We are gathered here today to honour and commemorate Theobald Wolfe Tone, generally recognised as the father of Irish republicanism.
It is a privilege to be asked to address you at this hallowed spot were republicans renew their commitment to bring an end to British Parliamentary Activity in Ireland.
The core tenet of Wolfe Tone’s republicanism was to break the English connection with Ireland.
In other words he belonged to a separatist movement and I am very proud to say that the separatist tradition is very much alive today and we stand united as Irish Republicans whose core tenet is to end the British imposed partition of our country and to end the violation of Irish National Sovereignty.
We in the 32 County Sovereignty Movement recognise the importance of a United Republican forum which allows the republican base alongside the Irish people to debate, discuss and analyse the legitimacy of British Rule in Ireland.
It allows us all to maintain the constitutional position of our respective organisations and through debate and discussion it allows us to make democratic decisions on areas of agreement.
Democracy and democratic accountability is the key to success as republicans move forward to ensure that the republican project is nurtured and made relevant to the Irish people today and in the years ahead.
It is an understatement to say that the undemocratic nature of the GFA and the changes to it made at St Andrews have seriously damaged the advancement of republicanism and has delayed any successful challenge to British interference in Irish affairs.
However, it is equally true to say, that the republican base has had for some time serious reservations about the direction in which they are being led by the Provisional leadership.
This was evident during the public meetings against British Policing in Ireland when hundreds turned out to air their discord at accepting such a police force.
The united voice of Concerned Republicans, Ex POW’s, The IRSP and ourselves in the 32 CSM exposed the lie that the RUC were reformable with a mere name change to the PSNI.
The PSNI are in reality a British police force, it is they who knock on our doors when arresting suspects, it is they who continue to harass and detain us on our own streets, search our cars and intimidate our families because we are Irish.
One of the most frequently asked questions today is what was achieved from the British inspired agreement from the republican point of view?
In truth what has been achieved is worse than nothing because the forces of constitutional nationalism have once again brokered an agreement which accepts that partition can be legitimately permanent.
That agreement was designed to end opposition to British Rule in Ireland.
Its aim was to update and normalise British Rule and to have Irishmen and women administering it.
Those doing so now at Stormont are of the Home Rule tradition and that is a tradition which sees British Parliamentary activity in Ireland as an intrinsic part of Irish politics.
The strategic flaw in negotiations leading up to that agreement was that the integrity and sovereignty of the Irish Nation was not protected which meant that our sovereignty was not recognised by either side. And the depth of this error is all the more compounded when we consider that our own history begged us not to repeat it as those in 1922 did. To quote from Robert Barton, one of the plenipotentiaries during the Treaty Debates,
In these preliminaries the English refused to recognise us as acting on behalf of the Irish Republic and the fact that we agreed to negotiate at all on any other basis was possibly the primary cause of our downfall. Certainly it was the first milestone on the road to disaster.
The negotiators allowed the violation of the rights of the Irish people to continue and the quislings in Dublin facilitated it by abandoning the people in the occupied area when they got rid of the territorial claim.
The Provisional Movement’s flawed analysis allowed this to happen and today the failure of their strategy is coming to fruition.
The undemocratic nature of that leadership is now proven to have had no impact in the politics of the 26 Counties and that experiment is now over. That State does not require two Fianna Fails.
In the occupied 6 counties sectarian politics is the only way those at Stormont can secure votes but in the longer term that too will fail.
In matters relating to social and economic issues it is evident that the parties have only wish lists with no sound evidence, based on research as to how they can deliver on them. They can only deliver what the British government and the civil service allow. They are Prisoners to the whims and self interest of the Queens Shilling.
There is no oppositional politics as it is all based on consensus.
There is no democratic decision making. They are all right wing parties which allow the people to suffer. Eg House prices have soared, our children and grandchildren cannot afford to purchase a home. Public sector housing has ceased being built and those people on low wages are caught in a poverty trap.
The health services are in crisis and is being further eroded to the extent that acute care is no longer accessible in many rural areas.
I could go on and on.
However I believe that by coming together with this first small step here today, Republicans United with a clear analysis, a clear strategy, a clear vision and a clear challenge we will become a force which cannot be ignored and with that unity we can ensure that the violation of the rights of the Irish people will not go unchallenged.
This is a new and inspirational time for republicans to advance the spirit of Wolfe Tone’s ideals. And in attempting to do so we can learn from his own basic belief that unity was essential in forging a liberation movement. Pearse also recognised unity as essential and we only have to look at the disparate groups which constituted the Forces Of The Irish Republic which fought in 1916. The template has been forged for us let us avail of it.
There is a lot of work to be done and the more organised republicans become the more we can achieve.
We in the 32 CSM look forward to a close working relationship with all republicans, working together to bring to fruition the republican project.
We do not underestimate the enormity of the task and we are equally aware of the forces against us from the establishment and their propaganda. The deployment of those forces on both sides of the border will have the sole aim of undermining the cause of republican unity. Our greatest defence against them is democracy within all our ranks.
Republicans United and Democratic will not allow anyone to cause such dissention and those interested in becoming part of the debate should be mindful that difficult decisions will need to be taken and that anyone claiming to be republican and sowing the seeds of dissent can only have an ulterior motive.
Lets commit ourselves today at this graveside to not only work together on areas of agreement but to reaffirm that our decisions are democratically reached and we can ensure that never again will a leadership led movement be allowed to use the republican sacrifice to further personal ambition in pursuit of self gain.
Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews +
Letters + Archives