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A Decade of Centenaries - McLellan

13 April, 2013

A Decade of Centenaries

 As we gather our people are hurting.

Unemployment is at an all-time high, young and old are emigrating, and workers’ pay and conditions are seen as fair game by those in power.   

Austerity is the order of the day. Ireland’s sovereignty and its very independence are in question.

If we go back one hundred years to 1913 the similarities abound.

Back then the powerful and wealthy sought to control, demean and oppress the working classes.

The 1913 Dublin Lockout is testament to this.

Indeed the years from 1912 through to 1922 are littered with key historic events.

From the founding of Cumann na mBan in 191, to Pearse’s oration at O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral and the start of World War I.

The confusion and mayhem of the decade reaches its zenith in 1916 when brave Irish men and women, against all the odds, take on the British Empire.

As we embark on this decade of centenaries let us remember their bravery in the face of fierce and overwhelming opposition.

 Let us remember too that in every struggle, in every battle, women fought side-by-side with their male comrades.

 Let us remember that the struggle for workers’ rights is just as important now as was in 1913:

 That the struggle against poverty, poor housing and for decent universal health care continues.

 That the struggle for self-determination, particularly economic independence is just as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago.

 Therefore when we engage in the task of commemorating let us do so with the aim of advancing the struggle for a New Republic.

 If we are to truly honour all fallen republicans, and to do justice to the ordinary Irish women and men who struggled for freedom, and against poverty , exploitation and injustice  then let us not be found wanting in the task ahead.

That is to complete the unfinished business of Irish independence and to work tirelessly towards achieving a democratic 32-county socialist republic.

 An Ireland of equals.

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