The 100th Easter 1916 Commemoration took place in St. Finbarrs Cemetery on Sunday 27th March.
100th Easter Commemoration Report
The 100th Easter 1916 Commemoration took place in St. Finbarrs Cemetery on Sunday 27th March.
The Joint Republican Commemoration assembled 2:00pm at Wilton Roundabout where members of Republican Sinn Féin Cork, 32 County Sovereignty Movement Cork, Cumann na mBan Cork, Cumann na gCailiní Cork together lead the commemoration with a Flute Band followed by 300 to 400 people which proceeded to the Republican Plot in St. Finbarrs Cemetery where the proceedings were chaired by Donal Varian.
The Chairperson then said a few brief words before asking for the 1916 Proclamation to be read whilst in the background Mise Eire was played.
Donal called for wreaths to be laid. Two on behalf of the Republican Movement, Two on behalf of all Republican POWs, One on behalf of Cumann Na mBan Cork and two on the grave of John Joe Kavanagh.
A lone Bugler then gave the last post and reveille while a full joint colour party accompanied by Cumann na mBan and Cumann na gCailiní lowered and then raise their flags in salute to our dead patriots.
Donal then introduced the first of two speakers John Murphy, Cork.
John said the following, A chairde it is one hundred years since the Irish Republic was proclaimed in arms. That Proclamation, in its dynamic simplicity, heralded a vision for our country and our people, which still resonates to this very day.
That vision has yet to be realised and in this the centenary of that seminal event the greatest monument we can erect for those insurgents is the very Republic they gave their lives to establish.
Such a monument is not merely bronze and stone but a living vibrant society where, in the words of the Fenian Proclamation:
“…a Republic based on universal suffrage, which shall secure to all the intrinsic value of their labour.”
The Irish republican struggle has been consistent in its core objectives since the time of Wolfe Tone. The arguments as to the legitimacy of those aims have equally been consistent. And yet the Republic continues to elude us. This is the true issue we need to address today.
When we look at the events of 1916 we see the revolutionary template, which they have bequeathed to us. Here we see loyalty to the objective surpassing loyalty to the group. We see the mutual wisdom of working together and the fruits it has born.
And when we utilise this revolutionary template we can realise such fruits of our own. The struggle of the Save Moore Street campaign is a shining example of this. We extend our heartiest congratulations to the tenacity of those campaigners especially for the year that is in it.
We also acknowledge the excellent cooperation amongst various republican groups, which was instrumental in maintaining the discipline and cohesion of the Citizen’s Occupation of the national monument as it was threatened by reckless and greedy developers. And we pose the question to those very same groups; why should such cooperation not continue?
Speaking at the grave of Wolfe Tone in Bodenstown last year the Chairperson of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement stated:
“The building of a political movement as a vehicle to advance republican goals is the shared responsibility of all republicans. All constituted republican organisations deserve the equality and respect for their contributions to such a movement.
Leadership in a revolutionary struggle is derived from comradeship and not control. The veracity of political strategies is predicated on the existence of organisational structures, which are fit for purpose. Without comradeship Irish republicanism can never advance its goals.
The republican base is clearly fragmented. That fragmentation has more to do with an absence of comradeship than it does with political or ideological differences. We need to be honest with ourselves on this point; we cannot pay lip service to ideas of republican unity or building political vehicles whilst comradeship is lacking.”
We stand on the precipice and face clear decisions. The Republican Movement cannot advance republican objectives if it values control over inclusiveness. We cannot stand in honour of those who gave their lives for Irish freedom knowing that our own efforts are usurped by division.
This Centenary must be a watershed for republican thinking. The primacy of revolutionary politics must be asserted. Solutions, which are not challenging are no solutions at all. We must be fully cognisant of the political and social environment we are surrounded by. We must recognise also the European narrative and the how the issue of national sovereignty is being dealt with.
Scottish independence, the pending Brexit Referendum and the financial havoc reeked upon families and communities have all brought the issue of individual, community and national sovereignty center stage of the current political conversation.
And just as the politically astute volunteers in 1916 utilised world events to propel the issue of Irish sovereignty onto the world stage republicans today must be equally astute to assure that we achieve the same objective.
This can only come to pass by republicans working through our problems together and forging our strategies together so that we maximise the impact of our resources. To this end we commend the national Easter commemoration-taking place in Dublin on Easter Monday.
For some considerable time republicans from various republican and socialist groups have been working steadily behind the scenes to put in place an event of truly national character to honour, not just the Centenary of 1916, but generate a solid platform from which comradeship and solidarity can finally move our project forward.
A chairde we are gathered to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Let us resolve here and now, once and for all, that the next time we gather the 32 County Republic will be the monument we build for them.
Donal thanked John and introduced Alfie McAvoy, Belfast
Alfie said the following, A Chairde, All over this country today there are people out celebrating the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rebellion. WE ARE NOT. We are here to commemorate and pay tribute as we have done every year, to the courage and to the sacrifice of the men and women of 1916, those who went before and those who have gone since in this war of independence which has continued for hundreds of years.
We are remembering the men of 1798. We are remembering the fenians. We are remembering the men who died in the Four Courts. We are remembering Sean Sabhat and Feargal O'Hanlon. We are remembering the men of Lough Gall, and all those not mentioned who have made the ultimate sacrifice for self-determination and freedom in this country.
This is not like the fourth of July in America or the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Why is it that Ireland has no day to celebrate? It's because they would have to celebrate "Partition Day", that shameful date of the 7th of January 1922 - a date they prefer to forget. We have nothing to celebrate other than the fact that after all this time we are standing here still unbeaten and unbowed owing no allegiance to Britain, the Free State, or to Stormont, but to the 32 county Republic declared in the Proclamation of 1916.
One hundred years is short time in a historical sense. There are people alive today who were alive when the Easter rising inspired Irishmen and women to oppose British imperialism in this country. They remember down the years to the present time further periods where that inspiration was repeated and the people stood up and were counted. This should give all of us hope for the future. The flame never goes out and passes from generation to generation and will only be extinguished when we have an independence day to celebrate instead of rebellions to commemorate.
In the wake of the rising the surviving rebels were treated badly. I'm not talking about the physical abuse - that was expected and endured with pride as part of the sacrifice they were prepared to make. However, the Irish people shunned them, the press reviled them, and their actions were deemed futile. Does this sound familiar? They were imprisoned, scattered amongst gaols around Ireland and in Britain.
One hundred years later things are no different. There are republican prisoners of war still being held around Ireland for playing their parts in the same struggle. I want to send out greetings to them from this plot today, to let them know that we appreciate their sacrifice, and that our thoughts are with them on this special day. I also salute those men and women who are continuing to resist the armed British occupation of part of this country. May your efforts help to bring about a successful conclusion to the long struggle for Irish independence.
It's so easy to see the continuity of republicanism from 1916 to the present day, and equally easy to determine that this is the only genuine republican commemoration to be held in this plot today with no links to the free state, Stormont, or Westminster, however there is also a parallel continuity of nay sayers and opportunists which I'll describe as the continuity of pragmatism.
In 1916 they were the Redmondites, in 1922 they were the pro-treaty side who became Fine Gael, in 1927 they were Fianna Fail, in 1969 they were Official Sinn Fein who eventually became Democratic Left then Labour, and today they are the provisionals. The mistakes of the past are always repeated by arrogant pragmatists who firmly believe that they are the messiahs who will succeed where others failed from inside these corrupt and illegitimate assemblies. MY ADVICE TO YOU IS - IF SOMEONE CALLS THEMSELVES A PRAGMATIST DON'T TRUST THEM.
How times have changed. Let's take off the rose-tinted glasses and put things into perspective. The provisionals are actively attending and operating the Stormont assembly and their boss is the British secretary of state Theresa Villiers. THEY ARE AS SUCH LOYAL TO THE BRITISH CROWN. This is an undeniable fact. They are fully supporting the free state parliament, which has withdrawn its claim on the occupied six counties. They now support the free state garda and the PSNI. What has changed in the garda to warrant that support, or is it that they the provisionals who have changed? Little has changed in the RUC/PSNI. The new name which was marketed as a compromise, and more acceptable to the nationalist population in the north includes "Northern Ireland" a term, which epitomises the partition of this country. The only operational change they have made is that they have improved their propaganda skills.
I want to talk about a peaceful Ireland, but I am not going to quote Padraig Pearse as relevant as it might be to the day that’s in it. As much as any person here I want to see a lasting peace in this country. In the early 90's I was asked my opinion of the cease-fire, and I said I was in favour. I was not in favour of the subsequent developments, which were in fact surrender.
Peace is the end result of any war for both sides in that war, one the winner and one the loser, but in order for there to be a lasting peace there must be justice. The so-called peace process we hear so much about does not promote justice. Justice will be achieved only by British withdrawal from this country, self-determination for the Irish people, and the implementation of the ideals of the 1916 Proclamation, embracing all the people of the nation regardless of their history or tradition. I look forward to the day when we will see a lasting peace in Ireland.
I'm not here today to talk about the economy, the housing problem, the health service deficiencies, the water charges, or any other political or social issues. I am all for political revolution, but I believe that before you can have a revolution we need to bring the war of independence to a final conclusion. In 1916 the military action taken by the Irish Volunteers and the Citizen Army is always described as the rising or the Rebellion - never revolution. This is because revolution is internal struggle peaceful or otherwise within a state, while all of the recorded Irish rebellions have been in pursuit of freedom from invading imperialists. When we leave here today though we must still challenge the politicians all over this country for while we don't recognise their legitimacy or authority, we must recognise that they hold the power in this country for the moment.
Ultimately the Irish people need to get the priorities right, and finish the War of Independence once and for all so that revolutionary politics can be properly promoted nationally. It’s ludicrous that one political party is opposing in one part of the country the policies, which they are implementing in the other part.
People often talk about republican politics. Republicanism is not politics - it is a system of national government, which allows the people to decide the future of the nation. Politics is the division of opinions on how best to run the nation. They say that politics is the art of compromise - that’s fair enough, but with republicanism there can be no compromise. We either get a Republic or we don't. There is no republic in this country and no democracy, because Britain denies the Irish people the right to self-determination.
In 1916 and the other Irish rebellions politics was put aside and right wing, centre, and left wing Republicans fought side by side united against the might of the British empire in order to establish the Republic. It has been proven time after time that politics have caused division and prevented progress being made in the quest for Irish freedom. So I'm calling for people to separate their politics from their republicanism, and to always put the Republic first. The re-unification of Ireland will come from the unification of Republicanism. Let’s hope it won't take another hundred years.
Go raibh maith agat
Donal Varian again thanked both speakers and all those in attendance. Amhrán na bhFiann was then played and the commemoration was brought to a conclusion.
The above report plus photographs can be see at http://www.rsfcork.com/nuachtnews.htm please share.