ON the 95th anniversary of the momentous Easter Rising of 1916 the Leadership of the Republican Movement once again sends greetings to all who are gathered in commemoration at the graves of the patriot dead or at monuments in their honour.
From Easter Sunday 2010 the Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry jail, Co Antrim embarked on a five-month long protest in support of their just demand for political status. That status was taken away when the Provisionals signed the 1998 Stormont Agreement.
On August 12 last this protest ended with an agreement in which facilitators, including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and others were involved. More than six months later key elements of that agreement were not implemented. Specifically, the “BOSS chair” x-ray machine was installed to replace the strip-searching of prisoners, but despite the availability of that machine the original degrading practice was continued.
As a result Republican prisoners refused to cooperate with further strip searches. This, in turn, led to two prisoners being denied parole. The facilitators of the agreement returned to the prison in March and met the prisoners and the prison governor. The governor refused to abide by the terms of the August Agreement. The responsibility for reneging on the compact entered into in good faith lies with the Stormont Minister for Justice who sits at the cabinet table beside the Provisionals.
The Provos repeat Bobby Sands’s name while as the new jailers they deny Bobby Sands’s objective of political status to present-day Republican prisoners. They flaunt the Easter Lily in Leinster House while they punish the prisoners for wearing an Easter Lily in Maghaberry Prison.
Meanwhile the Continuity IRA has been carrying the war to the enemy and Republican Sinn Féin has campaigned tirelessly in support of the prisoners. To the Republicans prisoners in Maghaberry and Portlaoise the leadership sends greetings and congratulates and salutes their courage and sacrifice.
In the 26 Counties the hard-won rights of working people are under attack and must be defended. World-wide corrupt practices and bad management at home has resulted in almost half-a-million being unemployed and 1,000 per week emigrating in search of work. Whatever economic independence existed has now been ceded to the EU and the IMF. Real revolutionary change is necessary based on the principles of the 1916 Proclamation. ÉIRE NUA and SAOL NUA provide the basis for such a New Ireland.
Now to put the seal on the surrender process and the 1998 Agreement, which is not a settlement, the Queen of England is being brought to the 26 Counties – the first such occasion in 100 years. This is a political action designed to normalise and make acceptable British rule in Ireland.
Republicans must protest and tell the world that the English government will never be normal or acceptable here. The struggle is not over. It never will be over until the English government leaves Ireland – for all time. Spending €8 million on security for the Queen of England is sheer waste of the people’s money.
Up to this when the Dublin Administration and the British government joined together with Stormont in repression and coercion, their objective was, of course, to destroy the Republican Movement. In this they always failed.
In our time, they seek to go further. They are attempting to demolish the basic idea of Irish Republicanism, Irish national independence and control of our own natural resources. They have given away our Six north-eastern Counties to England and have handed over our natural resources for nothing to multi-national companies. The creeping tide of Anglicisation sweeps over our people gradually every day. In all of this they have the support of former comrades masquerading as Republicans.
We must resist this surrender process. We must be true to the ideals of the men and women of 1916 and of those who stood in the Bearna Baoil, the Gap of Danger, before 1916 and since 1916. Let us arise!
An Phoblacht Abú!