The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

32 CSM Easter Oration, Derry

Marian Price • 12 April 2004

Fáilte romhaibh agus Beannachtaí na Cásca daoibh go léir.

Fellow republicans and friends, we are gathered here today on this proud, historic and symbolically potent date in the calendar of the Irish Republican struggle to pay homage to, and salute, the heroism, suffering and sacrifices endured by generations of Irish men and women in pursuit of Liberation and the establishment of a Sovereign, Independent Irish Republic.

It is at Easter time that Irish Republicans take the opportunity to reflect with pride upon those momentous events which occurred in our country in that famous week in 1916.

The political fallout from the sacrifice made by our patriot dead of that generation had a shattering impact, not just in Ireland, but on a global scale. The British Empire at that time was one of the most powerful and ruthless political and military systems the world had ever seen and a blow struck here was an inspiration to so many other small nations to throw off the yoke of tyranny.

As Republicans we gather, not merely to foster and cherish the memory of our fallen predecessors and comrades (important and necessary though that function must always be) but also to draw strength and inspiration from their lives and deaths and once again to swear allegiance to the legacy which they bequeathed to us. From their sacrifice we receive lessons of history to learn, ideals to espouse and principles of patriotism to uphold.

To be a revolutionary one must first accept that “to gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything” (Bernadette McAliskey) and certainly the men and women who lie beneath us in the earth’s cold embrace were all too familiar with the hardship and risk of building a resistance movement in the face of what sometimes appears to be insurmountable odds.

I say this because, as with all true republicans, we have similarly faced our difficulties. In the past year once again we have been forced to face the open aggression of the British and Free State Governments in their attempts to crush any opposition to their policies by every means at their disposal. This has included a campaign of harassment against our members, led by the RUC/PSNI and Special Branch, as well as the use of the media in order to vilify our cause through a process of black propaganda and misinformation.

These attempts took a particularly sinister twist when it was discovered earlier this year that attempts were made by the RUC and the DPP to influence the Forensic Science Laboratory in the cases of men falsely accused and remanded in custody on the basis of manufactured forensic evidence. Scientists were asked to “modify” and “omit” aspects of their reports and to overlook acts of contamination and blatant malpractice in order to ensure convictions. This is nothing but flagrant corruption, an act carried out by corrupt police officers on behalf of a despotic and corrupt state which, when faced with opposition, is willing to bend, break and abuse its own laws in order to achieve convictions.

Nevertheless we are told to believe that in the realms of what is ironically termed the justice system here in the north there is a ‘New Beginning to Policing’. In the daily news-sheets the Nationalist people have been advised by self-appointed and altogether rather dubious community figures to become part of the much heralded ‘Policing Partnership’. We state this clearly and without ambiguity or diplomatic double-meaning; there will never be an acceptance by true Republicans of ANY British backed police force anywhere in Ireland and our sole relationship to any such force will be strictly in terms of absolute, unremitting and ceaseless resistance.

The so-called new age or “new dawn” that is said to exist ever since the signing of the Stormont agreement has nothing to do with the kind of revolutionary Republic that we, or the men and women of 1916 envisaged.:

“We see the Six County State as irreformable and believe that full civil rights, an end to discrimination, unemployment, social deprivation and sectarianism can only be achieved when we achieve our national rights – i.e. independence and unity. We are opposed to the Assembly, and believe it has dangerous potential as a vehicle for a return to Stormont rule”.

Not my words, but those of a 1982 Sinn Fein election manifesto.

Contrast this with the situation that the Provisional Movement now finds itself in, hypnotised by the pomp and ceremony of ministerial finery – deluding themselves that a Westminster paycheque and ‘cross-border bodies for arts and culture’ will someday deliver the Workers’ Republic that men and women gave their blood for.

They should remember the prophetic words of Pearse,

“I make the contention that the national demand of Ireland is fixed and determined; that that demand has been made by every generation; that we of this generation receive it as a trust from our fathers; that we are bound by it; that we have not the right to alter it or to abate it by one jot; and that any undertaking made in the name of Ireland to accept in full satisfaction of Ireland’s claim anything less than the generations of Ireland have stood for is null and void, binding on Ireland neither by the law of God nor the law of Nations. Ireland’s historic claim is for separation. Ireland has authorised no man to abate that claim. The man who accepts as a final settlement anything less by one fraction of an iota than separation from England will be repudiated by the new generations”.

It is perhaps worth taking a moment to ponder how the countless Irish martyrs of every generation would have regarded our present day society, north and south of the British imposed border? What would Pearse and Connolly think of Ireland at Easter 2004? The overriding legacy which the 1916 leaders bequeathed was their strength of character, their courage, commitment, integrity, humanity and principle. They were poet warriors in the classical sense; men whose very souls were intertwined with the culture and physicality of a living and breathing nation.

But does the Ireland of today reflect the realisation of their beliefs and aspirations?

In both the south and north poverty is at chronic levels. There are shortages in housing, and the gap between rich and poor is ever widening. Our cherished folk and native culture is swamped by a media bombardment of capitalist orientated Anglo-American popular values. In the south the sovereignty of our nation is continuously eroded by the growing power of the European Union. The Dublin Government offers a capitalist playground where ministers currently display a feverish greed for the Washington Dollar – prostituting what was once neutral Irish soil so that American bombers and troops can go and annihilate thousands of relatively defenceless but fearlessly defiant people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have a feeling that those who gave their lives through the fire and sacrifice of Easter 1916, as well as many whom have shed their blood since, would have plenty to say about the state of our beleaguered nation.

The martyrs of 1916 “followed the call of freedom through fire and blood, through poverty, strife and slander; followed it through the gates of death, gladly proudly, uncomplainingly. Their call to us is a call of hope and courage. They bid us remember that so long as there are even a few, be they weak or strong, who will not yield in their hearts to the English enemy, who will have no traffic with English trickery, who will keep the light of faith and love and service on the straight road they walked, so that others may see it and follow where they led, there is hope for Ireland still, and all the force and intrigue and treachery in the world cannot crush her down in defeat. They bid us be strong in our faith, unyielding in our course, courageous and clean in our actions, loyal to the very last as they were and content to do our share of the uncompleted task, not caring to whom will go the honour and the glory.”

We might sometimes wonder why the world does not shake at the sheer injustice of it all. But we must take heart for it is their ideals and their faith in the future generations that calls us to hope and courage.

My last words today will be quoted from the last letter written by Liam Mellows to his devoted friends, in the course of which he stated profoundly:

“The Republic stands for truth and honour, for all that is best and noblest in our race. By truth and honour, by principle and sacrifice will Ireland be free….She may shrink but her faltering feet will find the road again. For that road is plain and broad and straight; its signposts are unmistakable”.

Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir

Beidh an Bua againn.






Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

16 April 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Two Codes of Ignoble Submission
Kathleen O'Halloran


32CSM Easter Oration, Derry
Marian Price


Threat to Dissident...?
J. Doherty


Another Recruit
Brian Mór


R = PB -C
Eoghan O’Suilleabhain


The Public, Private and Academic Partnership:
Towards a New Paradigm of Public Protection

Terry O'Neill


Anthony McIntyre


"Colombia-US Free Trade Treaty - far more than trade"
Emilio Sardi (with reflections by Toni Solo)


11 April 2004


Easter 2004, Arbour Hill, Dublin
Francis Mackey


Good Friday to Easter Sunday, 2 Days and Light Years
Anthony McIntyre


Is there a Republican Alternative to the Good Friday Agreement?
Gerry Ruddy


Bail For Sale - Nationalists Need Not Apply
Anthony McIntyre


Is the British State Neutral?
Liam O Ruairc


Lost Sheep or Shepherd?

Tom Luby


A Person I Admire
Miss O'Dee


Lerner, Said and the Palestinians
M. Shahid Alam




The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices