Statements issued by republican groups to mark the anniversary of the Easter Rising.
Republican Network for Unity
Friends and comrades thank you for attending our Easter commemoration at our noble patriot Sean McCaughey’s graveside. This is a truly momentous occasion not only because we join here together and remember Ireland’s Patriot dead, but because this is the first year that Republican Network for Unity have held an Easter commemoration in Milltown Cemetery. We wish to project the strength of our rejuvenated movement in everything we do, through our commentary, lobbying and activism. We do this while maintaining our principles, we adhere to the vision of the 1916 signatories and will not waver in our pursuit for an all-Ireland Republic, we do this despite envious detractors who speak much but do very little, other than to criticise and cause resentment within the Republican Community.
We are weeks away from another Stormont election, the partitionist assembly, without delving too deeply into rhetoric, we have no doubt the calls for a unity poll will increase, especially if the media predictions are an indication of the new alignment within the assembly, placing Sinn Féin as a majority over the DUP. We urge caution, this will not bring about a poll, but it will strengthen its position, the truth and reality is, that only the British Government, on the advice of the Secretary of State can hold a unity poll in the occupied 6 counties. We will face very difficult decisions, but we should only vote based on what we know to be true facts, not influenced by the propaganda, the outlining fact is that we call this poll a unity poll with purpose, and that is because it can only bring reunification, it will not create an Irish Republic and it is doubtful that it will create a new Ireland any different from the corrupted capitalist hotbed it is today.
Unionism is in a state of flux, its political parties are at odds, their community is divided and it seems that the UVF and the UDA are content on bringing violence back into the equation, with hoax attacks in Belfast and also in Warrenpoint. In reality unionism has its own arrogant triumphalism to blame for its current situation, they campaigned ardently for Brexit, backing the Tories without thoughts beyond their narrow view of unionism, they truly have sown the seeds of their own demise. However, the prospect of any unification of Ireland via the institutions of the British State are negligible to the point that they don’t exist. We ask that you do not fall victim to false promises, do not fall victim to the ambiguity of the Good Friday Agreement, watch objectively and realise that the time for action is now, we cannot wait for constitutional arrangements to conveniently align, our liberation depends upon our ability to create change now.
As Irish Republicans we should embrace and live by the socialism of our noble patriot James Connolly, “the day has passed for patching up the capitalist system, it must go.” It is without doubt that Connolly, if alive today, would be opposed to the continued partition of our country and to the corrupt institutions who govern in the name of the people, because the people in power today are no different to those who he fought against at home and internationally in his own time, to paraphrase, all our efforts will be in vain if we allowed the changing of a flag to determine our freedom, we are not free under the Union Jack and we are no more Free under the Irish Tricolour, only in the creation of the Socialist Republic, only when the people can determine their own future, own the spoils of their own land can we ever be free. In his work Labour in Irish History, Connolly concluded that the middle and upper classes had too many economic ties to the English Capitalist system and that only the working class remained the uncorrupted inheritors of the fight for Irish Freedom, and that they are as he viewed the only secure foundation that a free nation can be built upon. These are the values we hold true to this is the vision we pursue and will continue to fight for until we have achieved, the task is as ever, daunting but we who remain faithful will not only inherit the Republic we will create it. It should not be forgotten how pivotal Connolly was in the labour movement in Ireland, through publications like The Irish Worker and his involvement in the Irish Socialist Republican Party and Irish Transport and General Worker’s Union, on the eve of the Dublin Lockout in 1913 Connolly wrote;
“All the capitalist newspapers of Friday last join in urging, or giving favourable publicity to the views of others urging the employers of Dublin to join in a general lock-out of the members of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. It is as well. Possibly some such act is necessary in order to make that portion of the working class which still halts undecided to understand dearly what it is that lies behind the tyrannical and brow-beating attitude of the proprietors of the Dublin tramway system. The fault of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union! What is it? Let us tell it in plain language. Its fault is this, that it found the labourers of Ireland on their knees, and has striven to raise them to the erect position of manhood; it found them with all the vices of slavery in their souls, and it strove to eradicate these vices and replace them with some of the virtues of free men.”
Another formidable force of the labour struggle in Ireland, Jim Larkin was to the forefront of the action taken during the lockout. During the lockout, Larkin became the embodiment of the working class, calling for change in working and living conditions. Larkin would bring trade disputes into the mainstream conscience of the Irish people and of history, he made it popular by linking the strikes into an overall moral struggle for humanity. Larkin struck a chord with the working-class regions of Dublin, and Ireland as a whole, he spoke for the common person echoing a nationalistic tone that was less cutting than Connolly’s, but got the message across. The message of both these men is as clear today, the working class must rise up off our knees and achieve our destiny, complete our struggle for national and personal liberation.
Standing here today at the graveside of Sean McCaughey we remember his sacrifice alongside his comrades, he was brave in the face of tyranny and hungered for his right to be recognised as a political prisoner, like his comrades before him and those after him. Seán was born in Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone in 1915 and in 1921 his family moved to Ardoyne in Belfast. He joined Conradh na Gaeilge and later the IRA, rising to senior command. At the time of his arrest in Dublin in 1941 he was acting Chief of Staff. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he was sent to Portlaoise Prison. The regime was extremely harsh and IRA prisoners who refused to wear the prison uniform were held in isolation, 24 hours a day, clad only in blankets. IRA internees were released from the Curragh Camp as the world war ended in 1945 but sentenced prisoners remained in Portlaoise. After years of this treatment Seán McCaughey began a hunger strike on 19 April 1946 and a thirst strike on 24 April. The Fianna Fáil government refused all appeals on his behalf and he died in the early hours of 11 May 1946. A rushed inquest was held in the prison at which the prison doctor admitted that he would not treat his dog the way Seán McCaughey had been treated in Portlaoise. He was later buried here in Milltown Cemetery where we stand, thousands of people attended his funeral, it warms our heart that so many have again turned out to remember patriots like Sean McCaughey.
We have been gripped recently by another war in Europe, this time in Ukraine, with a Russian invasion, prompted by NATO aggression. Whichever side you fall on in this conflict or whatever your views are, the hypocrisy of the western world should not be overlooked. Boris Johnson the British Prime Minister had the audacity to claim that Ukraine’s Sovereignty must be respected, he says this while Britain withholds an integral part of the Irish Nation, the occupied 6 counties of Ulster. Respecting sovereignty must be a colloquial term of Westminster that only applies to nations they haven’t actively destroyed and pillaged, we all remember their efforts during the so-called war of terror and how many nations that destroyed. We say resolutely today, Britain, get out of our country! We don’t expect your acknowledgment or your respect and nor do we seek it.
To the criminal elements who are masquerading as republicans, your time is up, the republican movement and community will no longer tolerate your presence, you have been exposed time and again and we will continue to confront you openly.
To those genuine republicans who still believe in the use of armed struggle as a first response, we once again ask for you to re-evaluate your position, we speak both to groups and to the individuals within the groups, if you want to forge a new and progressive way forward for your people and community you are more than welcome to join us on the journey.
Our movement did not shy away nor did we hide away during the Covid pandemic, the reality is long before the state and the establishment parties we were on the streets delivering much needed resources for those most vulnerable, this is no conjecture but factual. We spearheaded breakfast clubs for children who came from impoverished areas which were further inflicted with hardship during the pandemic. The fuel crisis is something that has been ongoing for years those most vulnerable in our community have been struggling to heat or eat long before it became a problem for the mass public, again Republican Network for Unity was there we provided fuel, we gave the security that our people needed when they needed it most.
We do not mention these things to be congratulated, we do so to inspire, to make people realise that we are one with the people and we are committed to building a political model from the community, by the community that will produce a politics that performs for the community. Empowering you towards achieving the best possible society you can have, to have a government that represents you fully, not a fractured governance that only serves to keep the people in poverty and continue to give tax breaks for the profiteering elites.
Mental health worsening during the pandemic was epidemic, we already had programs in place that where both supportive and frontline initiatives that have since been taken on by the community, these initiatives have created services that have saved countless lives across the north. We are currently involved in a number of residents associations and charity groups across the entirety of Ireland, these are just examples of the work we have been doing since we have rejuvenated our movement. We are eager to continue our membership expansion in the 26 counties which is becoming more promising with each passing week, the opportunities that this has opened for our movement to grow can not be undervalued and from this, new initiatives will emerge in the coming months. Why sit on the side lines of the revolution, it’s time to take part, it’s time to make a difference and build from a truly grassroots level. The term revolution is often over used and seen as mere rhetoric used by a litany of Republican groups over the last few decades, but we are making detrimental change not only to people’s lives but to how the establishment engages with our communities and how our communities view the establishment, it may be slow, but change is happening and change is a new paradigm and we are to the forefront of change right now.
Easter is much more to us than laying wreaths and remembering our brave and fallen comrades throughout the generations, it is an opportunity to harness their spirit and rejuvenate ourselves with a sense of honour and purpose, to strive forward and achieve our ultimate goal, that of the Irish Republic. But we must ensure that it is a Republic for the people and created by the people, there is no constitutional arrangement that give us that opportunity, so we must forge a new way, however difficult it may be, we owe each and every Republican throughout the generations who went out and fought against the British State, we owe them a debt and we in Republican Network for Unity seek to fulfil that debt.
“I know now what I have always felt, that the Irish nation can never die. Let our present-day place hunters condemn our action as they will, posterity will judge us a right from the effects of our actions.” These are the words of our leader and patriot Sean Mac Diarmada, written just before his execution. We to are being looked upon with scorn for the decisions we have taken, but ultimately we believe the course we have begun is the right course, it is not the easy course, but we believe it is a foundation for the path that will lead to the Irish Republic and true freedom for our people, this is not elitism, it is belief, and we cannot do it alone, we will continue to work and urge like minded republicans to come to our table and join us, contribute and help build the foundation for the path ahead.
An Phoblacht Abu.
Leadership of the Republican Movement (Republican Sinn Féin)
On this the 106th anniversary of the Easter Rising the Leadership pf the Republican Movement send greetings to Irishmen and Irishwomen at home and abroad. We welcome home Jonathan Hawthorn who was incarcerated in Portlaoise Prison as a political prisoner. Well done Jonathan for your dignified stand under stressful conditions.
As we go forward let us not forget our comrades who have passed on since last Easter and we especially remember Vol Dan Hoban, Chief-of-Staff of the Irish Republican Army. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anamacha.
We take this opportunity to send salutations to Sinn Féin Poblachtach, the true Sinn Féin organisation. Your principled stand is in total contrast to the quislings that brought your name into Leinster House and Stormont. Their grovelling apologies for IRA actions for their own electoral benefit is treachery. They have no right or authority to speak on behalf of the Republican Movement.
We declare that we are the one true Republican Movement; our history tells that we have never deviated from our Republican position or responsibilities bestowed on us by a previous generation.
One hundred years ago our Republic was betrayed and abandoned by reformist elements in positions of great authority. The reformists won a Dáil vote on the Treaty of Surrender through fear of “Immediate and terrible war” by the British government. However, our comrades of that generation did not give in to the threats and hand over our Republic to the British/Free State alliance. Volunteers of the previous years’ struggle along with new recruits continued with the struggle. Every generation of Republicans have done so; let this generation be no different.
To every Irish man and woman and especially the youth who honestly believe in the cause of Irish Republicanism we take this opportunity to say to you to take a step forward and join the ranks of the Republican Movement. We will not be found wanting in welcoming you into the ranks. We have the motivation and experience to provide you with leadership with which to play your part as a dutiful citizen of the Irish Republic in opposing the British occupation in the Six Counties.
The Republican Movement wants quality not quantity; we are aware of foreign and native attempts to infiltrate us. We are also aware of confusion among the people as to who is the Republican Movement. Once again let us be clear, the Republican Movement consists of its constituent branches, including Sinn Féin Poblachtach, Cumann na mBan and Na Fianna Éireann. Confusion is caused by the many groups which cropped up over the last two decades, originating from the reformist 1986 betrayal. Put your trust in our organisation which has never deviated from the true path of Irish Republicanism.
To the Irish abroad (our exiled children as the 1916 Proclamation called you) once again we call on you for assistance. We ask you to follow in the footsteps of Michael Flannery and George Harrison. Your help will be very much appreciated. Wherever Irish communities are found throughout the world so too should a branch of the Republican Movement.
The British State is pumping billions of pounds into the security infrastructure of the Six Occupied Counties. Is this asign of British disengagement or that a settlement has been reached? No, it is not. The Irish people must be aware that there is nothing normal about the Six-County State or Stormont as it is being portrayed by the partitionist political elite and a compliant media. There are more security personnel per capita in the Six Counties than in any part of Britain or the 26 Counties. As long as the Six Counties are occupied Irish Republicans will continue to oppose Britain’s presence here. MI5 agents are placed throughout Ireland.Britain remains on a war footing to hold our Six Counties.
We continue to uphold the traditional Republican policy that we oppose all military power blocs, and we reject the recent demands by some Free State politicians to end the policy of neutrality and join NATO.
The hypocrisy of Free State leaders as they support the right of the people in a foreign country to use armed struggle against an invader while denying the right of Irish people to do likewise to rid Ireland of the British presence is striking. But then the Free State is a British creation as is partition.
On the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry it was indeed sickening to see Irish citizens cheering and welcoming the “Para prince” Charles Windsor on a recent visit to Ireland.The visit is all part of a Free State/British policy to normalise British rule in the Six Counties.
In conclusion the Leadership of the Republican Movement wishes to thank all who have assisted the Republican cause over the past year and call on you to continue this good work.
Onwards to freedom.
An Phoblacht Abú!
32 County Sovereignty Movement
The greatest monument we can erect to our patriot dead is the sovereign republic for which they made the ultimate sacrifice. And in the struggle to establish that republic their sacrifice must be the driving force behind today’s generation.
The mantle of Irish republicanism can only be inherited by those who have ideas to advance it. This is the critical task that faces contemporary republicanism and today, republicans are engaging with each other in the development of the following ideas as a way forward.
We reaffirm the lawful assertion in the 1916 Proclamation that the sovereignty of the people of Ireland is inalienable and indefeasible. We also reaffirm our position that the continuing violation of that sovereignty by the Westminster Parliament remains the root cause of the Anglo-Irish conflict.
Let us remind ourselves and others of what was laid down so trenchantly on that Easter Monday morning and let us ask ourselves to what extent, if any, have these objectives been realised.
• The Irish Republic was proclaimed a Sovereign Independent State
• The Irish Republic was proclaimed sovereign and indefeasible
• The Irish Republic guaranteed the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland
• The Irish Republic promised to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.
It is a cause of deep regret to all true and genuine Irish republicans that we have been prevented from implementing these important and laudable actions. Prevented by foreign imperialism on one hand and by mendacious, greedy local interests on the other. This was the counter-revolutionary alliance which combined to overthrow the Irish Republic one hundred years ago. It is a right-wing alliance that remains in place to this day.
The violent imposition of partition in our country continues to be a crime against the democratic, cultural and economic development of the Irish people. All treaties and Parliamentary Acts, be it from London, Dublin or Stormont, that seek to sanitise the counter democratic function of partition, are culpable in that crime.
The narrative of partition has developed the insidious concept that there exists two Irelands on the island. In a grotesque contortion of democratic norms the constitutional future of our country is subject to a gerrymandered veto, under complete British legislative control. This is precisely what a Border Poll constitutes.
The fundamental counter narrative of Irish republicans is that there is one Ireland, and its constitutional status is defined in the first instance by our sovereignty, and that our governance is determined by one sovereign vote of the Irish people.
Just as at the beginning of the 20th century, when the rationale behind the granting of Home-Rule was not to give Ireland independence, but to keep Ireland within the Empire’s orbit of control so too today, faced with the inevitability of change, the forces of contemporary imperialism, Britain, the EU and the United States continue to ensure that Ireland remains a colony of the powerful.
In this project they have, yet again, found allies among the Irish. A coalition government in Dublin siding with NATO, beholden to foreign capital and rejecting any move towards ending partition. And a parliamentary opposition that is ambivalent about its relationship with the British Royal Crown.
More than ever the struggle for political and economic autonomy must become one. The Democratic Programme of Dáil Eireann was the social programme of the Irish revolution. Its core ethos reflected the political understanding of Pearse and Connolly, that the welfare of the people can only be secured in a sovereign Republic, where the people exercise democratic control over all facets of our society and economy.
The carefully fostered divisions that the British strategically engineered to maintain its occupation can only be addressed by our own revolutionary programme which sets out in clear terms the inclusive structure of the republican position.
We must recognise that these divisions are nurtured by partition, and in the event that the violation of our sovereignty ends, the legacy of these divisions will continue.
Irish national sovereignty is predicated on the two principal constituencies of Irish society, citizens and communities, functioning for their mutual benefit. The development of the infrastructure necessary to resource society must be in harmony with the structure and functioning of society itself.
It is imperative we recognise that in a post partition Ireland other divisions will remain in the geo-political sphere.
Political structures can address certain aspects of the rebuilding process but the social policy platform in an Irish republic must be structured along similar lines. It is essential therefore that republicans demonstrate how our social programme can function in such a republic.
The everyday concerns of the Irish people must concern Irish republicans every day. The core issues of partition, housing, health, education and the environment must have republicans at the forefront of every campaign fighting for republican socialist solutions in these fields.
All republican activism must have a national dimension because as James Connolly stated, “the re-conquest [of Ireland] involves taking possession of the entire country, all its powers of wealth production and all its natural resources, and organising these on a cooperative basis for the good of all.” There can be no partitionist solutions.
The language of republicanism must be the language of sovereignty. Terminology such as ‘Irish unity’ and ‘united Ireland’ are too vague in meaning and provide refuge for those who can use such terms for political effect but without any obligation to pursue them.
As we stand now Irish republicans must elevate our activism beyond simple protest and into the realm of radical and novel strategies which can effect real change. The inherent and insidious contradictions of partition must be exploited to the full so as to fatally undermine it at every opportunity.
Campaigns such as the preservation of the Moore Street Battle Site, currently under threat from corporate greed, must be radicalised to go beyond the historical dimension and be firmly focussed on securing the aims and objectives of those who battled there. Revolution does not belong to history, revolution makes history.
Thousands of our people, in each of our four provinces, are equally at the mercy of that same corporate greed of Vulture Funds and Banks wherein the fundamental need and right to a home is all but eradicated. The struggle for housing rights, the struggle against partition and the struggle to protect our history must all be complimentary to each other.
The fight against evictions and repossessions must also be radicalised: physically preventing them in the fenian tradition on as many fronts as possible but also utilising that struggle to generate a national momentum behind a policy that private property rights must be subordinated to the welfare of the public. Such a policy will not come out of Leinster House.
The ongoing social and economic marginalisation of our Gaeltachtaí in the 26 counties is mirrored in the Six Counties. As Irish Republicans the promotion and advancement of the cultural, social and economic life of our Gaeltachtaí must be a central plank in any programme for a Sovereign Ireland. This must be accompanied by the progressive and effective promotion and development of our language within wider Irish society in terms of education as well as within the wider cultural and social life of our people.
Irish republicanism is currently in a state of reassessment. It needs to be. A new political dynamic must be identified so that republican resources can be focussed on advancing our core objectives. This cannot happen in isolation either from each other or other political and campaign activists.
We continue to draw inspiration from generations of unbending patriots. From those who defeated the Black and Tans to the H-Block martyrs there is an unbroken line of resistance to the forces of imperialist repression and their capitalist masters.
From this bedrock of republicanism there has emerged a clear analysis of where we stand today and where we must aim to go in the future. We are able to identify the machinations of those forces hostile to the establishment of a republic in keeping with the vision of Tom Clarke and James Connolly.
We can honour our patriot dead in many ways, but the most effective way is to be effective ourselves in advancing the struggle for which they gave their lives.
Níos Láidre le Chéile!