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Republican Sinn Féin
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Hi-tech job safeguards needed, say RSF

A WARNING that the Mid-West is next for massive job losses unless action is taken now to counter the effects of the American recession was sounded by the Limerick-based Vice-President of Republican Sinn Féin.

Des Long said on August 21 that jobs in Limerick, Clare and Tipperary are largely dependent on the health of the American computer sector and any decline in demand will have very serious consequences for the Mid-West.

“In the past ten days over 1,500 jobs in the computer industry have been lost and these closures have brought economic hardship to countless families in Cork and Dublin.

“In fact so far this year almost 4,500 jobs have been lost in the high technology sector and this development must have serious implications for job creation policy.

“The Mid-West is highly dependent on the hi tech sector and it is about time that the local politicians brought pressure to bear on the job creation agencies to ensure that safeguards are put in place to protect workers in these multi-national companies.

“Already we have seen one huge company shift the bulk of its productions to Taiwan where costs are less and labour law is almost non-existent. Now is the time for the multi-national companies to take remedial action and ensure the protection of Irish jobs.”

No reconciliation with British Imperialism

Bundoran H-Block Hunger Strike Commemoration

PEOPLE from all over the Occupied Six Counties and the rest of Ireland joined visitors from England and the United States in Bundoran, Co Donegal on August 25 for the 20th anniversary hunger strike commemoration of the historic 1980-81 strikes for the restoration of the rights of political prisoners.

Despite the active hostility of the 26-County State and its agents and the failed attempt of former Republicans to draw support away from the Bundoran commemoration over the years, the organisers in the Co Donegal town must be congratulated for their achievement in keeping the memory of all the hunger strikers alive. For 20 years they have honoured in an honest and open fashion all those who died on hunger strike by the marching bands who have defied intimidation from many quarters to attend every year without fail.

The Bundoran commemoration also commemorates 1970s hunger strikers Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg, both from Mayo and Donegalman Pat Ward, who died an untimely death in 1988 as a result of serveral hunger strikes.

This year’s event was no different and the parade attracted greater numbers than before. Led by a colour party of men and women followed by relatives of the 1981 hunger strikers: members of the Hughes, O’Hara, McDonnell, Lynch and Devine families. Messages of support were received from the other families who could not be present.

In a special presentation to mark the 20th anniversary specially-designed pieces of Belfast crystal were presented by Republican Sinn Féin President Ruairí Ó Brádaigh to the families after the rally.

The input from Irish Republicans in the United States has always been a notable feature of the hunger strike commemoration and two speakers, Bob Loughman of the New York Emerald Police Band and Chris Dougan of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Irish Freedom Committee, addressed the crowd.

Chris Dougan praised the people preset for their support for the hunger strikers and he pledged the backing of activists in America for the families of Republican survivors incarcerated today.

Bob Loughman recalled the support people in the United States had given to the hunger strikers 20 years ago. The spirit of freedom was still being nurtured on both sides of the Atlantic today and would rise up once again to secure the objective of an Ireland free from British interference, the objective for which the hunger strikers fought. That goal has not been achieved yet despite the “spin” of establishment politicians in Belfast, Dublin, London and Washington.

A message of solidarity was read from the Patron of Republican Sinn Féin George Harrison of New York, who sent greetings to “all of you uncompromising anti-imperialists assembled at Bundoran. I salute you for your refusal to join the stampede of revisionism back into the Empire of Hell”.

He sent fraternal greetings to “our beloved Róisín Dubh and all the Róisín Dubhs of this planet regardless of race, colour, gender or creed”.

The next speaker was Mary ward, Chairperson of Comhairle Uladh, Republican Sinn Féin, who outlined the course of events of the hunger strikes in 1980 and 1981.

“The 1980-81 hunger strikes were as important a landmark in Irish revolutionary history as the 1916 Rising in that they politicised and awakened an entire generation of young Irish people. They also focused international attention on the plight of the people of British-occupied Ireland. These achievements stand in fitting tribute to ten brave Irishmen who remained true to MacSwiney’s dictum:

“In matters of principle there can be no compromise” and thus willingly sacrificed their lives.

“During the hunger strike, in a sermon in Westminster Abbey in London, on December 1, 1980, a leading Anglican theologian, Dr John Austin Baker, who was then the chaplain to the Speaker of the British House of Commons, and who is now Bishop of Salisbury, pointed out:

‘No British government ought ever to forget that this perilous moment, like many before it, is the outworking of a history for which our country is primarily responsible. England seized Ireland for its own military benefit, it planted Protestant settlers there to make it strategically secure, it humiliated and penalised the native Irish and their Catholic religion – and then when it could no longer hold on to the whole island, kept back part to be a home for the settlers’ descendants, a non-viable solution from which Protestants have suffered as much as anyone

‘Our injustice created the situation, and by constantly repeating that we will maintain it so long as the majority wish it, we actively inhibit Protestant and Catholic from working out a new future together. This is the root of violence, and the reason why the protesters think of themselves as political offenders.’

“We in Republican Sinn Féin agree with Bishop Baker’s analysis.

“Seventy-six years ago, Terence MacSwiney’s hunger strike and death drew world attention to the Irish struggle. The execution of Kevin Barry in Dublin; of James Daly in far-away India and the murder of Fr Griffin in Galway followed on. Then came Bloody Sunday in Dublin and the Kilmichael Ambush in West Cork. The centre of Cork city was burned by British forces and this series of events caused the British to sue for peace talks – or talks about talks – as they always do when losing.

“They sought a surrender of arms first but this was promptly and absolutely rejected. No more was heard of this demand from the British until our own time in 1994. In December 1994, Gerry Adams said such was “not likely”, but, however, in the run-up to the British-imposed (at the behest of David Trimble) “selection-election”, he said the Provos were prepared to sign up to the Mitchell Principles.

“It was very clear from the terms of reference and parameters of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985, the Downing Street Declaration of 1993 and the Framework Document of 1994 that what was available was nothing more than a re-vamped Stormont under British rule.

“For the past year Republican Sinn Féin has drawn attention to this strategy that was aimed at making a re-constructed British rule in Ireland more benign, and because others would be sucked into co-operating in it, it would be all the more difficult to end. But even those of us who have read the lessons of the past, feared another dishonest “fix-it”, could hardly have suspected that British imperial policy could have been so successful in so short a period.

“And despite the changes announced on August 1, British sovereignty in the Six Occupied Counties remains. This usurpation is accepted and formally recognised by the Dublin administration who engage in full collaboration with the occupying regime. Regardless of any change in its make-up, the renamed RUC, like its predecessor the RIC, will have as its first task maintenance of British rule in the Six Occupied Counties.

“Quite simply it will remain a British colonial police force in Ireland and as such is totally unacceptable to Irish Republicans.

“Republican Sinn Féin therefore urges Irish people not to join the first line of defence of British rule here, thereby providing a wide base of active support for foreign government.

“The actions of the Leinster House politicians, the SDLP and the northern Catholics bishops in promoting the renamed British police in Ireland will be viewed in history as flagrant acts of collaboration with British imperial institutions.

“Republican Sinn Féin says to the GAA and to the Irish people, do not possibly put young lives in danger by actively promoting the English colonial presence in your country. Witness what happened the old RUC.

“Sinn Féin was founded 96 years ago to withdraw the Irish representatives from the British parliament and to convene a Constituent Assembly to act as the supreme authority for all Ireland. Adams, McGuinness and Doherty are halfway towards accepting seats in that British parliament. Michelle Gildernew is on record as saying she would take her seat in that same British parliament that allowed Bobby Sands and the men we honour here to day to die.

“That is totally contrary to basic Sinn Féin ideology. You cannot be Sinn Féin and an MP. We call on them to cease forthwith using the historic name of Sinn Féin. They no longer have the right to it. The objective of Irish struggle down the centuries has been Irish freedom and justice from which peace will naturally flow. Can anyone possibly imagine that the H-Block Martyrs died for anything less?

“Three-and-a-half years after the Stormont Agreement there is no peace and so stability. British-backed loyalist death squads attack and bully nationalists on the streets of Belfast and elsewhere with impunity. Republican prisoners in Maghaberry prison fight the same struggle for political status as did the H-Block Martyrs twenty years ago.

“Basically nothing has changed. The Stormont Agreement is nothing more than as cosmetic arrangement; there is no fundamental change. The English government still rules in Ireland and Dublin accepts this and surrenders all claim to All-Ireland sovereignty.

“But Republican Sinn Féin stands most of all for a settlement, a generous democratic settlement of the Irish problem by constitutional discussion between all the people of Ireland. Britain can have no part in either setting the agenda or devising the constitutional solution. That is a matter for the sovereign Irish people. All Britain can do is set up a debate to leave Ireland for all time, lock, stock and barrel. The Guardian/ICM poll of August 21, 2001 reveals that more Britons believed Ireland should be part of a united Ireland – 41% to 26%, increases of 15%. This is the wish of the ordinary English people.

“Republicans have no problem with democracy – real democracy. But Republican Sinn Féin is long enough in the political business to realise that whenever the Brits feel they stand to lose a vote, they simply seek to change the rules.

“We must not betray the enormous sacrifices already made, not least by those we commemorate this year, the H-Block Martyrs, but work to realise them in the everyday lives of our people. Anything less would be unworthy of those we honour and of ourselves.

“In conclusion, I will quote from a letter Francis Hughes wrote to the people of Derry on March 1, 1981: ‘I have no prouder boast than to say I am Irish and have been privileged to fight for the Irish people and for Ireland. If I have a duty I will perform it to the full in the unshakeable belief that we are a noble race and that chains and bonds have no part in us . . . There is no white flag and there will be no surrender.’ ”

The final speaker was former H-Block blanket prisoenr Malachy Trainor fromArmagh. He congratulated all the people present for their attendance and reminded people of the international links which were so important since 1798. He posed the question:

Is it not time we freed ourselves? Sadly, British Imperialism is still with us. Let us go from here with determination to rid our country of Imperialism and bring about an independent 32-County Irish Republic.

“A government of the people, by the people and for the people.

“The hunger strike epitomised the brutal, selfish and strategic interests of the Westminster colonial junta under Thatcher who would not even listen to her own cabinet and they in turn eventually put her out of power.

“Do not try and tell Irish people at home and abroad through the hired services of the media that we have obtained the freedom that this commemoration is in memory of.

“It is with regret that some people would prefer or entice people like myself to go back to the Plantation which beat me, abused me and finally took the lives of my comrades who had drunk out of the same bowls.

“How can one reconcile one’s self with any aspect of British Imperialism – something which all of us cannot help but remember?

“The Stormont Agreement was a hoax carefully helped by people who should have known better.

“Tone said: “. . . break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils and to assert the independence of my country . . .”

“Pearse said: “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

“One can only add these words of our leaders ring true today. And to make things worse we have obliging puppets ready to play the political game not in the interests of the Irish people or any other people except the Imperial warmongers who call the fatal shots for their own self-styled philosophy based on greed. Our history should make that clear to us all. Sadly we are still witnessing the plundering and persecution of the invader.

“Today we can go from here with an opportunity to write Emmet’s epitaph and bring it with us as his position to the wretched of the earth. Let us go from here in the spirit of Tone and the peoples’ sacrifice and the hunger strikers.

‘The great only appear great because we are on our knees, let us arise.’ ”

Chairperson Joe O'Neill thanked the Tunnel Band, Portadown, the Glens of ANtrim Accordion Band and piper and the St Lawrence Pipe Band, Fintona for their attendance.

He paid tribute to the quests of honour, the relatives of the ten dead hunger strikers and told them the Bundoran commemoration would continue to remember their sacrifice.

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