Monday, 31 December 2012

Challenge the powerful and rouse the down trodden

New Year Statement from the leadership of Republican Sinn Féin: Republican Sinn Féin extends fraternal New Year greetings to friends, comrades and supporters in Ireland and internationally. Millions of working class people in Ireland and across Europe will greet the coming year with a sense of fear and foreboding. The recent budget announced by the 26-County Administration shows that the unrelenting policy of austerity - dictated by their political masters in Brussels - is not only to be continued but increased, squeezing all sections of our people beyond breaking point. In the eyes of the political class and their media cheerleaders the working poor and unemployed, the elderly and the young are all expendable. The very concept of a society, which can educate its young, and care for its sick and elderly, is being sacrificed on the alter of the EU’s political and economic ideology of centralised authoritarianism and finance capitalism. The decision by the British Government to host the G8 Summit in Co Fermanagh on June 17 and 18 is highly symbolic and presents an opportunity for progressive forces to make the important connection between the old imperialism in the shape of British occupation of the Six Counties and the new imperialism represented by the economic colonisation of the 26 Counties by the EU/ECB/IMF troika. Republican Sinn Féin will be holding an alternative Anti-Imperialist Forum on the weekend before the G8 summit to present national as well as international alternatives to these twin imperialisms. For Irish Republicans our struggle is both political and economic, anything less would be to ignore the reality of imperialism and consequently to dilute our revolutionary programme. As with James Connolly we believe that it is not enough to merely remove the physical presence of imperialism in the form of British military occupation without creating a New Ireland based on real political and economic democracy; an All-Ireland Federal Democratic Socialist Republic. Ninety years after the death of Liam Mellows his teaching has never been more relevant: “If the Irish people do not control Irish industries, transport, money and soil of the country, then foreign or domestic capitalists will. And whoever control the wealth of a country and processes by which wealth is attained control also its government.” In the Six Counties the process of normalising British Rule continues with the designation of Derry as a “UK City of Culture”. Republican Sinn Féin will be actively opposing this hijacking of the historic Doire Colmcille throughout 2013. The recent revelations arising from the discredited Da Silva report into the murder of Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane by a British backed loyalist death-squad, exposes the true face of British rule in Ireland. Today nothing has changed, last year saw an increase in the repression of Republicans and 2013 promises more of the same. We will be once more campaigning for the unconditional release of political internee Martin Corey as well as veteran Republican Marian Price. We take this opportunity to extend New Year’s greetings to the Republican POWs in Maghaberry Prison and pledge them our unstinting support in the latest phase of their fight for political status. By suspending their protest the POWs have placed a serious onus on the Six-County Justice Minister David Ford and the Six-County Prison Service to speedily implement in full the August 2010 Agreement. As the centenary of the historic 1916 Rising approaches, other important centenaries must also be marked. Next year will see three significant centenaries all of which carry a pressing relevance for the Ireland of today. Next August will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the heroic 1913 Lockout when Irish workers struck a telling blow in the universal fight for human dignity and freedom. The coming year will also mark the centenaries of the founding of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, both of which would combine in 1916 to form the Irish Republican Army. All will be fittingly marked. For those who doubt the potency and power of history one has only to consider the words of the filmmaker George Morrison in reference to his masterful Mise Éire film covering the revolutionary period in Ireland from the 1890s to 1918: “ I regard Mise Éire as being a great anti-imperialist document.” History, if utilised correctly, can awaken and inspire the brightest and best of a generation to the possibilities of radical change in the present and the future. We must resist all attempts to sanitise and package our history in a way that will rob it of its meaning and message for the Ireland of today. Rather than merely commemorating the past we must set out a programme for the future that will challenge the powerful and rouse the down trodden. As Connolly warned a national movement must prove itself capable of: “formulating a distinct and definite answer to the problems of the present and a political and economic creed capable of adjustment to the wants of the future.” We appeal to the Irish people to awaken to the realisation that they possess the power to bring about true political and economic change, not the chattering classes in Leinster House. Electing politicians to the corrupt Lenister House institution will not deliver the revolutionary change that is demanded by the present political and economic conditions. As the only political organisation which rejects the two partition states in their entirety, Republican Sinn Féin is best positioned to lead the struggle for a New Ireland worthy of the ideals set out in the 1916 Proclamation. An Ireland which would harness our natural resources for the betterment of this and future generations, an Ireland which would truly “cherish all the children of the national equally.” In the lead up to 2016 we will be unveiling a series of seven specific polices covering areas such as natural resources, banking, economic development etc, all based on our political, social and economic polices Éire Nua and Saol Nua. We can only truly honour the men and women of 1916 by making the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week a reality for all sections of our people. In 2013 let the slogan of the 1913 Lockout ring in our ears: “The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise.” An Phoblacht Abú

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Grey Abbey martyrs honoured on 90th Anniversary

On Sunday December 16 in Kildare Town, Kildare Republican Sinn Féin held a commemoration to mark the 90th anniversary of the executions of seven soldiers of the Irish Republican Army by Free State Army. The executions took place in the Glasshouse on the Curragh on December 19 1922. The commemoration began at 2 pm with a parade, led by a colour party, from the Square in Kildare Town to Grey Abbey Cemetery. The ceremony at the Republican Plot was chaired by the An tUachtarán Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton and began with the laying of two wreaths. Anne Origan, Newbridge, a grandniece of Commandant Bryan Moore, laid the first wreath on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin. The second wreath was laid by Kevin Kavanagh, Co Wexford, on behalf of the South East Comhairle Ceantair of Republican Sinn Féin. This was followed by a minute’s silence and a dipping of the flag. Róisín Hayden, Dublin, read the Four Courts Proclamation, issued by the Republican leadership at the beginning of the war in defence of the All-Ireland Republic of 1922-23.

Republican Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member Seán Dolan, Co Westmeath gave the oration. He briefly outlined the events leading up to the executions of the seven IRA Volunteers. “These men dedicated their lives to the cause of the All-Ireland Republic and died in its defence. The recent riots in Belfast and across the Six Counties as well as the latest revelations relating to the murder by a British backed loyalist death-squad of human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, all point to the fact that only a full British withdrawal and the creation of a New Ireland north and south can deliver a just and lasting peace.” Seán Dolan said.

The seven members of the Rathbride Column executed were : Patrick Bagnall and Patrick Mangan, Fairgreen, Kildare; Joseph Johnston, Station Road, Kildare; Bryan Moore and Patrick Nolan, Rathbride, Kildare; Stephen White, Abbey St. Kildare and James O’ Connor, Bansha, Co. Tipperary. This was the single biggest execution of the civil war or counter-revolution of 1922-23. An eighth member of the column, Commandant Thomas Behan of Rathangan died at the scene of their capture in Mooresbridge on December 12 1922 as a result of the beating he received from Free State soldiers. The Free State Army later tried to cover up his murder by claiming he was “shot while trying to escape” from the Glass House.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Finucane murder exposes reality of British Occupation

Statement by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton

The latest revelations regarding the murder of Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane by a British-backed loyalist death squad in 1989 exposes the reality of British Occupation in Ireland. That the British Government was aware of the threat to Pat Finucane two months before his murder, a fact confirmed by journalist and author Ed Maloney, is particularly damning. We would share the view of the Finucane family that the De Silva Report is a: “…sham” and: “…a whitewash”, designed to protect the British Government and its institutions, including the covert intelligence force MI5.

As a result of the Stormont Agreement the position of MI5 in the Six Counties is now stronger than ever before. The Director of the Committee for the Administration of Justice (CAJ) Brian Gormally made the telling observation: “The reality is that MI5 – secret, unreformed and unaccountable – is now running one of the most sensitive areas of policing – covert national security.” This enhanced role includes the recruiting and running of agents like those who were instrumental in carrying the murder of Pat Finucane, such as Brian Nelson.

The De Silva Reports admits that 80% of the intelligence supplied to loyalist death squads came from the British Army’s  notorious Force Research Unit or the RUC Special Branch. This merely underlines their role as another arm of the British Crown forces. The activites of the loyalist death squads are a classic example of the counter-insurgency tactics set out by senior British Army General, Sir Frank Kitson in his books Gangs and Counter-Gangs and Low Intensity Operations. The murder of Pat Finucane was carried out as part of just such a carefully directed  campaign, designed to strike terror into the nationalist community. The British-backed loyalist death squad murder of lawyer Rosemary Nelson in 1999 also fits into this pattern.

The leopard does not change its spots, and as long as there is British occupation of any part of Ireland it will not hestitate to use such tactics on Irish people in the future.