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Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly pays tribute to the men and women of the Irish Citizen Army

26 March, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly has delivered the main oration at an event to commemorate the men and women of the Irish Citizen Army this morning.

Deputy O’Reilly said the struggle for workers’ rights and for women’s rights continues today.

She said;

“This is a very proud day for me because we are honouring trade unionists and republicans and for me both traditions are inextricably linked because the only fitting tribute to the men and women of the Irish Citizen Army can be the creation of a republic where work and workers are respected and where we acknowledge the dignity of labour.

“The formation of the Irish Citizen Army was a direct response to the brutality of the police who were effectively working for the employers during the Lockout of 1913.  

“This band of workers came together under the leadership of James Connolly and they were fierce – they were loyal and they were brave.

“This year we will celebrate as we do every year the anniversary of the 1916 Rising and we will also be celebrating the women of 1916 – many of whom have had to be rewritten into our history.  We get to celebrate the fact that they weren’t just there to make the sambos and they were active in the planning, the fighting, tending to the wounded and in the aftermath.

“I am conscious that I am speaking to you as a newly elected representative and as a former trade union organiser.  I have seen the impact of positive action on the lives of women in work and in representative politics.  

“The Proclamation is a freedom charter which guarantees rights for all and which seeks of promote equality.  And it is for these aims and aspirations that women like Markeivicz, Lynn and Skinnider fought.

“And their struggle continues in the fight for our Republic and it is replicated daily where working men and women come together to organise, to improve their conditions, to show solidarity and to recall those comrades who went before.

“For as long as we have workers turfed out like the Clery’s workers were, while we have families with children sleeping in bed and breakfasts and hostels, while our older citizens suffer the indignity of waiting on a trolley – the work started by the men and women of the Irish Citizen Army will be unfinished business.

“For as long as those in power refuse to grant real meaningful recognition rights to our Trade Unions, for as long as we have the gender pay gap – our struggle will continue.”


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