Il testo integrale del discorso pronunciato da Rory Dougan a Dundalk, durante la commemorazione dell’Easter Rising 1916 del Republican Network for Unity.

Rory Dougan, RNU Easter Commemoration 2015Comrades and friends, i want to thank RNU Dundalk for inviting me to speak to you here today on this historic 99th anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916.

My theme today is the proclamation of 1916 and what it does and has meant to Republicans over the last 99 years, and also to outline some of the events we hope to put on in Dundalk to commemorate the forthcoming 100th anniversary of 1916.

I often ask myself what has made generations of Irish men and women in their thousands down through the years attend cemeteries the length and breadth of this island and beyond, as i read down the proclamation six words kept drawing my attention and they were ‘cherish all children of the nation equally’. I wondered what does this mean then and now, for me it means the right to live your life free from prejudice regardless of gender, colour, creed or sexual orientation and this is why we, a Republicans, must vote yes in the forthcoming 26 counties referendum on same sex marriage. It means that Dunnes Stores workers have the right to the end of zero hours contracts and to be represented by a trade union, i urge people not to pass their pickets when they are in place and we salute them and send them our best wishes and support. It means that 18 to 24 year olds have the right to full social welfare entitlements and we demand their full reinstatement. We say to Labour as loud as we can, shame on you and how dare you commemorate the men and women of the 1913 lockout , while in 2015 you hold workers and their families in economic bondage through the U.S charge, while you attack single parents and force the unemployed into schemes that perpetuates unemployment and the poverty that forces our young onto boats and planes to become another lost generation of emigrants. Cherishing all children of the nation equally means that those in mortgage distress must be treated with the same equality as the developers and speculators. We demand an end to the evictions policy of the banks, we must and will oppose this modern day landlordism, private tenants must be given legal protection and we call for an immediate end to rack renting.

The proclamation of 1916 was not and is not just a Brits out document, it was the most important document of the colonial 20th century. It sent a message of hope and inspiration to the colonial populations of the globe. When the Volunteers opened fire on the British Lancers that Easter morn, they were firing the opening shots of the end of the British empire, the proclamation led the foundation stone of the social fabric of a future new Republic founded on the equality of men and women.

Easter is a time for remembering our patriot dead, either on the field of battle or by the hand of God, and this is no exception. I had the great, but sad privilege of being part of the guard of honour at the funeral of Patsy Donnelly of Dundalk, sadly within a few weeks i attended the funeral of two other Republicans, one was a Dundalk man whom i had the honour of serving with in the ranks of the Republican movement in North Louth and South Down, a man who commanded the respect and admiration of all who knew him, John Flynn. Then I learned of the death of fellow Armagh man and again who I had been in the Republican movement with in my native city, he was one of the most fearless Republican soldiers ever to face the enemy in Armagh, that was Frankie Coxs. It would be remote of me not to mention another Dundalk man who saw active service during the 1956 border campaign, Mark McLoughlin. May the soil of the land they loved lay lightly on them.

This may be a skit to those lads over there (pointing toward the Special Branch in the cemetery) but sure, it’ll do them no harm. I was reading a book a few nights ago, in which it detailed how Tom Clarke almost escaped the firing squad but for an RIC man, Hoey, who collared him. And as i watched the Branch stop and harass Republicans as they tried to commemorate Irishmen who fell in battle, i thought to myself, well, maybe they’re here to commemorate Hoey. When your grandkids ask you, where were you on the 99th anniversary of the 1916 rising, you’ll be able to tell them that you were humbly commemorating those who gave their lives for Irish Freedom, not spying on your fellow Irishmen and women.

Next year is the 100th anniversary of the 1916 rising, we here in Dundalk will be putting on a huge programme of events. The first step will be a meeting after Easter to coordinate these events. I would like to extend an invitation to all to attend this meeting and ensure that the 100th anniversary will be a fitting tribute to all our generations who assembled here to honour our patriot dead. I want to close with these words, not addressed to you, but to the Republicans who aren’t here. Next year belongs to us all, let us commemorate it with diginity and without anger. The hand of friendship and comradery is here for you, you are welcome to be part of this truly historic event.

Go raibh maith agaibh.

Rory Dougan