On Sunday the 12th January, Republican Sinn Féin gathered in Monaghan for the annual Fergal O Hanlon commemoration. A full report will be carried in the Febuary edition of SAOIRSE: Irish Freedom. The full oration is carried below and was delivered by Vice President, Cáit Trainor.
In the 1950’s the mantle of Irish republicanism was thrust upon a new generation, one of whom was Fergal O’Hanlon. He with his comrade Séan South gave their lives in the pursuit of Irish Freedom while taking part in the now famous raid on Brookeborough Barracks, This act of defiance and courage sent shock waves throughout Irish society and let the Irish People know that Irish Republicanism did indeed manifest itself in every generations had been prophesied before by countless other patriots. Fergal O’Hanlon from Monaghan came from a staunch republican family, being reared in the tradition of Pearse and Tone left this young man with a instilled sense of responsibility towards his country and a desire to see its independence realised. As a natural step for a young Irish revolutionary, Fergal Joined the Irish republican army, together with comrades from various parts of Ireland he took part in a daring military operation to secure weapons at Brookeborough barracks, while on this operation, he and his comrade Sean south were fatally wounded. Fergal O’Hanlon gave his life in service to the all Ireland Republic on New Years day 1957 at the age of just 20.
57 years later these 2 iconic figures of Irish resistance are a household name in republican and nationalist homes. Their daring and commitment has left a legacy that has followed through until the present day. Today is not unlike the period of Operation Harvest. Many people have tried to defeat the Republic but while there is one man or woman willing to resist British Rule in Ireland, we have not lost. History has shown us that in every generation there has been a renewed resistance to British rule, they can never defeat the Irish Nation, not while we exist.
Since the time of Fergal O’Hanlon and Séan South countless Irish men and women have gave their lives for the very same principle of self determination, independence and liberty. We remember the Sacrifice of all those who have gave their lives and pledge our allegiance to those people who continue in the struggle for Irish Independence.
There are those who have tried to changed republicanism, tried to misinterpret what it is and those who claim to be republican while actively working it. To be a republican is simple, it requires a core belief in Irish independence while not recognising, anything other than the Irish Republic as legitimate. As Republicans there are no alternatives, we don’t accept partition, we can’t accept British institutions or concessions.
Republicans subscribe wholly to the 1916 proclamation and everything it entails, we go further giving Eire Nua as a realistic view to the future. Eire Nua and Saol Nua are the only viable options at present for a peaceful and democratic Ireland, they deal sufficiently with all aspects of the past and the future, and yet many people know nothing of them. The pursuit of Independence, peace and freedom was not answered with the Good Friday agreement. The state persecution and censorship of anyone opposed to the Good Friday agreement exposes clearly why concessions do not work and why Eire Nua is the only solution for a peaceful Ireland.
Middle ground political pundits who use their time spent in Gaol or the IRA as justification for espousing tired old arguments in favour of concessions give nothing to the new generation of Republicans, only mediocrity, pseudo intellectualism and demoralisation. While in one hand giving legitimacy to fight occupation elsewhere in the world they try to impress their own inadequacies on the new generation, trying to use their self perceived status as Republican elders as a tool to remove radicalism and bring us back to subservience. But we have news for these backsliders, we have a new generation, with a renewed optimism, self confidence and vigour who will, despite all the obstacles, put us back on the footing of independence. Those who are more interested in picking over the bones of military defeats and political treachery serve no current purpose. Much like the Young Irelanders of the mid-1800s who rejected O’Connellism, there is a new generation of Irish revolutionary Republicans who refuse to bow down and will not accept constitutionalism dressed up as radicalism.
One of the biggest obstacles facing us today is, I believe, how to communicate with that section of the Irish People who are perhaps bored with politics or have prejudged ideas on what a republican is, they are not excited by the idea of republicanism because they have been force fed a bland revisionist idea of what it is. People believing republicans seek to join the free-state, that its a catholic aspiration or a civil rights movement, it is difficult to present the truth to these people in the face of media censorship. We must be more active on the ground, more transparent and simple in our language for people to be left under no illusion as to what it is we want. We want a 32 county Irish Republic, a new Ireland for all, leaving behind old prejudices and creating an Ireland of equals. The Free state is a failed entity, the 6 county statelet is a failed entity. The Irish people deserve to take their place among the free nations of the World. Republicans today and no different than they were 100 years ago, Our right to freedom is the same right asserted by countless generations before us.
The apathy of some Irish People towards human rights abuses in Ireland must be challenged, the case of Martin Corey stands out among many. Martin is currently in his 4th Year of internment, many people point to his licence revocation as justification for this internment, that somehow the British do not need to give a reason for his incarceration as its a licence issue, that its all perfectly legal, while that may be the case, it must be pointed out that because something is legal, it doesn’t make it ethical or right. The fundamental right to have an opportunity to defend yourself has been removed in this case and that is a human rights abuse. The Irish people do not stand a chance under British occupation, Political dissent is deemed illegal and republicans are dealt with under the harshest of terms.
The British government and their allies in Stormont fear republicans, they fear what we stand for, they fear the voice we give to the people. They are right to fear us, for we stand against their tyranny, we seek to destroy their cosy existence of tribal rule and power grabbing. We give truth to the lie that Ireland is a settled state. More than ever we must push ahead with our aims. With 2 years until the centenary of the 1916 rising we must ensure that we are on a steady footing towards the republic.
In 2014 we again endorse the words of General Liam Lynch “ we have declared for a republic and will live under no other Law”
An Phoblacht abú