Sinn Féin - On Your Side

The Rising remains a testament to the courage of our people - Mary Lou McDonald TD

27 March, 2016 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD


Sinn Féin Deputy Leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD has praised the courage of those involved in the 1916 Rising  for bringing hope to all oppressed people across the world. Deputy McDonald  however lamented the fact that the noble ideals of the Proclamation had yet to be  achieved.  

Speaking in Glasnevin today at the Dublin Sinn Féin Easter Sunday parade,

Deputy McDonald said:

“I am proud to stand here before you today, on this the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. The actions that took place in Dublin over those six turbulent days by an outnumbered but determined group of rebels battling the forces of a empire, shone as a beacon of hope to all oppressed people across the world.

“That this little country, amongst the great countries of the British Empire, had the nerve, the guts and the audacity, to take on the greatest empire, the world had ever seen, remains a testament to the courage of our people.

“The  Rising became a catalyst for other freedom struggles across the world, inspiring other oppressed people who laboured under the shackles of the British empire, encouraging them too, to break free of their chains of slavery and not just dream of liberty, but achieve it.

“Sinn Féin is a Republican party, and we make no apology for it. Sinn Féin proudly remains, the only all Ireland Republican party, on the island of Ireland. We want an end the partition, imposed on our country by Britain, created not with our consent, nor by the democratic will of the people.

“The noble ideals of the proclamation which guarantee religious and civil liberty, which champion equal rights and equal opportunities for all of its citizens irrespective of creed or colour or gender, and will cherish all the children of the nation equally, enshrine Sinn Féin’s core values.

“In this centenary year, I wish I could say that these ideals, for which the women and men of 1916 fought for,  have been achieved - that Ireland is now a better place. I wish I could tell you, that we now have the Republic dreamed of by Connolly, Pearse, Markievicz and Lynn. Sadly, I cannot, nor can anyone, make these claims.

“Sinn Féin stands against the old politics and against those parties that delivered crisis, austerity and inequality. We will not prop up a Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil government. We will not support a government of the parties that created and sustained the crisis. The policies of these parties are the problem and these parties will not be the solution.

“You came out in your tens of thousands and voted for Sinn Féin, and I promise that Sinn Féin will always stand with the people. We oppose austerity in the North and we will continue to oppose austerity in the South. We demand a fair recovery for all.”

 


Full speech below:

 


Is mór an onóir dom bheith anseo libh, ag comóradh céad bliain Éirí amach na Cásca.

Táimid bailithe anseo in ómós do agus i gcuimhne ar ár dtírgráthóirí básaithe. 

Cuimhneoimis chomh maith ar na glúinte dár laochra a chuaigh romhainn a bhí ag streacailt ar son Saoirse na hÉireann…ar ár son.

Ní dhearnamar i  Sinn Fein dearmad riamh orthu. Thapaíomar an deis  i gcónaí iad a chomóradh is coinneoimid iad inár gcuimhne go brách.

I am proud to stand here before you today,

On this the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

and remember all those involved, 

in this momentous event in the history of our country.

And we remember too with pride,

All those who have fought and died for Irish Freedom

In every generation.

Let us not ever forget, 

that for each of those who made the ultimate sacrifice,

That there was a family left behind, 

That there were friends,

And there were comrades.

All who today still feel the painful loss of their loved one and friend.

But the live on in our hearts 

and in our memories. 

Their stories are told around the fireside.

And their heroism is remembered in song and verse.

We do not mourn them.

We celebrate their lives.

and they continue to inspire us.

We will not allow their memory

Or their sacrifice to be forgotten.

100 years ago

an eclectic group of rebels

came together,

in the cause of Irish freedom.

there were nationalists, 

republicans, language activists, 

Trade Unionists ,

And members of the women’s movement.

But at the heart of it 

They were all just ordinary women and men,

Yet united in one dream,

of an independent Ireland, 

free from British rule,

taking its place 

amongst the free nations of the world.

 


Although the rebellion was planned 

as a nationwide rising,

It was here in Dublin 

that it had the greatest impact.

The story of the rising is etched into the very fabric

Of this great city,

From the founding of the Irish Volunteers in Parnell square,

To the smuggling of German guns at Howth,

From the strongholds of the GPO, Boland’s Mill, 

And others,

To the last stand in Moore Street,

And the final tragic act,

of the execution of the leaders in Kilmainham Gaol.

Dublin was the anvil on which 

Freedom was forged by force of arms.

 


Of all who were ‘out’ in 1916,

James Connolly gave the highest honours to the women.

They too endured the ferocious British onslaught

They too shared the same hunger,

The same thirst 

And even wounds,

As the men.

And yet women became the forgotten heroes

in this great endeavour.

But we are proud today to remember

Margaret Skinnider, Kathleen Lynn, Winifred Carney

And almost 90 other revolutionary women

Who manned the barricades 

and fought beside their countrymen.

 

The actions that took place in Dublin 

Over those 6 turbulent days 

By an outnumbered 

But determined

Group of rebels

Battling the forces of a empire,

shone as a beacon of hope to all oppressed people

Across the world.

That this little country,

Amongst the great countries of the British Empire,

Had the nerve, the guts and the audacity,

to take on 

the greatest empire, 

The world had ever seen, 

Remains a testament to the courage of our people.

 


The  Rising became a catalyst 

for other freedom struggles

across the world.

inspiring other oppressed people 

Who laboured under the 

shackles of the British empire,

encouraging them too,

to break free of their chains of slavery.

And not just dream of liberty, But achieve it.

Sinn Féin is a Republican party,

And we make no apology for it,

Sinn Féin proudly remains,

the only all Ireland Republican party,

on the island of Ireland.

We want an end the partition,

Imposed on our country by Britain

Created not with our consent,

nor by the democratic will of the people,

but by the threat of ‘immediate and terrible war’.

Britain left us with  

a dysfunctional gerrymandered statelet in the north

and a reactionary state in the south

that set aside the dream of the republic.

 


Our vision for a united Ireland 

Is founded on the very ideals of the 1916 Proclamation.

First heard by a small crowd of curious Dubliners

Gathered around Padraig Pearse

As he read the proclamation

From the steps of the GPO.

 


The noble ideals of the proclamation

Which Guarantee religious and civil liberty

Which champion equal rights and equal opportunities for all of its citizens

Irrespective of creed or colour or gender,

and will cherish all the children of the nation equally,

 enshrine Sinn Féin’s core values.

 


And In this centenary year,

I wish I could say that these ideals,

For which the women and men of 1916 fought for, 

Have been achieved.

That Ireland is now a better place,

I wish I could tell you, 

That we now have the Republic 

Dreamed of by Connolly, Pearse, Markievicz and Lynn.

I wish I could 

tell you that, yes

there are no elites and golden circles

and that there is equality and fairness for all

That we live in a republic 

Which cherishes its children equally and without discrimination,

Sadly,

I cannot, nor can anyone, make these claims.

You all know from your daily struggles,

from your empty pockets

from watching you elderly parents

lie for days on hospital trollies

that we are a long way from fulfilling 

the noble ideals of the proclamation.

 

 

 

Sinn Féin in the general election,

stood against the old politics. 

Of the parties that delivered crisis, austerity and inequality.

We offered the people a real alternative to their failed austerity policies.

The mé Féinism of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour,

Which saw families thrown out on to the streets,

saw them bring in the family home tax, 

and water charges,

saw them punish the vulnerable, 

but protect the elites.

and which allowed toxic banks to bankrupt the country.

and force us to pay for their mistakes.

have failed you,

have failed Ireland

There can be no greater contrast 

Than that between the unprincipled, selfish, self-interests

Of these parties, 

And the selflessness of the volunteers of 1916. 

Sinn Féin stands against the old politics 

and against those parties that delivered crisis, austerity and inequality.

We will not prop up a Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil government.

We will not support a government of the parties that created

And sustained the crisis.

The policies of these parties are the problem

And these parties will not be the solution.

 


You came out in your tens of thousands

And voted for Sinn Féin

And I promise that Sinn Féin

Will always stand with the people

We oppose austerity 

In the North

And we will continue to oppose austerity in the South, 

We demand a fair recovery for all. 

Ná déanaimis dearmad gurb í seo comóradh chúig bliana is tríocha  na stailceanna ocrais.  

 Deichniúir a fuair bás ar son na hÉireann . Bhíodar toilteanach an íobairt a dhéananh agus thug siad a mbeatha ionas go dtuigfí gur phriosúnaigh polaitiúla iad.

In 2016 we will also commemorate 

another watershed moment in Irish history

This year is also the 35th anniversary of the H-Block hunger Strike.

We remember with pride the ten brave men 

who made the ultimate sacrifice 

in defiance of Thatcher’s policy of criminalisation 

of the republican struggle.

There are still those today who attempt to criminalise republicans of all generations.

There are those in the media and those who claim to be historians,

who question the motives of the women and men

Of 1916 and wish to criminalise their struggle too.

These revisionist historians distort history and deny the very truths they claim to seek,

They apply different standards of scrutiny to the oppressor 

As to the oppressed,

They expect us to apologise, 

For fighting for our freedom,

For standing up to injustice, 

Well you will get no apology from us.

Revisionists want to rewrite Irish history,

They want us to believe, 

That the British involvement in Ireland,

Was normal, acceptable and even welcomed.

Let me tell you that it was none of these things.

James Connolly speaks for us all when he proudly and defiantly stated at his court-martial.

 “the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, never can have any right in Ireland”

Republicanism is bigger and more popular 

And more relevant to people’s lives than ever before.

And we are closer to achieving that which previous generations could only dream of.

So it is perhaps fitting that on the 35th anniversary of the Death 

Of Bobby Sands,

there will elections to the Assembly in the North

Sinn Féin will be looking for an increased mandate

To oppose draconian Tory cuts.

To protect core public services,

And to continue to be a driving force for progressive measures

In the Executive.

And we will continue to build relations, 

and work to reconcile communities, 

and to build an inclusive society

respectful of both the orange and the green.

And by helping to bridge these differences 

we can all work together for the common good.

And the new dispensation of peace and justice

created by the historical Good Friday agreement,

which given us for the first time the opportunity,

To bring great change across this island

by the exclusive use of

peaceful and democratic means.

 


Conclusion

So on this day of National commemoration,

We stand here humbled by the sacrifices of 

The women and men of 1916.

We owe them a debt. 

A debt that can only be repaid,

if our generation of Republicans,

with the proclamation and its ideals to guide us,

can make good the promises of 1916,

and help build the Republic

For which they fought and died for.

We can honour them too

By preserving

Those last tangible links to this heroic generation.

The 1916 historic revolutionary quarter,

Of the GPO and Moore Street area.

Is part of our national heritage,

And should be placed under the protection of the state.

it should not be left to the vagaries of developers and speculators.

It is shocking that past and present governments, 

Have allowed this area of national significance, 

To fall into disrepair, ruin and decay.

How disrespectful to the memory and the sacrifice

Of the women and men of 1916.

So we welcome the victory in the courts,

That has now saved this area for generations to come.

People power has given seed to what will be

An enduring memorial to the women and men of 1916.

 


So let us stand together now.

Stand with that same pride,

stand with the same defiance and courage.

of countess Markievicz,

 “a rebel, unconverted and unconvertible”,…”pledged as a rebel,”..”to that one thing, a free and independent Ireland.”

Let us show the same selfless courage and commitment.

Of those rebels,

And stand with Sinn Féin

and be a part of a new Rising,

to build a new Republic,

and only then can we have truly honoured 

the women and men of 1916.

An Phoblacht Abú

 

 

Connect with Sinn Féin