Kevin Barry – “It is nothing, to give one’s life for Ireland. I’m not the first and maybe I won’t be the last. What’s my life compared with the cause?”

Republicans gathered in Rathvilly, County Carlow on Sunday, November 10th to remember Kevin Barry.  Jimmy Corcoran chaired the event and Seán Ó Dubhláin delivered the oration which is carried below, a full report will be in the December edition of SAOIRSE.


Kevin Barry was born on the 20th January 1902 in Dublin. He was a student of Medicine in UCD and was a bright young man with a future to look forward too. As was the case so often in Ireland’s historyKevin Barry this was short lived due to the unwanted and illegal British presence in this country. Kevin joined the IRA in 1917 at the age of just 15. The business of 1916 was to establish an independent 32 County Republic, in 1918 the people of Ireland, last time acting as a unit endorsed this Republic and it was ratified by Dáil Éireann in early 1919. It was inevitable that a war would ensue between Ireland and Britain just as conflict between the countries is inevitable today as long as Britain holds any part of Ireland in bondage.

Kevin threw himself into activity to further the cause for Irish freedom, he payed the ultimate price but he is not forgotten and we remember him with pride here today.

The greatest tribute we can pay to the lasting legacy of Kevin is to ensure that his vision of a Free Ireland becomes a reality so that future generations can live in peace and harmony, so that the citizens can reach their full potential and where the most vulnerable are not slaves to an economic elite but where they are put before all profit to live a worthy life. We hear so much today about the ‘economy’ … indeed to the ruling elite the nation is nothing, the state itself is not there to serve the people but is there as a mechanism of the ‘economy’. This is a far cry from what Kevin gave his young life for. At just 18 years of age to give your life so selflessly for a cause is something most inspiring.

Kevin is reported as saying and I quote, “It is nothing, to give one’s life for Ireland. I’m not the first and maybe I won’t be the last. What’s my life compared with the cause?” This sums up the immense courage of one of Ireland’s bravest sons and Kevin has always stood as a inspiration for the Irish people. If Ireland is a young as its youngest Martyr then we have nothing to fear for the youth of Ireland will continue to rally to the standard of such a noble sacrifice. Beyond the falsity of modern trivia and historical revisionism nothing can cover up the fundamental truth of what men like Barry stood for. He was a soldier of Ireland, and in the face of death he has thought us how to live; with principles and integrity.

The Free State has declared war on the legacy of 1916

There are those of course who have their agendas. As time progresses our enemies agendas will come into the public domain and we must be preparing in advance to counter what they might be.

Thus far Free State have invited the British Royals to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising in Dublin. This is a calculated insult. Even people with no affinity to Irish Republicanism can see the horrendous double standards at play here. By inviting the British Royals to the 1916 centenary commemorations the Free State has in effect declared war on the legacy of 1916. Comrades, we have two and half years to show our worth and to ensure the legacy of 1916 is not disgraced before the world. It’s a simple as that. As Bobby Sands once said, “Everyone has his or her own part to play.”

This policy of normalisation runs throughout the 32 counties and this year Derry was a direct target with the City being name UK City of Culture. With the Brits it’s always give a little and take a lot. They apologised for Bloody Sunday and then in return they got UK City of Culture. Them and the provisional’s must think we are all fools. Chomhairle Uladh, Sinn Féin Poblachtach need to be congratulated for getting into Derry on two occasions to hold counter protests. They were worthwhile and absolutely necessary.

Nothing has changed in Ireland, the RUC/PSNI have increased their surveillance and heavy handed oppression continue and they are backed up by the usual safety net of that occupation, blatant sectarianism, which has been on the rise. They are further backed up by 5,000 British troops in our country who can be called on by Westminster at any time. The move into an overt police state is obvious as was seen last week in Ardoyne when a Spy Drone was filmed flying over a local estate.

We owe a lot to those who stand in defiance against this occupation and with this consideration we must never forget our prisoners, languishing in British prisons. They are engaged in a battle which is symbolic of Ireland’s history of resistance, their existence and opposition in Gaol matched by the activity of their comrades on the outside sends a clear message to the world that Ireland is not for surrender. As James Connolly once put it, “Believing that the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland, the presence, in any one generation of Irishmen, of even a respectable minority, ready to die to affirm that truth, makes that Government for ever a usurpation and a crime against human progress.”

This crime against human progress could not be better explained than in explaining the usurpation of Martin Corey’s freedom. As Martin’s comrades in Republican Sinn Féin we need to make our voices heard on his behalf and at every juncture. The reality it seems when the facts are analyzed that Martin has had his license revoked by the Brits in some sick game for the Brits to test the water on the one hand and gage public opposition and on the other hand to send a clear message to former POWs who were released from Gaol on license, not to step out of line or you will be next.

Every day Martin Corey spends in Prison is a crime against humanity and I would like to make an appeal to each and every one of you here today to make an extra effort coming in December, prisoner’s month to raise awareness and finance for our POWs who are relying on us.

Cairde, I thank you for your time and the opportunity to speak here, it has been an honour to visit this sacred place and again I reiterate the greatest way we can pay homage to the legacy of Kevin Barry and all who died for Irish freedom and to those currently interned and imprisoned is to spend ourselves in service of the cause until we have achieved what was Kevin’s objective and what is our objective, the 32 County Sovereign Irish Republic.

An Phoblacht Abú

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