Grasp the nettle

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An oration delivered to this year’s Ronan MacLochlainn Commemoration by Mr Francis Mackey, National Chairman of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.

 

The trajectory of Irish history has brought our struggle to a critical juncture. At times in that history republican actions determined the course of national events. Today, however, it is outside matters that are both influencing and dictating the national narrative.

Our contribution to that political narrative must be itself political but also infused with the true revolutionary spirit of understanding which tactics to choose and why. The revolutionary tradition in Ireland is structured upon truly revolutionary events and not blind adherence to sterile repetition.

In this modern age it is the innovation of our youth which is key to advancing our struggle. Our ability to convince them to engage with that struggle will be the measure of our fitness to claim to represent it.

This engagement moves far beyond the superficial lure of symbolism. We have as much duty to discourage the naive and reject the impatient as we do to educate the interested and be educated by them in turn.

Sacrifice must never be viewed as an emotive issue. There is no room for romance in a struggle that demands a clinical diligence. The vigour and enthusiasm of our youth is a national asset that no political sector on this island has a right to exploit or squander on misguided and reckless enterprises.

The focus for Irish republicanism now is to realign around a radical policy platform which addresses current political realities. The primary role of Irish youth in such a process is to bring contemporary relevance to such a policy platform and to be its principle advocate in bringing this message to their peers.

The spurious hereditary tradition that can afflict Irish Republicanism is a heresy to the individual thinking mind. The mantle of Irish Republicanism can only be inherited by those who have ideas to advance it.

The very essence of the doctrine of republicanism is the necessity of fresh and relevant ideas that speak to each generation and persuade them to act in both achieving and advancing a functioning sovereignty for the Irish people.

What strengthens our conviction in this belief is the sacrifice that young IRA Volunteer Ronan MacLochlainn made; and when we realise the magnitude of that sacrifice, we see very clearly the absolute validity of this strategic approach.

There are many ways in which we can remember and keep alive the vision which Ronan had for the Irish people. We can build monuments of engraved stone that can withstand the ravages of rain and time. We can inter his remains alongside some of the greatest revolutionaries that have made immense contributions to the struggle for Irish freedom.

Or we can build a monument of ideas, on the firm foundations of Ronan’s sacrifice, that reaches into the passion and ardour of our youth so as to reinvigorate the republican struggle and to once and for all get it over the line.

We make this call to the youth of Ireland; come to us with your ideas, with your criticisms, with your perceptions and with your alternatives. You will find in us a willing and openminded audience.

To all in the Republican family we say this: grasp the nettle of the reality which is staring you in the face. The momentary sting of that reality will pave into nothing set against a lifetime of regret for not having done so. We have already done so and now we are in honest discourse with the people of Ireland.

Beir Bua!

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