Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Oglach Alan Ryan commemoration 2013
Oration delivered by Francis Mackey, Chairman 32 County Sovereignty Movement
A chairde on behalf of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement I would like to both welcome and thank you for attending here today. I would like to thank the Ryan family for extending this invitation to speak at Alan’s commemoration. The first commemoration is always the most poignant.
The death of Volunteer Alan Ryan at the hands of criminal elements was a defining moment in the evolution of the republican struggle. We can only begin to comprehend the significance of this foul act by discovering the exact circumstances and context in which it happened.
Since the very inception of Irish resistance to British occupation many centuries ago a core theme of the conflict has been the lawful legitimacy of Irish resistance. The occupying power and her puppet Irish Parliaments have always tried to portray Irish republican forces as criminals engaged in an illegal enterprise.
Time and time again, in defiance of criminalisation, Irish republicans have endured death in the field, imprisonment, transportation and death on hunger strike as noble assertions of the legitimacy of our actions and our cause.
The attack on Alan Ryan was an attack on all those efforts, historic and contemporary, to ensure that the insidious policy of criminalisation would fail.
We have stated many times that there is no place in the republican struggle for those who would seek selfish gain. There is no place for any who would facilitate it, turn a blind eye to it or attempt to cover it up. Just as the hunger strikers died in a clear act of rejection of criminalisation so too must we now act in a definite act of clarity against the murder of Alan Ryan. Those who carried it out must be exposed and their motives behind it laid bare.
We call for this clarity because republicans deserve no less and we must expunge from Alan’s legacy those who would use innuendo and untruths to damage his character and reputation as a vehicle to damage the characters and reputations of us all. At the very least it would represent a basic act of comradeship.
The media frenzy in the wake of Alan’s murder, although predictable, held some very telling lessons for Irish republicans. But the most salient lesson of all was, how, through our considered and dignified actions in laying our comrade to rest, we resolutely demolished their lies and propaganda in the eyes of the world.
We uttered nothing, but said everything, when thousands of ordinary people followed the cortege and lined the route to his final resting place. His comrades in arms gave the traditional salute. His comrades in uniform flanked his hearse. Former imprisoned comrades carried his remains and his many comrades in solidarity accompanied him on his final journey.
It was a fitting tribute to the man and a telling rebuke to those who would seek to injure him.
As republicans who wish to pay tribute to Alan let us do so by following this example. Let our actions be as considered and thought through as they were. Let our utterances be as equally as considered and let us fully understand that what we say now as individuals on social media has the same reach as any editorial and is subject to deliberate misrepresentation as official republican policy.
Be comradely in your discourse and always remember that silence speaks wiser than gossip.
History will record that the Dublin government’s reaction to Alan’s funeral was one of political bankruptcy and utter vindictiveness. In a naked display of political policing they adopted the policy of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and sent the Gardai in to disgrace themselves in a most obscene manner.
We witnessed these obscenities at the funerals of our friends and comrades Ruairi O’Bradaigh, Seamus McKenna and Larry Keane. We had the spectacle of uniformed and plain clothes thugs imposing themselves on the dignity of these funeral services. As thugs they desecrated every aspect of the funeral rite from service to burial.
The world watched as they surrounded the hearses, stomped their jackboots along side genuine mourners and stood between coffin and family at the open graves. They are failure personified and will continue to fail when they employ such disgraceful tactics.
As republicans it is essential that we recognise the politics of our own actions and the actions of those against us. The Free State has chosen to make republican funerals a political issue and we must respond in kind. Our comrades who have passed were political activists to the core fighting for Irish freedom, both in life and death.
The republican response to this tactic will be one of continuing dignity and widespread publicity. Here we can utilise the true power of social media by exposing these attacks with our own uncensored editorials and images. Republicans did not seek this confrontation and neither shall we shy away from it.
It is issues like this where republicans need to be unified as the State will not distinguish between us: their oppression will be evenly applied.
The magnificent response by Alan’s community to his untimely death was the true reflection of Alan’s own commitment to that community. A central theme of Alan’s republicanism was his fight against drug abuse and those that ply that nefarious trade.
But Alan knew only too well that the fight against drug abuse is not a simplistic problem and needs to be addressed on a wide range of fronts. Confronting the drug barons was one such front but work in other areas is essential.
Republicans need to recognise that the extent of the drug problem has infested every strata of Irish society even if elements of that society refuse to admit it. Illegal drugs and those who sell and abuse them have scant regard for class, gender, race or geography.
Without question working class areas have suffered most, not least because there exists an establishment view that drug abuse is a solely law and order issue and should be addressed within this dangerously narrow interpretation.
A major shift in mindset needs to occur if drug abuse in society is to be realistically tackled and republicans need to be to the fore of this new and necessary thinking. The old approach has failed and is failing. Drug abuse is on the rise. Associated violence and crime is also rising. It is a vicious circle of misery, violence and denial and the cycle needs to be broken.
Republicans have been formulating new ideas so that the debate amongst us can be more focussed and will enable us to adopt pragmatic policies which can see us carrying on Alan’s legacy in this field.
For the 32 County Sovereignty Movement Alan Ryan and his legacy firmly belongs in our future. We need you to be part of that future also.