Over the past number of weeks we have seen the systemic racial prejudices of US society come to the surface and result in worldwide protests, triggered by the tragic murder of George Floyd. This has led to a wider discussion worldwide about the presence of statues such as those which depict pro-slavery.
Some of these statues have been removed completely while others have been attacked including one of British warlord Winston Churchill. Churchill’s racist and imperialist mindset is well documented, as for example, he often blamed famine, death and disease on what he called ‘inferior races’. Such ideas are abhorrent and the antithesis of Irish Republicanism. Irish Republicanism was directly formed to eradicate sectarianism and bring all people together to topple inequality, exploitation and occupation.
On the back of these events, Leo Varadkar has voiced his belief that the statue of I.R.A Chief of Staff, Sean Russell, should be torn down. Wasting no time aiming their sites on our country's heritage, not being content with trying to level the historic Moore Street, the Free State puppet government continues to do its best to erase all signs of our country’s struggle against British imperialism.
Leo Varadkar is using the false premise that Sean Russell was a ‘Nazi collaborator’ to justify this attack on our nations patriots.This is a cynical move considering that Varadkar quoted the previously mentioned, avid racist Winston Churchill during a recently televised address. This is the same Winston Churchill who believed that the famine in Bengal and wider India during the early 1940’s was the Indian people's own fault for ‘breeding like rabbits’ and is even more bizarre considering the Indian heritage of Varadkars own family! However, the most hypocritical aspect of Varadkars statement is the fact that his own Party, Fine Gael, was founded by an avid fascist who sought to emulate Hitler's Nazi movement. Complete with the fascist salute and known historically as the ‘Blue shirts’, as they sought to emulate Hitler’s thugs in the Brown shirts and Mussolini's Black shirts. They also allied with Fascist Spain,Italy and Nazi Germany during the Spanish civil war while Irish Republicans fought with the Spanish Republic against them.
The truth of the matter is that Sean Russell travelled to the US, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany seeking weapons anywhere he could find them. He believed in the long held position that ‘England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity’. Furthermore, after German attempts to convert Sean Russell he responded: “I am not a Nazi. I’m not even pro-German. I am an Irishman fighting for the independence of Ireland. If it suits Germany to give us help to achieve independence, I am willing to accept it, but no more, and there must be no strings attached". In fact Sean Russell was also accused of being a spy for the Soviet Union, and his monument has been historically attacked by fascist and right wing elements.
While some people may criticise Sean Russell’s willingness to obtain weapons from any country which would supply them, it is worth noting that even the USSR supplied Germany with a major percentage of its oil and other raw materials up until their invasion, signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and agreed to create spheres of influence in Europe between them and Nazi Germany. While this was done primarily to delay any German attack until the USSR was stronger, this is in clear contrast to the position adopted by Sean Russell.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement strongly opposes any attempt by the Free State government to destroy our country’s heritage. We also condemn Leo Varadkar’s misrepresentation of Irish history and his attempt to use the issue of prejudice for his own warped agenda.