Oration at the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration, Bodenstown, Co Kildare, Sunday, June 10, 2012.
Cáit Trainor, Armagh, Ard Chomhairle member, Republican Sinn Féin.
British Occupation is no more acceptable today than it was in 1798, time does not normalise occupation nor can it erase the natural injustices that go hand in hand with it. Once again we as proud Republicans stand here today at the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone, to honour and commemorate him and all the Irish patriots and to show our continued rejection and resistance to British rule.
The normalisation of today stands in stark contrast to Tones vision of what Ireland should be as a fully independent and sovereign nation. Tones tactics did not include negotiating with the enemy or compromise, he had a clear message break the connection with England. His tactics were to lead men to the hillsides with pike in hand, with a determination that Ireland should stand as an equal independent nation among the nations of the world. Tones vision is our vision, Tones desire is our desire, and Tone’s determination is matched with our own. Tone had an aim to unite Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter in the common goal of Irish Independence. To this end his venture was successful for people from all backgrounds did organise to end British tyranny. Britain, realising the power of Irishmen uniting, inflamed sectarian division to further their own imperial ends.
The descendants of the Republican Irish Scots have been systematically robbed of their noble Republican heritage by a vile combination of British imperialism, unionism and Orange sectarianism, many of their descendants fled to America to escape British oppression and played an important part in the foundations of a Republican USA. It is sad indeed to see descendants of such noble people subservient to monarchs and imperialists, a notion so alien to their ancestors.
Today we see the same age old tactics from the British invaders, who are bribing and intimidating the nationalist people of Ireland into accepting alien concepts, one such is the abominable UK City of culture moniker that has been bestowed on Derry for 2013. Using native collaborators to sell such an idea to the people, this shameful accolade has been supported by many traditional Irish cultural and sporting groups, the GAA and Comhaltas are two particular groups who have allowed themselves to be reduced to snivelling servants, banging the tribal drums for the foreign viceroy. The UK City of Culture title in an Irish city is an insult to all Irish people. The British puppets who claim to represent Republicans and nationalists, who fought so hard to win this disgusting title, are no better than paid informers betraying the nation.
Ireland today is one unrecognisable to the past, things we have never thought possible happen day by day, those in power seem determined to sell of our Country, be it to the acceptance of British occupation or the handing over sovereignty to Europe. Just recently the fiscal treaty that assures austerity for years to come and ensures the poor get poorer was passed in the 26 Counties. Republican Sinn Féin was at the forefront of opposing this treaty and indeed all the past European treaties that make Ireland nothing more than a piece of land controlled by the capitalist and banking elite.
The treaty asked people to vote on economic measures not yet decided, rendering the people powerless to make changes in future that could see Ireland prosper. Ireland has lost control of its nationhood, Republican Sinn Féin through ÉIRE NUA points the way to regaining our independence including fiscal independence. ÉIRE NUA is the only positive alternative, a framework for the future of an Independent Ireland. We need to acknowledge that its concept is not widely known or understood. It is a working document that provides for how an independent Ireland should be. 100 years on from the rising we need to speak to the people in laymans terms on our vision for independence, Lets forget fancy words and political jargon and give the Irish Nation the confidence and knowledge it needs to realise that our vision and ÉIRE NUA is the only position that can create a peaceful and just Ireland for all.
Recently a British minister in Stormont, Martin McGuinness, suggested he wants to enter into talks with Republicans. Republicans have always made it clear that we are not interested in engaging with puppets of the British State. The only time we will be interested in meeting representatives from the British government will be to discuss their withdrawal from our country. Former Republicans should understand they no longer hold influence among Republicans and we view them as contemptible cogs of the British Establishment.
In May 2011 the 26 Counties had a State visit from the British Queen. Republican Sinn Féin led the way in opposing the subservience and fawning that was seen by national organisations. On June 26 the British Queen will once again visit Ireland; again we will see subservience and fawning. British Deputy First Minister in Ireland Martin McGuinness will undoubtedly greet her in another shameful act of capitulation to British imperialism. They have lost all claims to Republicanism even in the anti-monarchist sense. Again Republican Sinn Fein will oppose the British monarchy visiting any part of Ireland and I urge you all to join in our protests.
The last few months we have seen an upsurge in harassment from State forces. House raids, arrests and communities under siege. This harassment has been met with great resistance and courage from the Republican people. These actions give truth to the lie that the people have been bought. The RUC/PSNI is a force of occupation and no amount of community outreach can change the basic reason they exist, their primary purpose is to uphold British rule in Ireland. Young nationalists are told times have changed, that you can join the RUC and still remain a Republican. This is a dangerous lie that must be exposed; those who promote it are putting the lives of young Irish people in jeopardy. As history has shown the British police force has always been an enemy of the Irish people and treated accordingly and they continue to be so.
The ongoing arrests and trumped up charges amount to nothing more than internment by stealth. Two such cases are Martin Corey and Marian Price. Martin Corey’s case is so blatant there is not even a known charge against him; he is simply interned for holding Republican principles. Marian Price is currently very ill in Hydebank. The refusal of the prison authorities to allow UN doctors into to see her is no surprise; they don’t want the world to know the injustice of her detention. Scores of men are currently on a no wash protest in Maghaberry Jail in response to invasive strip searching and other barbaric conditions. Compassionate parole is used as a punishment against Prisoners of War. We must redouble our efforts to highlight their plight. The valued efforts by prisoners who are under lock and key to fight for their rights and thereby further the cause of Irish Republicanism, must be reciprocated by us on the outside
The media has stepped up its campaign of trying to normalise us to British rule, protesters are vilified for using their voice, politicians use words like pathetic and disgusting when citizens stand up for themselves against harassment. Currently there is a British propaganda advert making reference to all the wonderful things the Brits have done for us. They state this is our place, our time! Its a good slogan, this is our place, its Ireland and this is our time, time for change, time for freedom. There can only be one winner in this war and that will be the Irish people, if our generation do not succeed there will be generations to come who will.
We must realise that each and every one of us must work hard to end British rule. We are a Movement made up of individuals; your single action can contribute to the success of the Movement. We are all part of a bigger picture but that picture starts with you, our work or lack of, can have a detrimental or monumental effect. I have heard it said when people see injustice why doesn’t somebody do something about that? Who is somebody? You are somebody, I am somebody and so we collectively are the somebody who must do it. The power of the individual is as important as the power of the Movement. We are all only as good as our last action, sometimes we may feel that what we do has no bearing in the larger scheme of things. I want to leave you with this thought. One person can make a difference, 100 people can make real change but together we can build a nation.
Onwards to Victory
Go raibh mile maith agaibh.