Irish Republican News · January 9, 2016
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: New Year statements
New Year statements

2016clip.jpg

 

A round-up of statements issued by republicans to mark the New Year.

 

2016 a year for National Renewal, by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams

Next Thursday - January 7th 2016 - Sinn Fein will begin our commemorative year of events to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising. The first of these will take place in the Mansion House where the first democratically elected Irish parliament, Dail Eireann, met and pledged it’s allegiance to the Republic proclaimed in Easter 1916.

The Mansion House event will be a celebration of the lives and dedication and struggle of the men and women of 1916 and of subsequent generations. It will encompass music and theatre and speeches and will set the context for that historic period and its implications for today.

We are on the eve of a momentous year. This time a hundred years ago, republican men and women in all parts of this island and beyond were planning the overthrow of the British Empire in Ireland. It was a huge undertaking. The British Empire was at the height of its political and economic power. It was the biggest empire the world had ever seen. It’s colonies stretched across every inhabited continent and held hundreds of millions of people in subjection. They were the object of exploitation and repression.

Ireland was Britain’s first colony. But despite hundreds of years of occupation, of brutality and famine there remained a deeply held desire for freedom. This yearning was given shape by the republican philosophy of the late 18th century and the rebellion of 1798. At its core was and is a belief that all people are sovereign and equal. That people are citizens, not subjects. And that people have certain rights for living, including the right to food, to water, to a home and work and to health and education, and a decent environment.

Society must reflect the entirety of its people, not part of them. Why should gender or race or class or skin colour or creed give one group of human beings the ability to deny others of their full rights as citizens.

The men and women who participated in the 1916 Rising envisaged a Republic, where people had fundamental rights, not arbitrary privileges; where there was equality, not elitism; where there was unity, not partition and division. These beliefs were given expression in the Proclamation. That historic document is a clear statement of intent for an all-Ireland republic built on foundations of civil and religious liberty, social justice and equality for all citizens. It remains the guiding template for modern republicanism.

In April 1916 the Rising and the Proclamation of the Republic at the GPO rocked British imperialism to its core. It inspired liberation movements across the globe and over subsequent decades it successfully rolled back colonialism leading to the freedom of many nations and hundreds of millions of people.

Regrettably there was a counter revolution which succeeded in partitioning the island and witnessed the creation of two conservative states. The freedom won by those who gave their lives in 1916 and in other periods has been squandered by those who attained political power on their backs. Consequently, we still don’t have that Republic; we still lack equality, fundamental rights, unity and sovereignty.

But as Padraic Pearse said to those who sentenced him to death at his court martial on the eve of his execution; “You cannot conquer Ireland. You cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom. If our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom, then our children will win it by a better deed.”

The Centenary year is a unique opportunity for a step change in the struggle to achieve Irish freedom and positively transform Irish politics and society.

2016 is also an election year North and South and Sinn Fein will stand candidates on a progressive republican and anti-austerity platform across this island.

In the South, citizens will have an important opportunity to get rid of this bad Fine Gael/Labour Government whose tenure has been marked by destructive austerity policies which have deepened social inequality.

Sinn Fein is committed to delivering a fair recovery by working towards a progressive, republican government.

In the North we will continue to stand up for working families, vulnerable citizens and the development of the economy and public services.

The recent Fresh Start Agreement allows the political process and institutions to proceed on a new and stable basis.

Sinn Fein is committed to resolving the issues of the past, supporting victims of the conflict and promoting reconciliation and healing.

We will continue to campaign for the return of more political powers and economic levers from London to the island of Ireland.

But the greatest safeguard against Tory misrule in the north and the austerity politics of the conservative parties in the south is the peaceful ending of partition and the building of an agreed, united Ireland a real republic.

In this important year, working together, the people of Ireland can make important steps towards a genuine republic and a citizen-centred, rights based society.

 

IRSP New Year Statement 2016

‘Let us celebrate resistance, evaluate, reorganise and finish the task’

The Irish Republican Socialist Party sends New Year greetings to members, supporters, imprisoned comrades and international allies and salute them for their continued commitment to the cause of National liberation and socialism in Ireland and beyond. We look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with you all again in 2016 as we continue with our important work.

The O’Hara and McGlinchey families have a special place in our hearts at this time of year we take this opportunity to humbly let them know they are still in our thoughts.

2015 delivered many challenges for the IRSP and the wider working class movement. Questions were asked of our political position and our activists yet the entire Republican Socialist Movement can hold its head up as all decisions taken kept us on the correct side of the barricades. Every action taken over the last 12 months was carried out in the best interests of our country and our class.

Merging Republican Socialism into the everyday struggles of our class, and becoming ideological ambassadors within our communities is the most transparent and honest way we can continue to grow. If we are to exist in the spirit of James Connolly and the Citizen Army we must be accountable to our class and protectors of our communities. As leaders we should hold ourselves to higher standards, the class war is our lifelong vocation.

Watching our class being crushed under the weight of the neo-liberalist agenda has been a bitter experience for us all. The collective suffering of our communities due to the deliberate corrosion of; education, health, social care, arts, public transport, public and private employment, housing, water, social welfare and infrastructure provision all over the 32 counties has left scars that will never be healed.

Watching our national assets, natural resources, fisheries and all those things guaranteed to us within the 1916 Proclamation, being sold to the highest corporate bidder has cast a stain on the soul of the Irish nation. London and Brussels are not content to strip our material wealth they will not stop until they have stripped us of our hope. This is the sobering reality of contemporary Ireland.

While acknowledging this uncomfortable reality, however, it is undeniable that the political landscape in Ireland is slowly changing, an organically led culture of resistance against austerity is emerging in opposition to years of ideologically driven cultural and economic oppression, we salute all those behind them and encourage them to nurture the discontent they have successfully tapped into.

As regards the occupied Six Counties, again we declare that any involvement in the institutions of Stormont can only shore up the occupation and legitimise partition. The IRSP hold that there is no strategic merit in administering our own occupation nor in implementing neo-liberalism on behalf of the Tory government in Britain. At present, we view elections to the Dail in the same manner, a diversion at very least. Change must come from below.

We refuse to implement our own poverty, whether it’s source lies in London or Brussels, we declare again our utter rejection of foreign interference in the affairs of the Irish working class.

There remains no parliamentary road to Socialism in Ireland or Europe and we caution those on the left who would lead working class into the cul-de-sac of constitutionalism alone.

Capitalism cannot be reformed. Those who have vested interests in the continuation of the capitalist system will use all in their power to destroy the Working Class agenda should we limit our methods to parliamentary politics. Our class enemies will destroy the fabric of society before relinquishing any real power, they must be made to feel the impact of grassroots resistance.

The means must be seized by the working class themselves.

2016 is a historic year in our countries struggle against Imperialism and it’s baneful manifestations. The IRSP will not be party to the chorus of empty waffle which will emanate from Free State and counter-revolutionary corners.

We view the centenary as an opportunity to celebrate the proud culture of Irish resistance as a time to evaluate the past hundred years and reorganise with a view to finishing the task.

Our itinerary of events to mark the 1916 Rising will reflect this. We will celebrate a centenary of struggle marking the continuity of our unfinished revolution. From the Citizens Army to the Republican Congress, the Left Republican tendency that developed within the united Republican Movement, the formation of the Officials to the Irish Republican Socialist Party and Irish National Liberation Army’s later emergence in 1974 and on to the present day.

Since the summer, the entire Irish Republican Socialist Movement has absorbed attacks from both the British and Free State regimes, in punishment for our decisions in how best to commemorate our fallen. We have seen dozens of our party activists arrested, homes raided, IRSP offices ransacked, our supporters harassed and attempts to turn some of our members into state agents.

The IRSP never asked for any quarter during the armed conflict, as we afforded none, and that position remains the same. We caution those who would seek to suppress us or the Irish working class. Beware the thing that is risen.

We look forward into 2016 with renewed enthusiasm we send solidarity greetings to all other principled Republicans and Socialists preparing for struggle and facing the important year of 2016. Saoirse go Deo

 

RNU New Year statement 2016

‘The road to the Republic goes through the community’

2016 provides us with a unique opportunity to build upon the sturdy foundations laid down by our forefathers. We must in good conscience, remember the past sacrifices, immerse ourselves in our stolen and censored heritage and embrace our patriotic duties to attain our birth right, the freedom of our country. It will be with heavy but proud hearts that we will take our place in commemorating the 100th anniversary of 1916. RNU believe that we are all custodians of the legacy of 1916, and feel exacerbated by the efforts of some, to validate their own 1916 credentials to the detriment of others.

We would ask that all principled Republicans take a moment at this New Year, to pause and reflect on the role that we are each playing in the struggle for Irish freedom. The declaration of the Irish Republic in Easter week 1916 set about a course in Irish history which sees us, following in a long line of Republicans, still fighting the forces of occupation on both sides of the line of partition. What an amazing time this is as we approach the Centenary Year. While we must pay tribute to the historic events of 1916, we must remember that as we enter 2016, 100 years later, we still have British occupation on our island. Battles have been fought, won and lost, but the struggle for National Liberation isn’t over, in fact, it is being rejuvenated by a generation of young, politicised Republicans who are willing to step forward and serve the struggle in any capacity required. This generation of Republicans, armed with a potent ideology and more importantly - ideas - are rooted in the past, working in the present and looking toward the future, as determined as they are positive that they will bring the struggle to a successful conclusion.

We must continue to strive to build a Republic free from partition and external interference; owned by the Irish people; run by the Irish people for the Irish people. An Irish Republic that promotes equality and social inclusion for all. A Republic that continues to evolve and embrace social and political liberation.

There is no doubt that 2015 has presented challenges to our activists, firstly in the guise of a heightened political policing policy, carefully implemented across the Island. Both North and South, we see activists dealing with levels of harassment that are totally unacceptable, but testament to their sterling work. We have also been met with such diatribes of innuendo and indistinguishable accusations of criminality. Despite the best efforts of state forces, and others to plot ceaselessly to silence us, our message is being heard. With our increasing membership and varying demographic, we see this as hugely indicative of the relevance of our political ideology to today’s electorate. The state will have allocated an abundant of resources to drown out the Revolutionary Republican message, however it will be Republican activists alone that will, through action, create the space in which the message will flourish. This will require discipline, integrity and a replication of the ingenuity shown by past generations of Republican activists

We are entering a New Year with the burden of Occupation weighing heavily on the shoulders of our communities. Another year where we have seen Internment being readily used in a bid to extinguish any challenge to the current political status quo. We have watched as our imprisoned comrades have endured demoralising forced strip searches and controlled movement. Another year where the silence on such issues has been shamefully deafening from many quarters.

We must pay tribute to our activists, imprisoned comrades and their families who, again, have not been found lacking when called upon. And indeed, our supporters both at home and abroad. Your continued contributions can never be underestimated.

The tsunami of devastation that is suicide crashed heavily through our communities in recent months. The comradeship and support delivered by our membership was and continues to be an example to all. Republican Network for Unity, in its entirety, will continue to emulate the great work being carried out by our Beal Feirste comrades in their endeavours to raise awareness and offer support wherever and whenever possible, throughout 2016 and beyond.

To our membership; You have truly led by example. Under very difficult and trying circumstances, your comradery has been second to none. Your dedication and commitment to your community was again unwavering and steadfast. You were and continue to be a credit, not only to the Network but to the Republican movement as a whole.

We start 2016 with the burden of austerity, again, firmly laid at the feet of working class families across the Island. The “Fresh Start” agreement is a smoke screen being used to deflect from the reality of austerity across the occupied six counties. We see it as another attempt to normalise the Westminster governance of the six counties. It has also illuminated those who masquerade as friends of the working class communities. It has served a purpose in allowing the blinkered vision of those who worshipped the false gods on the hill, to become transparent. As we cautiously await the forthcoming 26 county elections, we shall encourage the swift demise of the abusers of the Irish people. We shall promote a mandate of equality and social inclusion for all.

To those of you who may have veered from the path, we would remind you of those who have gone before us and ask that you do not allow their sacrifice be in vain. In a year when it will be very socially acceptable to remember our Republican roots, it is our duty to continue the fight for an end to partition. Many Irish men and women will visit the graves and mourn the loss of patriots who have since left this mortal coil. Republican Network for Unity ask that you also remember the patriots that are imprisoned today for fighting the same enemy. Let your contribution to the Centenary commemorations be your participation in the fight for justice and human rights for the POWs. The prison struggle has not ended. Today’s POWs are not any less important than those who have gone before. Their sacrifice and that of their families must never be forgotten. They picked up the gauntlet and ran with it. The POWs have continued the fight. We must do the same. Republican Political Prisoners are the nucleus of resistance, the vanguard in the Republican struggle. What they lose, we lose. What they win, we win and each victory contains successes for the Irish people as a whole.

At a time when the welfare of entire Irish people has been systematically diminished and undervalued, we must place an emphasis on unity, creating an appropriate framework to establish a 32 County Socialist Republic from our sound political ideological base. We must continue to solidify our position on the political spectrum of Ireland. We shall work tirelessly to aspire to the ideals contained within the 1916 proclamation. We will continue to stand with the people in all of their daily struggles, for these struggles are the foundations upon which a new Republic will be built. The road to the Republic goes through the community. We have come to appreciate the need to recognise, respect and embrace difference across the community. In this spirit of unity, let us envelop the challenges ahead with dignity and fortitude.

May 2016 bring justice to our people and unity to our Island.

Beidh an tsaoirse a linne!

 

New Year Statement 2016 of the 32 County Sovereignty Committee

2016 is a year which will define Irish republicanism as it relates to how near or far Irish republicanism is from achieving its basic objectives. The true inheritors of those who proclaimed the Irish Republic in 1916 are those who will re-establish that Republic and restore national sovereignty to the Irish people. Claiming the mantle of Irish republicanism can only be expressed in deeds which realistically bring republican objectives closer to fruition.

The forthcoming centenaries of the most seminal events in republican history afford contemporary republicans an unparalleled point of focus around and within which we can maximise our collective efforts. This political environment demands of Irish republicanism much more than rhetoric and commemoration. It demands that we set to one side our perceived differences, replace loyalty to organisation with loyalty to objective, and forge a route forward. We are not alone in stating this, let alone thinking it, but 2016 must be the year that makes this happen or Irish republicanism will founder.

Those who fought in 1916 were not ignorant of the national and international political context in which they chose to act. This is the salient lesson we must learn. Over the coming years the issue of national sovereignty will be to the fore not simply due to the centenaries but of political movement within Britain and Europe. Scottish independence is within reach. Britain’s exit from the EU is on the agenda. Within England there are growing demands for a Parliament and Laws to reflect an English identity. All these issues have a bearing on the continuance of partition and republicans must be to the fore in articulating our analysis as to why partition should end.

For our part the 32 County Sovereignty Movement lodged the terms for peace in Ireland at the United Nations. But we recognise that this is not enough. It is not enough merely to exist, as with republican organisations, they must act with pragmatism and bring forth fresh initiatives to make the republican argument politically relevant. The 32CSM takes this opportunity to invite all republican organisations to bring to the table their strategies to advance our shared goals. We ourselves will be doing this in due course as we believe it is essential that Irish republicanism adapts itself to the political context it which it finds itself.

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement calls upon the British Government to remove its violation of Irish national sovereignty and to allow the Irish people to exercise our right to national self-determination. In advance of such a declaration we call upon the British government to act logically on its own declaration of having no selfish, strategic or economic reasons for remaining in Ireland and withdraw its claim to sovereignty over the Six Counties and the political institutions therein.

As Irish republicans we have no fear of democratic debate about Ireland’s future. If the issue of sovereignty over the Six Counties was lodged in trust with the UN the people of Ireland are best placed to determine its final destination.

We note that within the British Labour Party there are calls to stand candidates in the Six County area. We call upon the newly elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to reject this and to recognise that to stand such candidates in that part of Ireland would be an act of British imperialism and totally contrary to the declared beliefs of Mr Corbyn. We further ask Mr Corbyn to engage with Irish republicans to put in place political and constitutional mechanisms to once and for all bring peace to Ireland. We will be sending Mr Corbyn a copy of our UN Submission so that he can be in no doubt at what needs to be central in any such engagement.

We extend New Year greetings to all Irish republican prisoners and their families. We send fraternal greetings to all republican and socialist groups, nationally and international, who continue to struggle for a just and sovereign Ireland.

 

New Year Statement from the Leadership of Republican Sinn Fein

Republican Sinn Fein extends New Year’s greetings to friends, supporters and members both in Ireland and internationally. We also salute the Republican prisoners in Maghaberry.

The coming year will be the most significant year of commemoration for this generation. The 1916 Rising was a seminal moment in Irish revolutionary history. It was an assertion in arms of Ireland’s claim to nationhood. In its historical context it came amidst the turmoil of the First World War, as the European imperial powers turned Europe into a charnel house in pursuit of their own territorial ambitions of European and world domination. The 1916 Rising transformed the political landscape of Ireland. It shaped the politics of Ireland for the remainder of the twentieth century. Attitudes as to the legitimacy or otherwise of that Republic of Easter Week would dictate the political division of nationalist Ireland right up to the present day.

1916 is not merely an historical event which can be taken down from the shelf every few years and dusted off like some neglected family heirloom, admired and then conveniently shelved again for another generation or two. It is an event, which still speaks to the Ireland of the 21st Century. It is this fact, which most unsettles the chattering classes in Leinster House and elsewhere.

The centenary of 1916 will see Irish people travel from all over the world to be here in order to commemorate and celebrate this seminal moment in our history. It is wonderful to see so many young people anxious to learn about 1916 and what it represents. However we must guard against those who would attempt to divert that energy and intellectual curiosity by sanitising it in order to rob if of its essential meaning.

The 26-County State came about through the suppression of the All-Ireland Republic proclaimed in 1916; its foundation moment lies in the passage of the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 through the British Parliament at Westminster and not the reading of the Proclamation at the GPO on Easter Monday 1916. They have no legitimacy in commemorating 1916; the 26-County State is a negation of everything that the All-Ireland Republic stood for as articulated in the 1916 Proclamation. This decade will see other centenaries which will be equally and even more uncomfortable for the political establishment of both partition states. The Treaty of Surrender and the Counter-Revolution of 1921-23 undermine the foundation myth of the 26-County State, they are a reminder of its true origins and the undemocratic and violent nature of its coming into being.

For Irish Republicans 1916 is not merely an historical event to be marked. It is unfinished business. Ireland remains partitioned and the north-eastern corner of our nation remains under British occupation. Its ultimate goals have yet to be achieved and we can only truly honour it by working for those ideals. The revolutionary generation of 1913 to 1923 are an example of what people can achieve when they come together in pursuit of a common goal and ideal. For the Ireland of today people should draw on that inspiration in facing the social and economic war that has been waged on them by both partition states. As Irish Republicans we draw inspiration from the past as we look to the future. By articulating authentic Irish Republicanism, by working on the ground throughout the 32 Counties and abroad we are keeping alive the ideals and ideas the inspired the men and women of 1916. We put forward with confidence our alternative to the failed and discredited partitonist system, a system that was imposed on the Irish people by threat of immediate and terrible war in 1921.

The forthcoming 26-County elections will see Leinster House political parties promise change while mouthing platitudes about the ideals of 1916. We say to people don’t be fooled by those who pretend that they can deliver change through the same tired old political channels. However well-intentioned their efforts are all are bound to end in failure and the humiliation of implementing what they set out purportedly to change. Participating in Leinster House or Stormont are not revolutionary actions.

However those on the left who think that Leinster House can be a vehicle for revolutionary social, political or economic change are greatly mistaken. Once you accept the legitimacy of the State and its obligations to the EU and international finance capitalism you are immediately shackled to the same programme of neo-liberal economics that has decimated people and nations across Europe and in the developing world. Irish Republicans have always recognised this and so have refused to be enmeshed in apparatus of partition or British rule. It is for the same reason we refuse to engage with the political arm of the new imperialism in the form of the EU. Those who think that they can ride both horses, the constitutional and the revolutionary, fail to learn the lessons of history. We call on people not to be distracted by those who promise much and deliver little. Hold out for real revolutionary change.

On February 20 we will launch our programme of events for the centenary at a Seminar entitled Who Fears to Speak of Easter Week. The national 1916 Centenary commemoration will take place on Saturday, April 23 and this will be followed by four provincial commemorations as well as events in England, Scotland, the United States and Europe. We urge all who can to attend these events as well as organising events at county and local level. We must give the lead in commemorating the sacrifice of the men and women of 1916.

As the only political organisation still committed to the undiluted gospel of revolutionary Irish Republicanism and the re-establishment of the All-Ireland Republic of Easter Week it is our duty to ensure that the message of 1916 is carried forward and acted upon. The forces of reaction and revisionism are attempting to rob us of our history, of its meaning and relevance in order to make our people compliant and subservient to the present day forces of political and economic imperialism. Instead we must reaffirm ownership of that history. The revolutionary generation of a century ago were men and women of vision. They showed us by their example what can be achieved by ordinary people when they unite together on the basis of principle and idealism.

© 2016 Irish Republican News