Sunday, 6 July 2008

Denis Spriggs Commemoration


Oration Delivered by Francis Mackey, National Chairman 32 County Sovereignty Movement.

Friends, Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a great honour to be here in the Rebel County to join with you to remember Denis Spriggs who was taken from his home at midnight and murdered at this spot by British forces on the 8th July 1921 and I pay tribute to everyone involved in ensuring that such sacrifices are never forgotten.

Dennis Spriggs lied about his age so that he could join the IRA. At 16 years of age he volunteered his services to the national liberation struggle and like countless others of his kind suffered hardship as a result. Forced on the run and into an uncertain life he continued on active service. Whilst visiting his Mother his presence was betrayed by a neighbour and at once his fate was sealed. And for that act of informing the neighbours fate was sealed also.

Just imagine it, 87 years ago, the home of this young republican, the door smashed in, the family wakened by the occupying British. Just imagine the terror, fear and intimidation this family felt as their young son was picked out and taken away.How must this family have felt and then to discover their son was murdered at this spot.
Step forward 87 years to this present day in the occupied 6 Counties and see the same scenario that has been taking place since our country was illegally partitioned by the British.The same injustice, the same intimidation, the same murder, the same knock on the door, the same British agents and the same British rule updated with special powers to discriminate against Nationalists and republicans and to treat us as criminals.That same policy of criminalization is present and active today not alone in the occupied region but across the nation.In 1921 the British murdered at will anyone who opposed their rule in our country.

Today murder is replaced with corrupt laws, intimidation and harassment by British police in Ireland and upheld by the establishment parties in Stormont and administered at the point of the British gun.The Dublin administration has joined forces with the British to implement the same policies; Internment By Remand, whereby a so called suspect can be arrested and placed in gaol with a false charge based on the perjured word of a senior Garda.Is this really any different from the 8th July 1921 when Denis Spriggs was taken out of his home and murdered?

The families of POW’s in Portlaoise and Maghaberry are suffering the same anguish, the same fear and the same thoughts as the Spriggs family on that fateful night.The policy is the same, it is designed to criminalize the republican struggle just as the murder 87 yrs ago was designed to do.Sadly the Dublin crowd has acquiesced to the British pressure and has abandoned the people in the occupied 6 Counties to British Rule.Now I ask you to cast your minds back to 1921, Denis Spriggs was 19 yrs old. Five years earlier the 1916 rising had taken place, the Proclamation was read outside the GPO in Dublin. A significant document and it became the foundation of modern Irish republicanism. The 1916 leaders were murdered by the British. Denis Spriggs was 14yrs old.Some two years later the Irish people ratified the Proclamation of 1916 at the election of 1918 and on the 21st January 1919 the first Dail declared Ireland’s freedom.

For the first and last time the Irish people as a whole had spoken, they made a democratic decision and declared Ireland a free nation, free from British rule.The Declaration of Independence, another truly historic and significant document was signed.Imagine for the first time that the Irish people were allowed to vote, this young boy in his native Cork must have been given great faith and hope, hope that now there was a chance after all the decades of suffering that the British government would respect the democratic right of the Irish people and declare their intent to leave Ireland. NOT SO; the British Government refused to recognize the democratic right of the people of Ireland and with the threat of a terrible war denied the Irish people their rights.

Come forward to 1998 and the British negotiations that were taken place with Irish representatives. A great hope was created that now there was a chance the British would in their deliberations declare their intent to leave Ireland and relinquish their illegal sovereign claim to part of Ireland. NOT SO; Those who entered negotiations with the British Government failed again to assert the rights of the Irish people and entered a British agenda which could only lead to an internal settlement with the British Government’s illegal claim fully intact.The British had again outflanked the Irish negotiators and as written in Jonathan Powell’s book, Tony Blair and his team couldn’t stop laughing on the way back to London at how easy the leaders of the Provisional Movement agreed the way forward based on the British agenda.Going back to the era of Denis Spriggs. On the 10th May 1921 the First Dail now not recognized by the British held what was to be its last meeting. 59 days later British forces continued to give their response to the Irish people when they murdered at this spot Vol Denis Spriggs, “C” Company, 1st Batallion of the Cork No 1 Brigade of the IRA. He was barely a man, just 19yrs old. The question I’m sure was asked then just like today what motivates young Irish men and women like Dennis Spriggs to join the IRA.Could anyone really blame a young man for taking the decision he did in the face of a British onslaught when the people of Ireland did not vote for British rule?

His actions were in response to a foreign government who failed to recognize the rights of the people of Ireland to be free, free from foreign domination, free to choose how this great nation should be governed and free from the continued violation of Irish National Sovereignty as outlined in the 1916 Proclamation and in the Declaration of Independence.The role to uphold and protect the sovereignty of the Irish nation was a noble cause through out our history and continues to be so today.It was violated back then by the Home Rule Party, the Pro- Treaty parties and it was and continues to be violated by the parties in Stormont, the modern day equivalent of the Home Rulers.

The 32CSM recognizes the sacrifices of generations in the struggle for freedom who have paid the supreme sacrifice with their lives so that the people of Ireland will one day be free.Today that task is made more difficult because not alone have we to focus on the British Government but our work is being undermined by the lackeys in Dublin Castle and sadly by former comrades who have adopted the Home Rule position and are now directly involved in criminalizing the republican struggle.They are directly involved in assisting British policing in Ireland with their support for an armed British police force made up of Irish men and women who are prepared to wage a British war against their own people.Would the people in 1921 have ever imagined that 87 yrs later their own people would be kicking in doors to arrest Irish men and women whose only fault in their eyes is to oppose British Rule in Ireland? How far the wheel has turned as the British Government continues to use Dublin and Stormont to maintain their illegal sovereign claim.However it has not gone unchallenged for we in the 32CSM had the foresight to lodge a legal challenge against this direction in the United Nations, the body charged with resolving disputes over sovereignty.

We believe that challenge at an international level before the UN is a legitimate way forward to bring to an end to British Parliamentary activity in Ireland.

We recognize we can’t do it on our own and again I reiterate our call for all republicans to get involved in a united approach to tackling the difficulties facing all of us as we address the core cause of conflict in our country.

The republican unity initiative, culminating in a forum for republican unity for Irish unity, is one way to address the common threads of republicanism based on agreement.The Lisbon campaign for the no vote demonstrated how if united the Irish people will respond in a positive way.Lisbon was about the violation of our sovereignty and we believe the protection of our sovereignty cannot be adequately addressed in Brussels if not first and foremost addressed in Westminster.PSF have got caught out again by advocating a no vote on Lisbon whilst actively violating Irish National Sovereignty through the 1998 British agreement.

Denis Spriggs gave his young life upholding the sovereignty of his country, let us never forget it, let the Irish people again rise up just as they done in the Lisbon referendum and reject the violation of our sovereignty.

Together republicans can ensure the death of Denis Spriggs was not in vain, let us move forward as republicans united to end British Rule in Ireland.


andy said...

Denis Spriggs was my great uncle (my grandmother Mary was his sister) there is a lot that has been passed down to us from that night. Thank you for remembering him.
ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamachaar

Andrew Fahey
Boston, USA

Patricia J. Escobar said...

Denis Joseph Spriggs was also my great uncle. He was my mother's uncle (Ann Spriggs) and my grandfather's brother (Joseph Spriggs). I still have the laminated memorial card from his funeral with his picture on it. My other uncle is on the current day pics at the parade. The story of his life and death was passed down from my mom to us kids. Thanks for remembering his life and what he died for and believed in.

Patricia Joan Escobar
Chatsworth, CA USA

Patricia J. Escobar said...

Denis Joseph Spriggs was also my great uncle my mother's uncle (Ann Spriggs) and my grandfather's brother (Joseph Spriggs). I still have the laminated memorial card from his funeral with his picture on it. His life and death was passed down to us kid's and when I am in Ireland I always visit his memorial. That's also my Uncle in the pics from the parade. Thanks for remembering him and what he died for. Patricia Joan Escobar - Chatsworth, CA USA

Unknown said...

Hi I'm ur cousin. Pleas contact me I would love to hear from you

Ann Spriggs said...


Ann Spriggs said...

Hi I'm ur cousin. Pleas contact me I would love to hear from you

Patta Bar said...

So Happy. Contact me directly at

Patta Bar said...

I am the daughter of Ann Spriggs. I would love to contact you directly but don't know how. Directly contact me at