Main oration at this years volunteer Alan Ryan commemoration read my Francie Mackey:
Yet again, with multiple arrests of Irish republicans, the insidious presence of the British Security apparatus in Ireland is made manifest. The hallmark of Britain’s violation of our national sovereignty is its clear intent to maintain that violation through the use of spies, informers and collaborators.
And as we approach one hundred years of the partitioning of our country these arrests reaffirm a centenary of its abject failure for all the people of Ireland. The artificial foundations of partition can never be accommodated by democratic norms hence the abnormal nature of how it is administered and maintained.
When we commemorate our patriot dead our first duty is to an honest appraisal of where our struggle stands both in terms of our abilities to advance it and to consolidate any gains made. At the graveside of our friend and comrade Alan Ryan I offer this assessment of our current status.
Irish republicanism is not winning this struggle. And the principle reason why we are not winning is a failure to properly grasp the political environment which currently prevails across the entire island. And by not grasping this political reality we are ensuring that the core tenets of Irish republicanism will continue to be seen as irrelevant to our people.
The long war resulted in a politics it was not fighting for. A lesser war will not alter that fact. The Good Friday Agreement de-politicised the constitutional question thus marginalising political arguments based on conflict. And this is where Irish republicans need to re-evaluate our political thinking. The only credible means to have the constitutional question back on the political agenda is to formulate a solutions-based approach around it.
The Covid pandemic exposed the border as an absurd relic, impacting negatively on the health and physical welfare of the Irish people.
Brexit has also raised the spectre of Westminster’s interests being served yet again at the expense of the Irish people. These are but two examples of how events outside of the normal republican narrative can have a huge bearing on the central question we want the body politic to address.
The restoration of our national sovereignty can only be realised once it is made relevant as a solution to the needs of our communities. The arguments for Irish unity based on history and tradition, whilst still true, are broadly academic in the current climate.
Calls for Irish unity are a poor substitute for acts of Irish unity. And this is where republicans must take the initiative. In the absence of a national leadership local leadership must take up the reigns of republican activity. But this does not mean we adopt a parochial attitude. It is essential that local republican activism seeks out and communicates with other likewise activists and explore the possibilities of coordinating both their activities and their message to maximise its effectiveness.
We cannot wait for someone else to make these contacts, we must initiate them ourselves. The geographic symbolism of a 32-county based activism is a strong statement of deliberate intent. Our communities in Belfast, Cork, Derry and Dublin all share similar social challenges and it is only common sense that republican solutions to those challenges be devoid of any semblance of partitionism.
If we apply our republicanism, if we enact our sovereignty, we can revive the Republican Movement into a position of relevance. There is no other way forward at this time. Let us keep the memory of Alan Ryan, and all our patriot dead, as an inspiration for the long road ahead.
Video to follow.