Updated: Oct 11, 2018
"Comrades agus a chairde, it is a great honour to deliver this oration at the annual commemoration of our friend and comrade, IRA Volunteer Alan Ryan.
In doing so I am very conscious of the deep-seated grief, suspicion, and resentment that the Ryan family continue to experience over the loss of Alan, and his brother Vincent, in what can only be described as utterly scandalous circumstances.
And it is the very failure of Irish Republicans to comprehensively address those circumstances that is proving to be the main stumbling block to the advancement of Irish republicanism.
For at the heart of this sordid affair lurks a deeply anti-republican agenda, wide open to political and criminal manipulation. Irish republicanism has a duty of care to both its patriot dead and the integrity of the struggle for which those same patriots paid the ultimate sacrifice. That duty of care must be discharged in full or we must forfeit our claim to be Irish republicans.
As a keen observer of Irish and international politics, it would certainly have drawn a wry smile across Alan’s face listening to the recent pronouncements of Provisional Sinn Fein seeking an open and inclusive debate on Irish unity.
For it would seem that whilst issues like the changing of our national flag, our national anthem and joining the British Commonwealth are all fair game for the ex-member of Fianna Fáil the defence of Irish sovereignty would still merit the illegal expulsion from their ranks those who would adopt such a position.
Because that is precisely what happened when those longstanding republicans were illegally expelled when they sought to defend Irish Sovereignty prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.
It was to the viewpoint of such republicans that Alan aligned himself with. Recognising the core logic of the republicanism they articulated Alan wasted no time in advocating and pursuing its message.
And in honour of Alan’s courage and political foresight, in his name, we issue the following challenge to those within the Provisional Movement who would still claim to be an Irish Republican: why isn’t the defence of Irish sovereignty, our inalienable right to self-determination, not at the heart or your party’s supposed pursuit of Irish unity?
What was the legitimacy of the IRA’s war predicated on if not that for which Alan and his comrades prosecuted the continuation of the same war?
Despite the onslaught of denigration continuously directed by those establishment nationalists against those they would term dissidents the unassailable logic of the above challenge remains fully intact.
The task of Irish republicanism now is to build a relevant political message based on that logic so that the Irish people can be made fully aware of the stark choices which now face them.
We do not need to horsetrade our identity, culture or historic right to nationhood in return for a micro seat in an imperialist political and economic club.
For what died the sons of Rosín will not be answered in the British Commonwealth nor in a 32 County Free State.
And Alan’s death has also set a political and military challenge for Irish republicans today. How do we make ourselves politically relevant?
How do we face up to military honesty?
If we can engage in democratic debate on these two central issues, and reach a pragmatic consensus, we can safely say at the graves of all our patriot dead that we have indeed advanced this struggle.
And having advanced the struggle we have greatly strengthened our ability to discharge that duty of care we so onerously need to do so.