Republicans gathered at Shanaglish Church, Gort, County Galway on November 24th to commemorate the Loughnane Brothers. After marching to the cemetery led by the National Flag and Piper a decade of the Rosary was delivered by Republican Sinn Féin Councillor Tomás Ó Curraoin. A wreath was laid by Brendan Madden on behalf of the leadership of the Republican Movement. Chairman Chris Kilcommins then called on Republican Sinn Féin Vice President, Cait Trainor from Armagh to deliver the oration during the course of which she said;
Battered, bruised, maimed, broken bones, and burned! This was the state of Pat and Harry Loughnane’s bodies when they were found. Unrecognisable and charred! The sheer brutality used against these two Irish republicans and the state of their remains gives us an insight into the mentality of the Black and tans of the time. The Pictures of their bodies tell their own story and no one can look at the pictures without revulsion, and indeed a sense of anger. Pat and Harry Loughnane were 2 brothers, both involved in Republicanism, Harry was the chairman of the local Sinn Féin Cumann and Pat was the secretary, both also were volunteers of the Irish Republican army and wished to see the end of the British occupation in their country, both believing like tone that the British connection was the never ending source of all Ireland’s problems. The British forces carried out horrendous Murders in November 1920 in Galway, The murder of a pregnant woman, the murder of Father Griffin, and the murder of Pat and Harry Loughnane. All these murders carried out in a brutal fashion. Today we come to commemorate Pat and Harry Loughnane but equally we commemorate all those who have died at the hands of the British forces.
Pat and Harry were arrested at their home and taken to Gort RIC Station, While in custody it is clear that they were beaten very badly and tortured, then taken, tied to a lorry and dragged along the road. The exact details of their deaths are very sketchy, this may at the time have been a blessing for their families, but what we do know is that they were unrecognisable. Their bodies burned, fingers missing, letters carved into their skin and such was the extent of their injuries a doctor who examined the bodies thought it possible that hand grenades had been put into their mouths and exploded.
So why was Harry and Pat Loughnane Murdered? What was the cause or motivation for this? The simple answer is that Harry and Pat were murdered because of British occupation in Ireland, Since there has been a British presence in Ireland, they have murdered countless Irish citizens, far from this being a thing of the past, British murder squads have been active right up until the present day.
Just this week a television programme was aired where British soldiers openly admit that Murdering unarmed civilians in the occupied 6 counties in the 1970’s was British Policy, this has proved what the Irish people have always known. This was not collusion, this was straight forward state murder sanctioned from the highest echelons of the British administration. It would be naïve to think that this is somehow history and that these things cannot happen today, in 1970 people thought the murder of the Loughnane brothers was history and that barbarity and murder by the state could not happen in their day, just as today people believe that what happened in the 70’s couldn’t or doesn’t happen today! The reality of Ireland is, while there is British rule there is always the chance of another Bloody Sunday, another Loughnane brothers and another MRF Murder squad, people should not close their eyes and imagine that the British occupation is somehow different today than it was in the 1920’s or the 1970’s. It is the same oppressive and cruel occupation perhaps more shrewdly hidden but fundamentally the same, but we may have to wait 30 or 40 years to find out for a fact what crimes the British are currently perpetrating against the Irish People.
The British occupation has left a horrible legacy for us to overcome, they sustain their occupation by driving fear and division into the Irish people, this is propped up by puppet parliaments in the 6 counties and free state, both with a vested interest in maintaining divisions among our people. This is not the settled Ireland that was envisaged by the Patriots of 1916 when they proclaimed our liberty and republic for all citizens without division or prejudice.
Republican Sinn Féin have kept continuity with the ideals and legacy of the 1916 revolutionary patriots. The only organisation to have stood through sell outs and betrayals intact. We have consistently said and I will repeat from this platform here today that the only way to have a settled Ireland is to remove British Occupation, throughout the history of Ireland there have been deals, and negotiations ongoing with the British government, not once have they gave their intention to withdraw from our country.
We call on England again as we have done before to give a declaration of intent to withdraw from our country as that will change the whole dynamic of Irish Politics, that will be the force for change in Ireland. This declaration of intent to withdraw will truly allow the Irish people to decide their own fate and will focus all parts of the Irish nation on building a new Ireland, the Belfast agreement has failed as have all other compromises with British imperialism, there can be no compromise on the sovereignty of our country. Britain is the source of all our political evils and to secure a lasting and final peace in Ireland we must have independence.
We don’t propose that independence is enough, The Irish republic must truly live up to an expectation of equality and justice. The new government must be inclusive of all the people of Ireland regardless of political affiliation, class, colour or religion. Eire Nua is the only document that truly proposes real change, where all parts of Ireland would have a real say in the running of their country, where power is taken down to a more local level, no more should the Irish people have to live under the tyranny of far away masters, be at the mercy of those in position with privilege and a vested interest in keeping the majority down, the Irish people must now be the masters of their own destiny, we must create an Ireland for all without foreign interference, free from sectarian hatred and oppression. A chance for all to prosper., in short we must work to implement Eire Nua.
While always looking to the future, we cannot forget our past, over the next few years we have many important centenaries and in 2016 we will commemorate the centenary of the Easter rising, let us be in a better position then, let us have a firmer footing on the road to the republic. This is the task that has been set for us and let us not be found wanting.
Republican Sinn Féin will keep working steadily towards the Republic, We demand the British give a declaration to withdraw from our Country, for it is then and only then that Ireland will be a in a position to organise a democratic socialist Republic.