National 1916 Easter Commemoration 2023
The following is the main oration from today's national 1916 Easter commemoration at Arbour Hill. The event was organised by the National 1916 Commemoration Committee and the oration read by the president of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, Republican veteran Phil O'Donoghue.
In the clamour and political self-serving rush to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement it is imperative that Irish republicans make our people aware that that agreement has made possible the 100th anniversary of partition.
There is absolutely nothing to celebrate about partition, be it for one day or one hundred years. From its inception it betrayed everything the Irish revolutionary tradition stood for and achieved. As a so-called steppingstone to freedom it has only ever stepped backwards each time a treaty was agreed to sustain it.
Agreeing to partition said to Wolfe Tone that the objective of uniting Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter is secondary to maintaining sectarian divisions to satisfy British imperial interests.
It said to Robert Emmet that his epitaph must be indefinitely postponed because the Irish people do not have a place amongst the nations of the world.
It said to Fintan Lalor that irrespective of the cost of famine and emigration; homelessness and evictions the landlord will still get their rent.
It said to the Fenians that the soil of Ireland does not belong to the people of Ireland and that the toils of their labour will continue to enrich the oligarchy and the multinationals.
And it said to those who are buried here, those who wanted the ideals of the Proclamation to be carved into the fabric of Irish society, that Home Rule within the empire is their preferred option for our people because that is the option which secures preferential treatment for themselves.
They will come from far and wide to laud this British peace. They will lay claim to be the authors of this peace so that they can seek rehabilitation from political and financial corruption to once again seek the perks and prestige of high office.
They will wrap themselves in the shroud of this peace to cover their blood-stained clothes from the slaughter of Iraqi innocents. That is a particular hand of history they would rather remain hidden.
Others will tell us that repudiating our people’s right to their national sovereignty will in some way ensure that our sovereignty will be restored. Like others who co-signed that agreement their lust for political power has blinded them to the price they have already paid for it.
They are now in the Englishman’s pay. Taxation is set at what the multi-nationals say it will be and not what it should be for the benefit of our people. The provision of homes continues to reside in the realm of private profit for banks and vulture funds. The promise of change has conformed to the point of view of the powers who most resist it.
There is no part of the republican narrative that accepts that our constitutional and democratic future should be surrendered to the control of a British minister.
And we not only address this deeply flawed democratic deficit to the Irish people, we address it to the British people also. Your recent decision to withdraw from the European Union was largely centred on your desire to regain control of your own law making and economic affairs from people you have no democratic control over.
Are the people of Ireland not equally deserving to be in control over our own destinies from people and institutions who are not democratically accountable to us?
We cannot vote for your Secretary of State; we can’t vote against them either! Why should the Irish people be forced to accept this double standard?
You are more informed of your history in Ireland from Netflix than you are from your schools and universities. The Good Friday Agreement is not a democratic settlement because the very premise of any partitioned vote is a gerrymander in favour of an artificially contrived majority.
This democratic contortion applies to a Border Poll also. From the outset the British Government gave a ‘triple-lock’ guarantee that the unionist position would prevail over any other.
The nature of any question posed is purely at the discretion of the British authorities who will undoubtedly frame it with their own political interests uppermost in their minds.
The votes of the people in the Twenty Six Counties are reduced to mere theatre as the mechanism of the poll is solely concerned with a majority in the Six County Statelet.
This is what you have inflicted on the Irish people. It is the continuing culmination of a litany of historical abuses you have perpetrated in our country.
Through your policies you have targeted our identity, our faith, our culture, our economic well being and through the years 1845 to 1852 our very existence.
And the fact that our people have come through these perennial abuses with our sense of identity and nationhood firmly intact there remains only one policy left open to you, your complete withdrawal from Ireland.
The 1916 Proclamation is an outstanding blueprint to build a sovereign republic for all our people. In the revolutionary tradition it firmly recognises that the divisions amongst our people are those carefully fostered by an outside power.
That is the connection which must be broken, but it is only the first of many. We must break the connection with historical revisionism that says we should fear to speak of Easter Week.
We must break the connection with the post-colonial mindset that continues to say to us ‘croppies lie down’.
This then allows us to break the connection with our economic subjugation, to shatter our connection to homelessness and poverty by asserting our sovereignty over the fundamental rights of all our citizens.
“We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”
This is the bedrock of Irish republicanism. It is the only basis upon which a truly inclusive republic can be built for our people. Those who signed the Easter Proclamation transcended party politics. They were nation builders and completely selfless when it came to serving our people.
This is the price for calling ourselves republicans. There is no career path to securing our objectives only the wages of sacrifice. Irish republicanism must re-align itself to make ourselves relevant in current times. It cannot be business as usual. It cannot be the old slogans.
A republican voice must resonate once again. A collective voice that articulates the republican ideals of the revolutionary tradition. A message that reinforces who we are and what we mean to achieve, the breaking of the connection with England and the establishment of a sovereign Irish democracy within an All-Ireland republic.