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Patrick O’Reilly and Michael Fitzgerald Commemoration


Oration read by John Murphy of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.


"The ultimate failure of the birth of partition was when Irishmen executed Irishmen to satisfy a treaty with the British Empire. There is no rationale, political or historical, which can refute this fact.

And there is no rationale, political or strategic, which can be used or employed to justify perpetuating that fact. For when we enter into subsequent and similar based arrangements with the same Empire, we execute Volunteers like Patrick O’Reilly and Michael Fitzgerald all over again.

The true vision of Irish republicanism, as articulated in the 1916 Proclamation, was made manifest when Dáil Eireann was established and ratified by the votes of the people. The price the signatories paid was to face a British firing squad. The price for betraying them was for Irish firing squads to replace them.

Our country has been partitioned for a hundred years now: a quarter of that century has been under the Good Friday Agreement. The so-called steppingstone of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, much lauded by Michael Collins, has never materialised. Are we to expect anything different from the Belfast Accord?

We cannot accept that the restoration of our national sovereignty is wholly dependant on the political whims of a British Minister, democratically unaccountable to anyone in Ireland.

A national democracy for our people cannot be made subordinate to a gerrymandered Border Poll wherein the Unionist position has a triple-lock guarantee that their view will prevail over any other. For all the talk of equality having been achieved by the so-called peace process the inequality in the vote remains its most damning indictment.

The salient lesson for Irish republicans from the revolutionary period is to bring our own revolutionary ideas to the here and now. We have no right to stand on the coattails of previous generations and call ourselves their successors.

The mantle of Irish republicanism can only be inherited by those who have ideas to advance it.

If we cannot bring original and radical political strategies into the political arena, then we must resign ourselves to the status of benign bystanders. That is the reality we face. And the only way republicans can begin to address that reality is to move forward with a process to develop those ideas.

There is a wealth of political thought within Irish republicanism. What we lack is a clear vision of activism to advance that wealth of thought. There is no point in being historically right but at the same time being politically irrelevant.

Our patriot dead are our living conscience. When we stand at their gravesides or monuments let us pay those who made the ultimate sacrifice the supreme honour of thinking for ourselves to finally establish what they made that sacrifice for.

Beir Bua!

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