The full text of the Oration delivered by Ard Chomairle member Ollie White at the RSF Easter Commemoration in Armagh City. A full report will be in the April edition of SAOIRSE.
As a proud Down Man I’d like to thank the Vol Charlie Agnew Cumann for giving me the honour to speak here today in Sandy Hill, Armagh City, on this the 97th anniversary of the historic 1916 Easter Rising. We assemble here and indeed in graveyards around the country and further afield to honour the men and women of Easter week and all those since, and before who gave their lives for the cause of Irish freedom.
|RSF Ard Chomairle member |
Ollie White delivering his oration.
Armagh has had a long tradition of resistance against foreign oppression. Back in medieval times Armagh would often find itself being invaded by the Vikings, today it still finds itself being raided and invaded by a foreign invader – the British. These invasions come in the guise of the RUC in dawn raids on the homes of Irish Republicans.
Armed resistance in the Armagh area against the occupational forces has had huge success down through the years and it has kept the Brits on their toes [long may it continue].One such operation took place on the 14th January1921 during the war of independence when an RIC sergeant was assassinated by the local IRA in a grenade attack in Market Street.
At the outbreak of the present phase of struggle, both the British army and the RUC suffered heavy fatalities at the hands of militant Republicans. Suffice to say this came at a price for some of Ireland's most fearless fighters who paid with their lives. They fought a good fight with the odds often stacked heavily against them. The Brits used every dirty trick in the book, they had their shoot to kill policy and they used loyalist death squads to inflict murder and fear into the Republican and Nationalist community.
The Ireland of today is not much different to Ireland in 1916. we are still occupied and colonised by the tyrannical British. Living in occupied Ireland as Irish Republicans we find ourselves faced with constant reminders of British imperialism such as the jailing of veteran Republicans Martin Corey and Marian Price. Indeed we have had Republican's from right across Ireland dragged before the British courts and heavily fined for participating in a human rights march calling for the unconditional release of Martin Corey, many of those are in attendance today.
Martin Corey is spending his third Easter in Maghaberry as a political hostage without a charge being put to him. This is simply internment. It seems Martin Corey's only crime is that of being an Irish Republican, who rejects the illegal partitionist states north and south. Well let me tell them something for nothing, they have a lot of jailing to do, because we here today and gathered at graveyard's and monuments throughout this country can all be accused of the same charge as Martin's and I for one am unrepentant!
Martin Corey is 63 years of age, he was sentenced to life in prison in December 1973 for his role in the execution of 2 RUC officers near Lurgan that same year. Martin at that stage was only 19 years old and spent the next 19 years in prison. After a respite of 21 years he is back in gaol without rhyme nor reason, simply because the Brits are accountable to no one and can do what they want, when they want. It is our job to expose and highlight Martin's case and I ask all of you here today to do what you can to support the Release Martin Corey campaign in the coming year.
Maghaberry and Portlaoise prison's are filling up with Republican's who oppose both the 6 County and 26 County states. In Maghaberry we have seen Republican POWs who have bore the brunt of both physical and psychological torture at the hands of the loyalist screws for the past number of years, indeed we should remember this Easter our local comrade Willy Wong who has been in Gaol for the last 3 years and is the only POW incarcerated on an indeterminate sentence.
Let me relay a message from Maghaberry this Easter, to all of you here today and especially those who are recording this commemoration, the Continuity Prisoner's of war will never be criminalised, nor will they ever be broken, they draw their inspiration and courage from our Irish patriots of Tone, Pearse, Connolly, South, O'Hanlon, Sands, Hughes and indeed from the local martyrs buried in this cemetery.
We In Republican Sinn Fein will continue to work tirelessly for the republican prisoners of war. We must also not forget Michael Campbell, who is imprisoned in a Lithuanian hell hole, we must campaign to have him repatriated back to Ireland.
The centenary of the historic 1916 rising is fast approaching, and we in Republican Sinn Fein must lead the way armed with the only viable alternative to the failed institutions of the 6 & 26 county states, our Eire Nua and Saol Nua documents.
However if others choose alternative means to remove the British from these shores we in Republican Sinn Fein will not be condemning them, as constituted we recognise the historic right of the Irish people to use controlled and disciplined force to drive the British forces of occupation out of Ireland, to restore the all Ireland Republic just like those we are here today to commemorate.
A New Democracy [Eire Nua] and a New Nay of Life [Saol Nua] should not be feared by anyone. The Eire Nua document was rejected by a number of provisionals, led by Adams and super Brit McGuinness citing that it was a sop to unionism. In fact when you read it Eire Nua is the only document that deals with ending sectarianism in our country. The provisional movement of Adams and McGuinness was built on sectarianism and we now know why. Who sets to benefit from this set up I hear you ask? The British and therein lies the truth, we know certain provisionals were being directed by Whitehall and steering the movement away from the Republican position as far back as the 70s. Under Eire Nua the 1916 Proclamation would have flourished and it can still . It is the Revolutionary Blue Print for a new Ireland.
Let me draw your attention to a key part of the proclamation - WE DECLARE THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND TO THE OWNERSHIP OF IRELAND AND TO THE UNFETTERED CONTROL OF IRISH DESTINEES.
The relevance of this is we have our own nationality and identity and as such we should have ownership of our own country all 32 counties, this is stated very clearly and we are more than capable of governing ourselves free from foreign interference.
Those who seek power in that bastion of Britishness they call stormont and call on the public to inform to the colonial police on Irish Republicans are insulting those who have gave their lives for the cause of Irish freedom, they are hypocrites, treacherous conspirators of the enemy and should be treated as such. They have signed up to, so willingly , to administer British rule here in Ireland as seen this year with their full support to name Derry as a UK city of culture. The normalisation of British rule is well under way with the attempted erosion of of our Irishness and identity beginning to take root. An example of this is where we have an artificial pub song written by Phil Coulter, another co-conspirator to the naming of Derry as a UK City of culture being used to replace the national anthem Amhran na Bhfiann. We must never allow this to happen!
The campaign has also begun to have the names of Irish patriots removed from sports stadia and parks named in their memory, most notably seen recently in Newry with the concerted campaign launched by pro-Brit elements to remove Raymond McCreesh's name from a play park, this is just the tip of the iceberg in their plans to erase
our identity from history.
I don't wish to speak for the dead nor can I second guess where they would be today, but what I do know is that our fenian dead, died to rid Ireland of British interference in Irish affairs. Whilst Britain remains in any part of Ireland we in Republican Sinn Fein will never dishonour their memory, we will continue to oppose British rule and expose the collaborators and quislings who have sold out the patriot game.
Let us Honour our patriot dead just not today but everyday, let us be the generation to finally end British involvement in Irish affairs which would be the only fitting tribute to the men and women of 1916 and set in motion the mechanisms to secure Ireland's freedom by beginning a program to educate and agitate for a 32 county federal democratic socialist republic.
Before I finish let me send out a message loud and clear to the Brits, we as Irish republicans like our dead generations we commemorate today, will not be bullied, we will never succumb to, nor will we ever bend the knee to the invader or its parasitic monarchy like some have done recently. Lets us not forget that same monarchy's army has butchered our people and raped our land for centuries in its name. Have they not learned the lessons of history? it would seem not , as history has proven time and time again there will always be armed resistance to England's illegal claim to any part of Ireland.
To that colonial oppressor I say, 'YOU CANNOT BREAK OUR WILL TO BE FREE FROM YOUR TYRANNY, SO GET OUT OF OUR COUNTRY AND STAY THE HELL OUT OF OUR COUNTRY'
Go raibh maith agat