On Easter Monday, thousands of Irish Republicans gathered in Derry, for the National Republican Commemoration Committee’s Unfinished Revolution Easter Commemoration. The sun shined as the huge march lead by a 30 strong national colour party, accompanied by bands from across Ireland and Scotland made their way from Free Derry corner to the Republican Plot in Derry City cemetery.
Live Saoradh Nuacht coverage, hosted by Glen Phillips
Lurgan Republican, Paul Duffy, gave the main oration
A chairde agus a chomrádaithe,
Ba mhaith liom fáilte a chur roimh achan duine atá anseo inniú ar Luan na Cásca seo chun cuimhniú a dhéanamh ar comrádaithe a fuar bás ar son saoirse na hÉireann.
Looking out at the faces of all of you who have gathered here today and in appreciation of all the hard work that has been put into this Easter commemoration I stand here along with you all, as a proud Irish Republican, and want to welcome you all here today.
Easter is a special occasion for Irish Republicans.
Today, here in Derry, as we have done throughout Ireland over this Easter period, we remember all those republicans of our generation and other generations who gave their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom.
We honour them in a way that is befitting of true patriots. Some of us have personally known them, some of you have learned of them and their heroic deeds. We all stand here in celebration of their lives and are proud to call them heroes. As Republicans, let no one ever fail to be proud of our patriot dead; we are a proud and resilient people. We are proud of our families; we are proud of the revolutionary struggle we have embarked upon and we are proud of our history.
Derry has a long history steeped in the proud Republican and Socialist tradition.
In the early days of the United Irishmen who set out to break the connection with Britain, Derry Republicans were among those who suffered at the hands of British colonial tyranny.
It is from here where Rebels from this city travelled to Dublin in 1916 and post-1916 to join with fellow revolutionaries to confront with arms the might of the British empire.
The Republican and Socialist tradition in this city has endured the many arduous campaigns of resistance against British imperialism. And yet, still here we defiantly stand.
We stand here in defiance of all that Britain has invoked upon the Irish people.
We stand here in honour of all those who have fallen in the fight against British imperialism and who are laid to rest in cemeteries throughout Ireland.We bestow the greatest honour to them all.
They are not just heroes, patriots and revolutionaries. They are our family members, our friends and our comrades.
Just as all those who had gone before them did, they were not oblivious to the dangers they faced; the military capacity and ruthlessness of the British state, and the treasonous actions of the Free State political establishment.
But they remained steadfast in their commitment to bring about revolutionary change in Ireland.
To end the usurpation of Irish sovereignty by bringing to an end centuries of British involvement in Ireland and to establish an Irish Socialist Republic free from foreign interference. These objectives have yet to be achieved. It remains an unfinished revolution. Comrades! We still have – unfinished business.
We cannot underestimate the importance of social agitation and political activism.
Never underestimate the power of political campaigning outside of the accepted structures of the enemy, after all it was republican social agitation in the ‘60’s that destabilised the 6 Counties and led to the most sustained threat to British imperialism in Ireland since Easter week and the subsequent revolutionary armed actions.
Ireland is still partitioned. The failures of Capitalism which have led to Economic destruction throughout Ireland, north and south, means that nearly half a million citizens are out of work.
Corruption in both illegal statelets is rife, while public services are slashed by willing natives at the behest of their masters in Whitehall and Brussels.
The gap between the rich and poor is ever widening. Poverty continues to increase, while public housing supply to meet the needs of our people are on the decline. Homelessness and evictions by rack-renting landlords have scarred the society in which we live. All this is an indictment on those who present themselves as the saviours of the people.
Now is the time to get down to business, to promote our revolutionary analysis which cuts through the false narrative and fake promises of those who’s only aim is to deceive. They are the paid mercenaries of capitalism and imperialism. They are traitors to the island of Ireland. Now is the time to hold these people to account.
To demand that Irish citizens have the right to a home, to a job, and to the necessities that sustain life.
In doing so, we must be mindful of the traps that will be placed in front of us. Short term gains must never be a substitution for radical revolutionary change.
Now is the time to raise our game; to impact on the cosy narrative that permeates Irish politics.
The demand for an alternative republican voice properly resourced and focused on revolutionary goals has never been more in demand.
Saoradh the revolutionary republican socialist party can meet this demand. It has a cutting edge that will demonstrate its ability to shape the narrative of Irish politics.
Among its ranks are many seasoned and experienced members, republican working class youth are to the fore in all that we do. Particularly, in this city. I am proud to be a member of Saoradh. Join with us in the honourable struggle that lies ahead.
British occupation in all its forms continues in the Ireland of today. Thousands of British soldiers remain in the occupied 6 counties. MI5 continues its attempts at recruitment and in more recent times had turned its attentions to collecting and fabricating so called evidence with the aim of removing republican activists and disrupting republican activity. Britain’s armed militia, the RUC, is spearheading a terrorist campaign of stop and searches aimed at republican activists and their families, by using a raft of draconian legislation. Nowhere is this more evident, than in this very city.
The freedom of Ireland can only be achieved when the demand for British withdrawal is placed centre stage and Britain is brought to the realisation that the continued occupation of Ireland comes at too great a cost.
The time is now for such a demand to be loudly made. It is the duty of us all as Irish republicans to continue to contribute to the building of a movement that puts the renewed call for Irish freedom at the top of everyone’s agenda.
We must strategise and plan for the future.
Just reacting to what is brought to bear upon us has only one inevitable outcome; it is the road to defeat.
It is a poor substitute for a clear vision with specific objectives and clearly outlined means to achieve them.
We must understand our enemy and what it hopes to achieve through its various actions so that we can plot our own course to achieve victory.
Britain’s efforts to criminalise the republican struggle have all failed, yet it perseveres. Millions have been spent on its black propaganda campaigns; propaganda by omission, addition and blatant downright lies.
Today, as was the case in the past, they have willing natives to peddle their lies. We must stay focussed on the tasks that lie ahead and remain strong and united.Our republican principles are what should always guide us.
Nowhere is this criminalisation policy more evident than in Maghaberry jail. Republican political prisoners in Maghaberry and Portlaoise continue to struggle against attempts to criminalise them and the republican struggle they are a part of. We salute them.
Last September saw the formation of Saoradh. Already the membership had increased substantially.
We are building our political strength and are becoming more and more appealing to people throughout the country. Attracting more working class people to Irish republicanism is the best way to advance our objectives.
We need to reach out to comrades who are involved in similar struggles to our own. We can learn a lot from each other. The key to this is leadership and the republican movement has within its ranks people who espouse and demonstrate these qualities. Therefore, I am calling on everyone here to get involved in the republican movement and to stand with us in our fight for freedom.
Join Saoradh and help us to achieve the Irish Socialist Republic, the signatories of 1916 and those brave freedom fighters we remember today, would be proud of.
Join with us in the fight for jobs, for homes, for an end to the occupation, for the unification of the country and ultimately for freedom in the shape of an Irish Socialist Republic.
Beirigí bua agus ar aghaidh linn le cheile
Former Republican POW Paddy McGilloway, read the Prisoners statement
The Republican prisoners incarcerated in Maghaberry and Portlaoise Gaols would like to take this opportunity to send Easter greetings to our comrades, families and supporters. It is with pride that we pay respect to the women and men who fought for Irish freedom at Easter 1916 and all of those who have given selflessly and dedicated their lives to this just struggle.
Easter provides us with an opportunity, not only to pay tribute to these martyrs but to reflect on our contribution thus far, and give a commitment to rededicate our efforts to bring this Unfinished Revolution to a successful conclusion.
We the Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry and Portlaoise Gaols are proud to see the progressive development in the establishing of Saoradh and the increased cohesion that has been brought about in the Republican base.
This Easter time, we salute the IRPWA for their dedicated work on our behalf and the unwavering support for our families.
We wish our comrades well for this year’s national commemoration in Derry.
We are Republican Prisoners because we adhere to the ideals of 1916 and refuse to accept any form of British rule in our country. For this, we are denied our liberty.
We pledge to utilise our incarceration in assisting the building of an educated and politicised activist base. This commitment is evident in that we have developed a Craobh of Saoradh in each Gaol. Saoradh is the only Revolutionary Republican Party we endorse.
For Republicans, 1916 remains unfinished business but we are confident of ongoing success both behind these walls, and outside them. For we know well that change in the world is a cast iron certainty and only a fool would believe in the future of the permanence of the current order.
It is not only our task but your task to shape and define this change. In the words of James Connolly, “As a light beacon for the oppressed throughout the world”
VICTORY TO THE REPUBLICAN PRISONERS!!
Tiocfaidh Ar Lá
Beginning of the Unfinished Revolution coverage including an interview with Paddy McGilloway