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Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Easter speech 2010 The Loup, County Derry

4 April, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD


Speaking at the annual Easter Commemoration in The Loup, County Derry today, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said the economic mess in Ireland today has been caused by the greed of the few who inhabit the golden circle.  Deputy Ó Caoláin said tens of billions of Euros are to be taken from the pockets of this and future generations of our people to prop up corrupt banks and to bail out corrupt speculators.

He said, “The freedom to which we aspire is the freedom set out in the 1916 Proclamation. It is the ownership of Ireland not by bankers and speculators and multinational corporations and corrupt politicians but by the people of Ireland.

“The economic crisis in Ireland today has been caused by the greed of the few who inhabit the golden circle. Just this past week in the Dáil, my three fellow Sinn Féin TDs and I stood against the latest and greatest robbery of the Irish people by that golden circle. Tens of billions of euros are to be taken from the pockets of this and future generations of our people to prop up corrupt banks and to bail out corrupt speculators. These are the very same people who led the economy into recession and who have thrown nearly half a million people on this island onto the dole queues.

“There is huge anger across this land at what has been done to our country. But that anger must be channelled into political action for real change.

“Sinn Féin is the only all-Ireland party and the only party capable of delivering real change on an all-Ireland basis. And only all-Ireland change can truly transform our country. I urge each and every one of you to be part of that movement for real change in our country, for social and economic and cultural freedom, for a real Republic embracing all 32 Counties and all of our people.” ENDS

Full text of Deputy Ó Caoláin’s speech follows:

1916 Easter 2010

Comóradh na Cásca, The Loup, County Derry

 Easter Sunday 4 April 2010

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader

A chairde, Republicans of County Derry,

It is a great honour to join you today as we pay tribute to all the men and women who have given their lives in the struggle for Irish freedom on this, the 94th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

The Proclamation of the Irish Republic was first read at Dublin’s GPO on Easter Monday 1916. We stand today by the principles of that Proclamation. We assert the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and standing on that fundamental right we declare that our aim is the establishment on this island of the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State.

We stand for a Republic that, in the words of the Proclamation, guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities and resolves to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally.

The Irish Republic we seek will embrace the whole island of Ireland and all of the people who call this island home.

Our nation does not stop at Letterkenny or Monaghan or Dundalk as it does for some who would call themselves nationalists. Our nation does not stop where the poverty line starts or where urban meets rural or where so-called peace walls divide communities. It recognises no religious or sectarian or racial barrier. It is the historic Irish nation of Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen and women.

Let there be no doubt about it. We are for the removal of partition, the end of British jurisdiction in Ireland and the reunification of our nation and, in the words of Pádraic Pearse, the people are the nation.

It is fitting, therefore, but it is also sad and poignant that we stand at the graveside of Seán Larkin of County Derry. He was one of the first victims of partition rule in our country, one of the 77 republican prisoners of war executed by the Free State government during the Civil War, one of over 100 who were killed in prisons and on roadsides after capture by Free State forces.

Consider the plight of Seán Larkin. A son of County Derry, he saw his country divided by the British government and he fought bravely for Irish freedom. He saw the historic province of Ulster cut in pieces and Derry divided from Donegal. But worse than this, he saw a Treaty signed by Irish representatives in London which agreed to the partition of Ireland and then established a Government in Dublin which made war on republicans at Britain’s behest.

Seán rejected the Treaty and stood by the Irish Republic. He came to Donegal and found a welcome among the republicans of that County before his capture and execution at Drumboe on 14 March 1923. Executed with him on that day were his comrades of County Kerry – Charlie Daly, Daniel Enright and Timothy O’Sullivan. Republican soldiers in Kerry, they came North to stand with the people of the Six Counties during the reign of terror imposed on them as the Orange regime, hand in glove with the British government, established the Northern Ireland state. How tragic it was that these IRA Volunteers from Derry and Kerry who symbolised the unity of Ireland should die at the hands of an Irish Government.

We remember them with pride.

We remember with equal pride the fallen County Derry IRA Volunteers of the present phase of the struggle for freedom and we extend our continuing sympathy and solidarity to the families of Volunteers Martin Lee, John Bateson, James Sheridan, Francis Hughes, Thomas McElwee, Danny McMullen, Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde, Francis Bradley and James Kelly.

We remember all republicans who have died and who gave service in the current phase of the Irish people’s long struggle for national self-determination. And we remember all who have died in the tragic conflict in our country and sympathise with all who were bereaved.

As republicans today we live in a time when armed conflict has been put behind this society and where we have built a peace process and a political process. The sacrifices of our comrades in the past, those who suffered death or injury or imprisonment, have ensured that there can never be a return to a one-party Orange state, to second-class citizenship, to British militarization and institutionalised sectarianism.

Today we build on the struggle of the past and continue that struggle in new forms and new ways.

The Irish republicans of this generation have created a peaceful way forward – and forward is the only way we are going. There are those, both in rejectionist unionism and among the micro-groups on the fringes of nationalism, who seek to drag all of us back into conflict. They have nothing to offer but division and bitterness and they deserve no support.

Republican Ireland looks to Sinn Féin for leadership and that leadership has been provided through the most difficult days of conflict, through the Peace Process and into a political process that continues to evolve every day. I want to take this opportunity to commend the leadership given by your MP and MLA, Deputy First Minister and Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness.

The success of the recent negotiations with the DUP on the transfer of policing was but the latest achievement of the Sinn Féin negotiators, including Uachtarán Shinn Féin Gerry Adams, and they deserve not only our thanks but that of all the people of Ireland.

The transfer of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast on 12 April is a major step forward, belated though it is. The agreement to finally transfer powers was made in Ireland and it came about not because of any sense of urgency on the part of the British or Irish governments but because we in Sinn Féin held to our commitments and demanded that others did likewise.

Across communities in the North of Ireland transfer was seen as the right thing to do and the DUP finally had to recognise that reality. A working Executive and Assembly, linked to all-Ireland structures that actually deliver for the people and have the potential to deliver more and better – these too are seen as the right thing to do.

Unionists have entered a government based on equality and parity of esteem and the sky has not fallen on their heads. I believe that increasingly today unionists are looking to their neighbours here in the North and they are looking west and south to the rest of Ireland. Years of looking east across the mists and storms of the Irish Sea to distant British governments has brought them only frustration. Their place is in Ireland.

Our work with unionists has been a learning experience for republicans also. We know the depth of their fears and concerns and the distance that has yet to be travelled to convince sufficient numbers of unionists that a united Ireland is in the interests of all the people who share this island. For our part we are more convinced than ever that Irish unity is indeed the way forward. And we say to our unionist neighbours that we are determined to build an Ireland that will have a place for everyone and that will be a cold house for no-one.

To move towards our goal of Irish unity we need to increase our political strength North and South. Our next challenge is the forthcoming Westminster general election and I urge all republicans to mobilise in large numbers and to ensure the maximum possible vote for Sinn Féin candidates across the Six Counties.

Every vote cast for Sinn Féin is a vote cast for the Irish Republic proclaimed in 1916, the United Irish Republic that we are going to achieve. And make no mistake about it, every vote cast against Sinn Féin or with-held from Sinn Féin by those republicans who are today critical of our leadership and means is a vote against that Republic and a vote to delay the day of Irish unity.

This generation of Irish republicans has made huge progress. The Orange state is gone. One-party rule at Stormont is gone. The RUC and the UDR and the RIR are gone. British militarisation is almost gone.

Good riddance to them all.

They failed to break republicans just as internment and shoot-to-kill and paid perjurers and death squads and prisons and censorship failed to break us. But republicans did not come through all this just to survive. We are moving on. That is why we must complete the process of transforming policing and justice. That’s why we must see the complete removal from Ireland of the British Army and MI5. That’s why we must have a Bill of Rights. That’s why we must have an Irish Language Act. That’s why we must have full and equal access to education and health and an end to poverty. And that’s why we must have an end to partition and why we will have a United Ireland.

Éire ní hamháin Saor ach Gaelach, ní hamháin Gaelach ach Saor, a dúirt an Piarsach. Ba chóir go mbeadh aitheantas agus tacaíocht iomlán don teanga Gaeilge agus do phobal na Gaeilge sa dá stát ar an oileán seo. Tá dualgas ar phoblachtánaigh ceannaireacht a thabhairt sa feachtas sin ar son na Gaeilge. Ni féidir sin a dhéanamh gan í a labhairt agus a chur chun cinn inár bpáirtí fhéin.

Agus cad faoi saoirse? Cad is brí le saoirse inniu? Cinnte, ciallaíonn sé go mbeidh deireadh le riail na Breataine sna Sé Chontae agus Éire Aontaithe. Ach ciallaíonn sé chomh maith go mbeidh saoirse eacnamaíocht agus soisialta ag an pobal agus go mbeidh an pobal i réim.

The freedom to which we aspire is the freedom set out in the 1916 Proclamation. It is the ownership of Ireland not by bankers and speculators and multinational corporations and corrupt politicians but by the people of Ireland.

The economic crisis in Ireland today has been caused by the greed of the few who inhabit the golden circle. Just this past week in the Dáil, my three fellow Sinn Féin TDs and I stood against the latest and greatest robbery of the Irish people by that golden circle. Tens of billions of euros are to be taken from the pockets of this and future generations of our people to prop up corrupt banks and to bail out corrupt speculators. These are the very same people who led the economy into recession and who have thrown nearly half a million people on this island onto the dole queues.

There is huge anger across this land at what has been done to our country. But that anger must be channelled into political action for real change.

Sinn Féin is the only all-Ireland party and the only party capable of delivering real change on an all-Ireland basis. And only all-Ireland change can truly transform our country. I urge each and every one of you to be part of that movement for real change in our country, for social and economic and cultural freedom, for a real Republic embracing all 32 Counties and all of our people.

Many of you are supporters of Sinn Féin who assist in elections and fundraising and who attend commemorations and other events such as these. I ask you, if you have not already done so, to take the next step and to join Sinn Féin.

Play your part, have your say, empower yourself and your community. Encourage your friends and family to join Sinn Féin. We need a mighty movement across this land to reach our goal of freedom and unity.

A chairde, táimíd ar bhóthar na saoirse, an bóthar go dtí an Phoblacht. Bí linn ar an turas sin.

We are on the road to freedom, the road to A United Ireland of Equals. If we go forward together united and in greater numbers on that road then is cinnte go dtiocfaidh ár lá. An Phoblacht Abú!

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