Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Passion for Freedom

From Gerry Adams:

This year Irish republicans mark 95 years since the Easter Rising. It is also the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike.

Each event was a seminal moment in the struggle for Irish freedom, and each changed the course of Irish history for the better.

Easter 1916 witnessed an alliance of Irish republican organisations and others, including the diaspora in the USA, come together to declare a Republic.

Much of this occurred in Dublin but republicans also took up arms elsewhere in the country, including Louth.

After the Rising sixteen leaders were executed. The British hoped that the executions would extinguish the flame of freedom. They were wrong. At his court martial Pádraig Mac Piarais got it exactly right:

'Believe that we, too, love freedom and desire it. To us it is more desirable than anything in the world. If you strike us down now, we shall rise again to renew the fight. You cannot conquer Ireland. You cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom.'

The vast majority of Irish people understand this. So too do many in the diaspora. It is a part of who we are.

Regrettably, it is equally true that the republic which was proclaimed in 1916 has been set aside by those in the political establishment, and the limited freedom won after the rising has been squandered.

Imagine what the leaders of 1916 would think of the state of the health service, and especially of our elderly patients who are stuck on hospital trolleys for days or of the half a million people unemployed across this island?

What would they say about the way working people are being treated, while big bankers are paid millions?

We can imagine their response to the sell-off of our natural resources. Or to the EU/IMF bailout!

We can say with certainty that the men and women of 1916 would not be part of the golden circle of greedy financiers and developers and corrupt politicians who have practically bankrupted the southern state.

In the north, Sinn Fein is fighting hard to secure fiscal powers from London, while in the south the government and its predecessor have given away our economic sovereignty.

In their time the leaders of the Rising warned against partition and its divisive and debilitating potential. Connolly predicted it would cause a carnival of reaction. He was right.

Partition is uneconomic. It holds back Ireland’s potential for economic growth. People in County Louth and in other border counties know this.


Partition solves nothing. It stores up problems which will fester and multiply in  future years and creates false divisions and conflict between peoples.  You see this in Cyprus, where the UN troops guard the border separating Greeks from Turks; India, where there are religious divisions between Muslims and Hindus; similarly in Kasmir; Korea, where ideologies separate peoples of the same ethnicity, and in Ireland, where Britain and its Unionist supporters hold back a logical amalgamation with the Republic of Ireland. Partition is never the answer, politically, economically or morally.

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