The main oration from the recent Alan Ryan commemoration, read by national chairman of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement Francie Mackey.
Firstly I’d like to thank all those in attendance here today at the graveside of Volunteer Alan Ryan. This annual gathering is in itself an act of resistance befitting of the Volunteer we honour here today.
That we are marginalised does not make us wrong. The wheel of history will inevitably turn our way again as the position that we represent is the only position capable of bringing a true peace to our people.
The common thread of our republican history has been the revolutionary ideas expressed through each generation with the focussed aim of securing the sovereignty of the Irish people.
As Irish separatists we hold true to core republican values and as republican revolutionaries we must always strive to set ourselves apart from those who have hijacked the struggle, founded and driven by the people of no property.
But in so doing we must strike a tone of relevance if out distinct position is to have any practical meaning. And what Irish republicans must recognise now, that whilst our objectives remain steadfast and inviolate, our expectations as to how they may be realised will have to change.
The long war resulted in a politics it was not fighting for. A lesser war will not alter that fact. The Good Friday Agreement de-politicised the constitutional question thus marginalising political arguments based on conflict.
And this is where Irish republicans need to re-evaluate our political thinking. The only credible means to have the constitutional question back on the political agenda is to formulate a solutions-based approach around it.
The electoral rise of Provisional Sinn Fein has given a false hope of imminent constitutional change.
Irish constitutional nationalism, in its historical and contemporary outlook, views a British dimension to Irish politics as intrinsic to its practice.
One of the great fallacies in Irish political history is to interpret the difference between constitutional nationalism and republican separatism as one of methodology in pursuit of objectives. Nothing is so further removed from the truth.
Indeed, it has long been an established strategy for constitutionalism to promote this fallacy only to be exposed when it came to dealing with the issue of national sovereignty.
At its heart constitutional nationalism views the political landscape from a British/establishment perspective and explicitly recognises a legitimacy in British claims of sovereignty in Ireland. The Good Friday Accord is a product of this perspective.
The GFA is a mechanism to prolong a ceasefire, nothing more. That prolongation is necessary for Irish constitutional nationalism to harmonise the British presence in Ireland. The question that must be addressed by such nationalists, and which is posed by the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, is whether or not it accepts that the Irish people are a sovereign people and thus entitled to national self-determination as an inalienable right?
Calls for Irish unity are a poor substitute for acts of Irish unity. And this is where republicans must take the initiative. In the absence of a national leadership local leadership must take up the reigns of republican activity.
Leadership does not fall from the sky; it is forged through comradeship and activism. It comes from the bottom up and has no hereditary rights. Effective leadership stems from revolutionary ideas that directly challenges the political status quo.
Republicans are routinely condemned as being anti-democratic because of our opposition to the Good Friday Agreement. We are told that a Border Poll is the only democratic route to what some would term Irish unity.
This is where the true democratic integrity of the republican position must come to the fore. Let us be the champions of democracy on this island and let the political careerists founder on their selfish ambitions.
An Irish Democratic Framework offers an original and unprecedented political opportunity to resolve the deep divisions amongst the Irish people engendered by the Anglo-Irish conflict. It is not an imposed structure but one which needs the active input of all our people to construct and in so doing the process of dialogue, understanding and peace building can commence.
We owe nothing less to Volunteer Alan Ryan and the great sacrifices of all our patriot dead.