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There is no place in our struggle for those involved in criminality – Ó Caoláin.

6 September, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD


Speaking at the annual Tyrone Volunteers commemoration in Pomeroy today, Sunday 6th September, the Sinn Féin TD for Cavan Monaghan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin delivered one of the strongest public rejections yet of those involved in criminality, including former IRA volunteers or others on the fringes of republicanism who may be involved in such activities.

“There is no place for you in our ranks. There is no place for you in our struggle. Your actions are the very antithesis of our republican values” declared Deputy Ó Caoláin.

The long serving Cavan Monaghan T.D. in his address stated;

"Down through the generations, and not just over decades past but through centuries long, men and women from all parts of Co. Tyrone have taken a stand to assert the right of the Irish people, the people of all-Ireland, to nationhood and independence.

"The Tyrone republican story is a mighty one and one that you are all justly proud of. That story, so eloquently told in Tyrone's Struggle, has been and remains an inspiration to many young republicans across this land who, while the struggle's furtherance has taken a different course, have the same determination, the same commitment and tenacity as those who have served before them.

 

"But let me say to those, including perhaps former volunteers or those on the fringes of our struggle who have been or who are involved in criminal activity, whatever form it takes – there is no place for you in our ranks – there is no place for you in our struggle. Your actions are the very antithesis of our republican values, of our commitment to public service and of the selflessness of those whose lives and courage we recall and salute here today.

"Let us continue ever onward together, united in purpose and resolve, to the achievement of the Irish Republic declared in Easter Week 1916. We have dared to dream and one day and in our time, please God, that dream will come true and countless millions then and beyond will live in the fulfilment of the vision of Pearse and of Connolly."ENDS

  Full Text of Address follows:

“A chairde, poblachtánaigh Tír Eoghain,

They dared to dream.

They dared to dream that one day the people of Ireland would stand together proud of their shared nationhood and of its freedom.

They dared to dream.

Down through the generations, and not just over decades past but through centuries long, men and women from all parts of Co. Tyrone have taken a stand to assert the right of the Irish people, the people of all-Ireland, to nationhood and independence.

They dared to dream and the dream lives on.

The dream lives on in you, each and every one of you gathered here this evening in Pomeroy and it lives in the hearts and in the spirit of millions of Irish people here at home and across the Irish diaspora.

The republicans of Tyrone have designated today as a day of remembrance and commemoration. We gather here in Pomeroy to remember all those who have given their all, their very lives, in selfless service to the cause of Irish freedom. We remember very especially Volunteers Dan McAnallen and Patrick Quinn who lost their lives tragically here in 1973 and Vol. Seamus Woods, who died in the same tragic circumstances fifteen years later.

Today we salute all those men and women whose names appear on the Co. Tyrone Republican Roll of Honour and all Tyrone republicans who have given honourable service in the ranks of the Irish Republican Army, whether on active service, on hunger strike or in support roles.

We remember and pay tribute too to the lives of those who served the republican cause as activists in Sinn Féin and who had their lives so brutally taken from them by British crown forces and their locally recruited surrogates. Their commitment, service and sacrifice is deserving of our equal respect.

The Tyrone republican story is a mighty one and one that you all are justly proud of. That story, so eloquently told in Tyrone’s Struggle, has been and remains an inspiration to many young republicans across this land who, while the struggle’s furtherance has taken a different course, have the same determination, the same commitment and tenacity as those who have served before them.

Today’s young republicans are greatly gifted, highly educated and confident. They are deserving of our individual and collective support, of our encouragement and of our continuing proactive participation.

The road to freedom, the road to our republican goals, is not an easy one. It never has been and it never will be. It will require from each of us our unwavering support and our solid commitment to each other and to our standing together always. It is only through unity of purpose, unity of resolve and unity of service that we will succeed. Every splintering, every departure, or the withholding of support weakens and delays the certain day of our struggle’s success.

I appeal to those who today stay at home, to those who for one reason or another stay away, to those who spend their time offering only criticism and encouraging disaffection, to recognise that the enemies of our cause are emboldened by your absence and by your utterances. The door is always open. Ours is the people’s struggle. It is your struggle. It always has been and it still requires your active participation and all the way to the achievement of our shared dream, of our shared objectives.

But let me say to those, including perhaps former volunteers or those on the fringes of our struggle who have been or who are involved in criminal activity, whatever form it takes – there is no place for you in our ranks – there is no place for you in our struggle. Your actions are the very antithesis of our republican values, of our commitment to public service and of the selflessness of those whose lives and courage we recall and salute here today. Turn away from whatever you are involved in. Turn away from mé féinism. Turn away from greed. Turn away from criminality.

My dear friends, Dan McAnallen, Patrick Quinn and Seamus Woods and all the republican heroes of Tyrone’s contribution to our freedom struggle, not least among them Seán McCaughey of Aughnacloy and Martin Hurson of Cappagh, were all good, decent and honourable men and women. They were the equal of all who went before them, including the great leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, the centenary of which we are all preparing to celebrate. The volunteers of Tyrone through the seventies, eighties and nineties helped sustain the longest period of armed resistance to Britain’s war machine in Ireland. Those were different times to those known and faced by the men and women volunteers of 1916 and subsequently. However, the settings were no different to those of the 1918 – 1921 period and the actions undertaken were precisely the same – armed guerrilla actions against precisely the same enemy.

But that day too has come and gone and we in our time have not only been entrusted with the task of pressing forward to the achievement of our republican goals by peaceful and political means but we have the wherewithal to succeed. We have the energy and talent of our growing activist base across the island. We have the ever-growing support of the Irish people at home and abroad, including, albeit a small but growing number, from within traditional unionist thinking here in this part of our shared island. More and more young and not so young people of the Presbyterian tradition in particular are informing themselves of their proud republican past, of the leadership given by their co-religionists in other times.

It is time to join hands again and to march forward together as was done in the past. Jointly commemorating Theobald Wolfe Tone and the great leaders of the United Irishmen – visiting and learning together our great and shared past and hopefully pointing us forward to a great and shared future.

My dear friends, in the time ahead, with elections looming north and south, we will be, as we have been over recent weeks, subjected to every imaginable attack and criticism. Stay strong and take heart from the fact that this is as vicious and as hate-filled as it is because we are as strong as we are and clearly in growth. Our opponents and our enemies will employ everything they can think of, every lie and every smear, to try and curtail our political project. You and I, and countless thousands like us, through our adherence to the principles and highest standards of republican activism and service to our respective communities, constituencies and to our country, are the guarantors of their failure. We are the backbone of the movement for change in Ireland today and, as in the past, we will not be found wanting in these challenging times.

Let us continue ever onward together, united in purpose and resolve, to the achievement of the Irish Republic declared in Easter Week 1916. We have dared to dream and one day and in our time, please God, that dream will come true and countless millions then and beyond will live in the fulfilment of the vision of Pearse and of Connolly.

Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.

Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.”

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