RNU Easter Statement 2018

Republican Network for Unity National Chairperson, Eadhárd Ó Cuinn delivers the National Easter Statement in Ardoyne.

The end of one campaign is not the end of the struggle but merely the beginning of a new phase of the same struggle.

Easter Statement from the Republican Network for Unity

A chairde,

On the 102nd anniversary of the historic Proclamation of the Irish Republic, the leadership of the Republican Network for Unity sends solidarity greetings to all its members, activists, friends and supporters in Ireland and abroad. We also like to send solidarity to our Cogús political prisoners and all Irish Republican prisoners. We also take this opportunity to add our voice, to the many, in calling for the immediate release of Tony Taylor.

102 years after the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, the Republic envisioned by its signatories has still not been delivered. The national, social, economic and cultural contradictions between the proclaimed Irish Republic of 1916 and today’s Ireland are striking.

The national question, as it is called, has not been solved.
We as Irish Republicans owe it to the memory of Ireland’s patriot dead to ensure that the goal of a unified Ireland does not simply become a cleche or an Easter battle cry. We must become relevant in our communities and popularise the Republican message. It is also incumbant upon us all to ensure that sudo gangs, egotists and self promotors are challenged for their anti-republican activity.

Brexit has brought the border dividing Ireland back to international attention.
We as Irish Republicans need to garner that international attention to further highlight Britain’s continued partition of Ireland.

The continued social and economic decline in Ireland sees us with an unprecedented raise
in homelesness, unemployment, bank repossessions and emigration, this is not the Ireland envisaged by Pearse and Connolly.
We in RNU call for the opening up of ghost housing estates to help eleavate the homeless issue. We call for all-Ireland provision of better drug and alcohol support and a ring-fencing of mental health provision. We also call for improved financial help for local business, particulary in rural areas of Ireland.

Much has been made recently around support for an Irish language act. The Irish language belongs to all of us. We in RNU are in awe of the growing Irish language community and the huge raise of young people and parents who are choosing to avail of Irish medium education. (inniu Iarrann RNU Acht na Gaeilge anois)

Easter 2018 also marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Much had been promised to ordinary working-class people on both sides of the sectarian divide in the 6 Counties but very little has been delivered.

On a daily basis, jobs are being lost while politicians sit in Stormont, doing nothing for high wages. We, as Irish Republicans, articulated a message in 1998 that a return to Stormont would perpetulate sectarianism and continue idefinitely Britain’s usurpation of Irish soverntry. Despite being vilified and marginalised our message was sadly proven correct: Stormont cannot deliver and it will not deliver for the working-class people in the 6 Counties.

Instead of austerity from Stormont, Dublin and London, we believe in a united Irish Republic. This Republic proclaimed at Easter week 1916 is the Republic of Wolfe Tone. We believe in an inclusive Republic that provides equal opportunities for all of its citizens.

2018 also marks the 100th anniversary of votes for women. In the early 20th century, the militant suffragette women were at the forefront of the anti-colonial struggle in Ireland. Among those who formed Cumann na mBan, fought in 1916 and, later, rejected the treaty that partioned Ireland in 1921 were Irish suffragettes. Much has been achieved for women in the past 100 years – nonetheless, women are still not equal citizens today. The Republican Network of Unity needs to lead by example in all areas. Therefore, one of our tasks is to encourage more women to actively join the Republican struggle and follow the lead of women like Máire Drumm by taking on leading roles within our organisation.

These are the numerous tasks facing Irish Republicans today. The members of RNU need to be prepared in order to tackle these challenges. Yet, the last year was a difficult year for our movement. Our movement has experienced fundamental changes. Following long and deep internal considerations, the Republican Network for Unity, together with other Republican organisations and the prisoners supported by Cogús, thoroughly analysed the current situation. Based on this analysis we embarked on a new road.

One of the results of these debates was the announcement of a suspension of all military attacks by Óglaigh na hÉireann in January 23rd, 2018. The history of the Republican struggle in Ireland over the past 225 years has seen various phases of armed struggle and non-armed struggle. If a military campaign fails to achieve its aims, the campaign has to be called off, the failures and weaknesses analysed and the movement, prepared for the future. Let us be clear! The end of one campaign is not the end of the struggle but merely the beginning of a new phase of the same struggle.

Today, the Irish Republican Movement is weak. So was the movement at the end of Operation Harvest in 1962. The statement ending Operation Harvest was not ONLY greeted by support. Many supporters who had provided billets and organisational support throughout the campaign were disillusioned. Similarly today, many people were unwilling to take the essential steps with us. Yet, barely seven years after the ending of Operation Harvest, a new generation of IRA soldiers arose from the ashes of Bombay Street.

Thanks to women and men like Máire and Jimmy Drumm, Billy McKee, Jimmy Steele, Brigid Hannon, Dáithí Ó Connaill or Ruairí Ó Brádaigh who had kept the movement alive during the hard times of the 1960s, this generation took its rightful place in Irish history.

Today, revolutionary Republicanism is once again at low ebb. However, while we had to acknowledge that we are too weak to deliver a united Irish Republic immediately, we are convinced that we are strong enough to educate and organise a new generation of Irish Republicans to continue and succeed in the struggle for a united Ireland. To equip this new generation of Irish Republicans with the revolutionary spirit of Tone, Connolly and Pearse is the task of the Republican Network for Unity today.

Sin é agus go raibh milé maith agaibh