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Sinn Féin – Easter Sunday Commemoration at GPO April 5, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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I Táim brod agus go hán sasta ag caint sa an ait seo i Baile Ath Cliath le an comoradh Eiri na Casc naoi deag is a se deag.

Easter for republicans is a time for reflection, remembering and celebrating what has been achieved in the past.

We remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives that we would have the opportunity as a people and a nation to be free and independent.

A time when we honour and remember friends and comrades who have died.

I would like now to remember a friend and life-long republican, Chrissy Heffernan, who passed away on Thursday. We extend our deepest sympathy to her husband Vinnie, her children, grandchildren and to her extended family

Ar Dheis De go raibh a Anam.

Easter is also a time of pride in our heritage.

From the start of the First World War, Liberty Hall displayed a banner draper across the front of the building stating “We serve neither King nor Kaiser, we serve Ireland.”

It was under this slogan that a small band of Irish men and Irish women marched out on Easter Sunday to take on the might of the British Empire.

The 1916 Easter Rising was a beacon of hope for oppressed people all over the world. Both Ho Chi Minh and Mahatma Gandhi refer to our Easter Rising as the start of the inspiration for their own liberation struggles.

The leaders of 1916 had a clear vision that their rebellion was not only about achieving Irish freedom but was also about creating a more equal and just society. It was James Connolly who said:

“The national movement must demonstrate to the people of Ireland that our nationalism is not merely a morbid idealising of the past but is also capable of formulating a distinct and definite answer to the problems of the present and a political economic creed capable of adjustment to the wants of the future.”

That is still true today, more than 100 years later.

Our political philosophy cannot be about solely idealising the past. It has to about tackling the economic problems of today and building a equal and just society.

Dublin was the catalyst of the revolution that was the Easter Rising and the Tan War that was to follow.

Dublin was the centre of trade union resistance during the 1913 Lock-Out.

O’Connell Street where we stand today, has been the scene of the biggest public protests in Ireland, including the trade union PAYE tax marches of the 1980s, the hunger strike protests and the protests against the Iraq War in 2003.

Dublin can be the catalyst for social revolution in 2010

The revolution that is needed to right the wrongs and the decimation of our public services.

Th wrongs including the ongoing attempts to divide workers in to public and private, union and non-union.

A social revolution that will halt the utter waste of talented workers thrown on the scrap heap of unemployment.

It is utterly wrong that ordinary working families and future generations who will have to pay for the casino banking and property speculation of the wealthy.

Do the super rich, the golden circle, the developers, the speculators always have to stay rich while a large proportion of our population always have to stay poorer?

The super-rich get NAMA, bail-out Tuesdays, and billions of taxpayers’ money.

They get the cosy benefits – they keep the villas and hideaways in Spain, the million euro bonuses, the golden handshakes.

Ordinary workers get their P45s and, if they are lucky, a cheque from Social Welfare.

***

Large flagship industries such as Ryanair and Quinn discourage the formation of unions in their industries. When things are going well it is okay but when things go sour who is there to represent the workers?

It is quite correct to express concern at the potentially huge job losses in Quinn, but it is the workers, not Anglo Irish Bank or the Quinn family, who will suffer yet again.

Who now speaks for the workers?

***

The Proclamation promised a Republic that would cherish all the children of the nation equally.

The actions of this government has only applied this equality to the bankers.

They have promised to bail them all out equally, even if they have no positive role to play in the Irish economy.

Yes, they treat them all equally

***

Brian Cowen and his cronies say there is no alternative.

We say here today he is wrong – just as wrong as when he was Minister for Finance.

There is an alternative to the gombeenism that has wrought so much pain on hard-working families.

There are always alternatives.

Sinn Féin has different priorities. Sinn Féin offers a fairer and better solution.

And answering James Connolly’s call, Sinn Féin is the national movement that has the potential, the will and the policies capable of formulating a distinct and definite answer to the problems of the present and a political economic creed capable of adjustment to the wants of the future.

We would start by giving people hope again, by getting people back to work, through capital investment in much-needed schools, public transport and hospitals.

Investing in a jobs stimulus package.

Taking 50,000 young people off the dole

Working together, out of this despair, out of this recession.

Rebuilding people’s shattered pride and confidence.

Building unity in the workplace – in the public sector and in the private sector.

It is about working for Ireland.

Working for all its people, not just the chosen few.

Let’s stop the media dividing workers.

Let’s put Fianna Fáil out of government.

Let’s keep Enda Kenny and Fine Gael out of government.

Let us rededicate ourselves today to build an ‘Alliance for Change’.

Let us recommit ourselves today to building a truly inclusive Republic and making the 1916 Proclamation a reality for all our citizens.

Many thanks for this. The speakers were Gerry Kelly (MLA) and Cllr. Seán Crowe.

Comments»

1. Frankly Mr. Shankly - April 5, 2010

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/96265

Interesting review of the Cork city commemorations, particularly of the WP. A bit sad that perhaps 400-500 people attending these events and this is not reflected in level of struggle against the government.

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Garibaldy - April 5, 2010

Thanks for that. Very interesting indeed.

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2. Captain Rock - April 5, 2010

I note references to Quinn. Is this the same Quinn that Michelle Gildernew was rushing to defend on TV on Friday night? Mind you so was Arlene Foster, but Arlene doesn’t claim to be a socialist.

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Leveller on the Liffey - April 5, 2010

Didn’t see it. Was she defending the interests of Quinn himself or the employees?

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3. Captain Rock - April 5, 2010

It was a stage-managed local MP and MLAs meet Quinn workers in Enniskillen, at the behest of management (as was the picket on the Dail). To paraphrase, Gildernew said she could not see why the southern government was targeting such an important company. Obviously the DUP and SDLP line was the same. it is Quinn himself who has raised the jobs issue- it is a threat. Mind you, both he and his brother Peter are adept at waving the green flag and no doubt this will play with some people. Peter Quinn was on Matt Cooper last year attacking the notion that ‘risk-takers’ should be subject to regulation. He made a (to my mind) very snide remark on a documentary about former GAA gen sec Liam Mulvihill last year, to the effect that Mulvihill was a very good administrator but lacked the instincts to be really great, had a ‘public service’ mentality and would not take risks. (Again that’s from memory but that was the gist of it).

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remaunsell - April 5, 2010

peter quinn also spoke as gaeilge on a TG4 history of the GAA and stated – quite inaccurately that the teaching of the irish language was banned in northern Ireland. not only is this quite untrue, but for many years the irish inspector in the NI dept of education was padraig mac con midhe a senior ulster GAA activist

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Ciarán - April 6, 2010

It was never banned outright, but the teaching of Irish was severely restricted by the Orange state. In 1933 (IIRC) the Education Minister Lord Charlemont wrote this in a letter to another Unionist MP who was furious that Irish was being taught at all.

Now if you want to make any sort of Irishman do something the surest way is to tell him that it’s forbidden, and if the learning of the Irish language is a bad thing […] all I can say is that forbidding it under pressure will stimulate it to such an extent that the very dogs in Belfast – at any rate, the Falls Road dogs – will bark in Irish.

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4. Captain Rock - April 5, 2010

‘Large flagship industries such as Ryanair and Quinn discourage the formation of unions in their industries. When things are going well it is okay but when things go sour who is there to represent the workers?

It is quite correct to express concern at the potentially huge job losses in Quinn, but it is the workers, not Anglo Irish Bank or the Quinn family, who will suffer yet again.’

That said I agree with the above. But the Quinns will wrap the tricolour around them soon enough and attempt to pressure the 6 counties SF leadership into backing them.

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5. sonofstan - April 5, 2010

Certainly the Quinn group has enrolled the media on its side agin the government in much the way as O’Leary did over the Hanger 6 nonsense – the fact that RTE seem entirely unable to investigate stories like this anymore and simply allow themselves to be stage managed by big business is troubling.

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EWI - April 5, 2010

the fact that RTE seem entirely unable to investigate stories like this anymore and simply allow themselves to be stage managed by big business is troubling

Indeed. The ‘spokesman’ for the ‘protest’ in Dublin turned out out to be a senior Quinn Group manager – and on the first page of Google results, too.

A little journalistic investigation wouldn’t hurt ’em – and it might get them that job with the BBC that they all want (in spite of their crush on the private sector).

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6. Garibaldy - April 5, 2010

True of the media all over sos. There was a survey done maybe about 18 months ago that revealed that most newspaper stories are now basically rejigged press releases.

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7. Ciarán - April 6, 2010

Let’s put Fianna Fáil out of government.

Let’s keep Enda Kenny and Fine Gael out of government.

And yet Sinn Féin won’t rule out coalition with either of them.

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8. que - April 6, 2010

Ciaran – The difference between the way the world is and the way we might want it to be?

Rule out coalition and maybe that knocks the SF vote down. Costs us transfers from all quarters. How will that help build the movement in the south.

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Ciarán - April 7, 2010

So why the empty rhetoric? And if your focus is on chasing votes then you’ll never really go anywhere – Sinn Féin will simply complete its transformation into a mini-Fianna Fáil.

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WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2010

In fairness to que SF has never pretended that it’s not in the business of building as a movement and that part of that is increasing its vote share. And I think that’s fair enough. I’d be concerned about a party whether of the Marxist left or any other part of the left that didn’t want to maximize support across a range of areas. Somewhat more problematic is the point about FF/FG. Although as a Marxist myself I think any party could legitimately use rhetorical wriggle room – thing is that I don’t think SF is a Marxist party.

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Ciarán - April 7, 2010

I think the last-minute change in economic policy in 2007 is indicative of what Sinn Féin are willing to do in the hope of achieving more votes, and that doesn’t square up with any pretense of having left-wing politics. I know SF aren’t a Marxist party, but even Eoin Ó Broin’s attempts to build a solid centre-left ideology keep running into brick walls.

And you’d think they might have learned some lessons from the Greens’ current exploits as junior coalition partners, but I haven’t seen much evidence that it has registered with SF at all.

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WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2010

As it happens I’m not disagreeing with your analysis, I think you’re particularly correct as per the Green Party experience, but obviously not just that (2007 was far from great) just suggesting that their perception of themselves diverges from it. On the other hand on their stated policy positions in the South they are as it stands certainly to the left of Labour albeit well short of the further left. How to hold them to it though in the aftermath of an election is a different matter, but I guess that’s up to the membership and in that regard I suspect if a coalition deal was possible, well, it would be done (although, on the current numbers I think they could find themselves with a somewhat increased representation and an actually quite comfortable position left of Labour in opposition).

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9. Jim Monaghan - April 7, 2010

‘Large flagship industries such as Ryanair and Quinn discourage the formation of unions in their industries. When things are going well it is okay but when things go sour who is there to represent the workers?

I am a bit dubious about whether TUs would make much of a difference. Possibly organise better redundancy terms, maybe. Oppose globalisation, Nama, wage cuts, pension changes for the worse etc.?
I am traditional with regardiong TUs as defensive organisations of the workingclass but there are obvious limits. I would add that unfortunately I think the officials have hollowed out the unions. They have weakened all rank and file activism.

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WorldbyStorm - April 7, 2010

Yes, that’s very much my view as well. Although better a union than no union, particularly in private sector employments. Having sat on both sides of the table as it were I’ve always been impressed by how much unions strike fear into employers without a progressive outlook.

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10. Blissett - April 8, 2010

Surely some mistake in that cork report, mentioning the death of Swanton? A number of republicans, including Jim Lane, later of Cork Workers Club and the IRSP, broke away not long after that, and one of the issues as I understand it, was the failure of the republican leadership of the time, ie, the soon to be officials, to adequately commemorate swanton. As I understand it this caused a great deal of division within the movement at the time. I think some would find it a bit rum for garland to note swanton in particular. Any chance it was that OIRA vol O’Leary killed in Silvermines?

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