circles. The 26 Counties are called “Ireland”, the Six Counties “Northern Ireland” and out native land is dubbed “the island”, thus denying the historic entity which has called forth such service and sacrifice down the years. In this way they seek to deny the very concept of Ireland as our people have known it. They would have us consent to partition and British rule for all time. We say “Never”.
Next year, 2014, will see local elections again in the 26 Counties. Republicans need to make ready and take advantage of openings in this regard. With the abolition of town councils as part of the present administration’s policy of centralisation, elections to Údarás na Gaeltachta were likewise terminated. Gaeltacht self-government was an integral part of our ÉIRE NUA proposals of 1971 making for much stronger local bodies in Irish-speaking areas. Republican Sinn Féin welcomed the limited devolution provided, however, and contested all elections to the Údarás. We see its abolition as a step backwards and deplore its passing.
Meanwhile, the new imperialism through a combination of the Euro currency and lack of regulation of banks has brought a seemingly-endless austerity to the ordinary people. The rich get richer and the poor poorer. This process must be resisted at all costs.
All the while Republican prisoners in Maghaberry, Co Antrim endure as they seek an end to controlled movement and to strip-searching. Following four months of protest, in August 2010 an agreement was reached. It was reneged on by the prison and resulted in another 15 months of a no-wash protest. Nonetheless pressure has continued on the prisoners and the official prisoner ombudsman has admitted publicly that the Republican wing in Maghaberry is the only drug-free wing in the prison. Internment has been reintroduced as Martin Corey of Lurgan, who had served 19 years and was released, was brought back and has been held again for three years without trial. He is still in Maghaberry jail.
At these Easter commemoration ceremonies we are mindful of the prisoners’ struggle and salute their sacrifice. An Phoblacht Abú! Long live the Irish Republic!