Last Saturday saw a strong turn out for the Eddie Carmody commemoration outside Ballylongford in Co Kerry.
It was a fitting tribute to this IRA soldier who was murdered by the Black n Tans on the 22nd November 1920.
The bitter cold did not stop Republicans from all over Ireland gathering in North Kerry for the event.
Led by a colour party the crowd marched from the Eddie Carmody Memorial hall at the GAA grounds to the monument in Rusheen, where Eddie Carmody gave his life for Irish Freedom.
Pat Lawlor chaired the evening’s proceedings Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Republican Movement, Republican Prisoners and Saoradh, while Emmett Gladney gave the main oration.
To close the evening’s proceedings, Saoradh North Kerry were thanked for organising the commemoration while the colour party stood to attention.
Pat Lawlor also thanked everyone for attending and invited everybody back next year but quickly made the observation that the four Special Branch officers standing at the back who harassed and intimidated Republicans at the commemoration would not be welcome next year or any other year for that matter.
Volunteer Eddie Carmody speech 2017
Comrades, and fellow Republicans it is a great privilege to be invited down to North Kerry to speak at such an honourable event as we gather to commemorate the life of Eddie Carmody.
Indeed North Kerry was not without its hardships during the turbulent years of 1919 to 1923 these were years that saw the Black n Tans inflict terror and savage atrocities in this proud republican heartland, It was unfortunately here in Kerry that saw one of the worst atrocities of the civil war when our so-called fellow “Irishmen” in the Free State forces tied eight Republicans to a mine and detonated it without mercy in nearby Ballyseedy.
But it was the Republican people of Kerry that demonstrated a tremendous courage to the rest of Ireland, they defended the Irish Republic with pride and were resilient to the very end. Eddie Carmody was part of that resilience and was a very proud member of the Irish Republican Army.
Born in Moyvane he moved to Ballylongford at a young age. He was a man of integrity, courage and principle, an extremely talented Gaelic footballer parallel with a love for his native culture. Eddie like so many before him and so many after him believed passionately in Irish Freedom. However, Eddie Carmody did not sit ‘on the fence ‘for too long and decided to fight back against the brutal suppression of his freedom, and his rights by the British government. This was not only his passion but bear in mind it was the passion of the overwhelming majority of Irish people who had voted for Irish freedom in the 1918 general election and declared their allegiance to Dail Eireann. Men like Eddie Carmody came to the harsh conclusion and were quick in acknowledging that only through truly revolutionary methods would the British government listen to the established Irish nation. This cold reality made him one of the first young men to join Oglaigh Na hEireann in the area. An ambitious sincerity along with a displayable maturity quickly landed him a role as quartermaster, and then lieutenant within the IRA.
Some of his exploits include successfully defending a Feis held in the village in 1919 when the British army arrived to ban the event. In a diversion, several IRA volunteers drove into the village and successfully tricked the British army into giving chase, it was then at Craughdarrig that the volunteers surrounded the British army and held them captive until the Feis ended. It was fairly evident that the IRA had become the people’s army in Kerry and that men like Eddie Carmody sent a humiliating message back to London that the British government would never take Kerry.
Sadly Eddie Carmody was murdered by the Black and Tans as state violence escalated in this area. On his way to retrieve weapons from an arms dump he was ambushed. He was kicked and beaten, he was stabbed with bayonets and hammered with rifle butts. When the British savages finally finished in their playful drunken frenzy with his body, they shot him several times in the face and killed him.
On the 21st November 1920, Eddie Carmody gave his life for the Irish Republic. Sadly the Republic that Eddie Carmody envisaged has not yet been achieved. Could Eddie Carmody have visualized in 1917 when he joined the IRA that 5 years down the line his comrades that he once served with would be shooting to defend the Irish Republic, not against the British however but against the treacherous leaders that collaborated with the British to suppress Irish Freedom.
Comrades I don’t have to speak to you about the treachery of leaders in the past or indeed the present. All gathered here tonight are well aware of our history.
Saoradh is not interested in dwelling on the treacheries of the past, we want to move forward with our vision and our focus for Ireland, and however, the ugly face of treachery continues to raise its head time and time again in the present situation. In a blatant act of Sinn Fein’s continued strategic collaboration with the PSNI; and on the orders of Former Republican and British minister Raymond McCartney – the PSNI purposely raided houses in Creggan and stopped and harassed members to try and disrupt our annual Ard Fheis in Derry. Like they failed to break Eddie Carmody’s spirit in 1920 they also failed to break ours last Saturday.
Sinn Fein’s Ard Fheis last Saturday also saw a revelation by their leader Gerry Adams that he is to step down next year. His plans for retirement brought about a lot of commentary by the media and the papers.
The only two achievements Gerry Adams can boost in his 33 years as president of Sinn Fein was destroying and manipulating a large proportion of Revolutionaries for career opportunism, this in which he carried out in the most expedient manner. The other is the electoral success for Sinn Fein. The hollow cries that were once a United Ireland by 2016 at the time of the Good Friday Agreement have now become the language of an internal border poll. The former British secretary of state Teresa Villers stated countless times in the past that she would call a border poll when the time was right. What bloody right does any British secretary of state have to call any poll in Ireland? She doesn’t even have a vote in this country. Our fundamental belief is that of James Connolly’s, that the “British government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland and never can have any right in Ireland.”
US Diplomat Richard Hass stated last week that the current Stormont stalemate and Brexit could lead to a United Ireland. Never before have I seen media coverage portray such a topic in a contradictory and misleading light. Comrades don’t be coerced into believing this patronising, condescending rubbish that Brexit will somehow lead to a United Ireland. On one hand, we are told that Brexit will lead to a United Ireland, while on the other the British try to disguise their plans to put in place a hard border. One British cabinet minister described Varadker and Coveney metaphorically as “playing with fire”, in an attempt to negotiate with the British on the issue.
Britain’s message is as clear today as it was in 1920 when they murdered Eddie Carmody, the colonial superior mindset has not changed. Be assertive with us and you will pay the price. Brexit chief negotiator Michael Barnier visited the towns along the border in an attempt to see which would be most affected from Britain’s departure, however, Teresa May turned down an invitation to do the same, this proves once again that Britain could not care in the slightest how their decisions affect this country. The DUP say they don’t want a hard border but at the same time expect their voters to vote for Brexit, as worst case scenario it suits their ideology of strengthening partition. It is only the foolish DUP voters that will suffer severe economic strain as a consequence of following Arlene’s ideology.
People have short memories, we say bring on the hard border; for Republicans are no strangers to hard borders, we saw the British army enforce a hard border for the last 30 years with their watchtowers, helicopters and checkpoints. We will defy British rule in Ireland just as Eddie Carmody did whatever way it manifests itself, be it hard borders or through native collaborators.
These native collaborators who are constantly humiliated by the DUP as they dance around issues like the Irish language act and RHI scandals show who is really pulling the strings in Stormont. The continued collapse of the institutions demonstrates that power sharing has failed, the economy has failed and as the working class continue to suffer at the hands of rotten right-wing governments both sides of the border, it is usually the wealthy capitalist bourgeoisie who remain the main beneficiaries of such states.
However, the ones who suffer the most and bear the heaviest hand of British rule in our country are Irish Republican Prisoners who are gaoled in Portlaoise, Maghaberry and Hydebank. This week Republican prisoners in Portlaoise commenced a 72-hour hunger strike in a show of solidarity to the brutal oppressive measures enforced on their comrades in Maghaberry. Controlled movement, forced strip searches, sleep deprivation, denial of access to legal representation are all serious breaches of human rights. Republican prisoners have been physically beaten on eleven occasions in the past 18 months.
When will the British government learn that Republican prisoners have an unbreakable spirit as history proves? If they could not break Ashe in 1917 or McSwiney in 1920 if they could not break McCaughey in 1946, or Stagg and Gaughen in 1974, if they could not break Bobby Sands and Francis Hughes in 1981, how are they going to break our brave men today?
The injustices that Republicans face in the 26 counties and the 6 county administration are draconian, to say the least. Despite a recommendation from Dublin judge Aileen Donnelly that DD McLaughlin would face “inhuman and degrading conditions” if extradited to Maghaberry prison sadly fell on deaf ears as DD has lost his court hearing and will be returned to MagHaberry to face the taunts of sectarian hostile screws.
We send our solidarity to DD, Ciaran Maguire and Sean Farrell and we ask that Republicans highlight the continued injustice that is Extradition. We will also continue our campaign in highlighting the Supergrass trials, in particular, the fabricated evidence from a pathological liar and paid perjurer Dave Cullen.
Comrades be under no illusion we as committed republican socialists are facing an uphill battle. The damage done by successive Free State governments psychologically to a considerable amount of people that live in the 26 counties has to be undone. Their disgusting policy down through the years that “what goes on up there has nothing to do with us down here” has left its mark. Partition has badly damaged the Irish psyche as Saoradh activists door to door you are bound to come across such derogatory comments from the John Brutans and the Gareth Fitzgeralds that the North has nothing to do with us.
Comrades remind them, remind them how the proud republican people held North Kerry and Munster during the civil war and remained dedicated to the ideal of a 32 county Irish Republic. All who have turned up tonight to pay respects to Eddie Carmody, you are the decedents of that proud resilient tradition and it is heartening to see that the flame still burns strongly here.
Comrades in Black and White terms our country is still partitioned, the people that remain steadfast to the Irish Republic are oppressed. They oppress us through their British militia the PSNI, with raids, harassment, and the suppression of our revolutionary party Saoradh.
But like Eddie Carmody, we are not going to “sit on the fence” . We will agitate and build through community struggle and endeavour to empower the working class and safeguard our republican objectives.
There is no ego-centric opportunism within Saoradh, there is no ladder climbing. To quote our incoming chairman Davy Jorden, “The Irish habit of following the personality rather than principles has been disastrous in the past for political movements”. This shows that lessons have been learned within republicanism. Unfortunately, Men like Eddie Carmody paid the ultimate price for Irish Freedom.
As we leave here tonight let’s focus on the future and the task at hand. Lenin said “there are decades where nothing happens, and then there are days when decades happen”. We are not here to make a United Ireland an aspiration but here to make it a reality.
Tiocfaidh Ar La