FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

IRA Should Change from "Volunteers" to "Activists"

The following is the text of a speech by Sinn Féin president GERRY ADAMS given in Belfast on April 6, 2005.

I want to speak directly to the men and women of Oglaigh na h-Eireann, the volunteer soldiers of the Irish Republican Army.

In time of great peril you stepped into the Bearna Baoil, the gap of danger. When others stood idly by, you and your families gave your all, in defence of a risen people and in pursuit of Irish freedom and unity.

Against mighty odds you held the line and faced down a huge military foe, the British crown forces and their surrogates in the unionist death squads.
Eleven years ago the Army leadership ordered a complete cessation of military operations. This courageous decision was in response to proposals put forward by the Sinn Fein leadership to construct a peace process, build democratic politics and achieve a lasting peace.

Since then despite many provocations and setbacks the cessation has endured.

And more than that, when elements within the British and Irish establishments and rejectionist unionism delayed progress, it was the IRA leadership which authorised a number of significant initiatives to enhance the peace process.

On a number of occasions commitments have been reneged on. These include commitments from the two governments.

The Irish Republican Army has kept every commitment made by its leadership.

The most recent of these was last December when the IRA was prepared to support a comprehensive agreement. At that time the Army leadership said the implementation of this agreement would allow everyone, including the IRA, to take its political objectives forward by peaceful and democratic means.
That agreement perished on the rock of unionist intransigence. The shortsightedness of the two governments compounded the difficulties.
Since then there has been a vicious campaign of vilification against republicans, driven in the main by the Irish government. There are a number of reasons for this.

The growing political influence of Sinn Fein is a primary factor.

The unionists also for their part, want to minimise the potential for change, not only on the equality agenda but on the issues of sovereignty and ending the union.

The IRA is being used as the excuse by them all not to engage properly in the process of building peace with justice in Ireland.

For over thirty years the IRA showed that the British government could not rule Ireland on its own terms. You asserted the legitimacy of the right of the people of this island to freedom and independence. Many of your comrades made the ultimate sacrifice.

Your determination, selflessness and courage have brought the freedom struggle towards its fulfillment.

That struggle can now be taken forward by other means. I say this with the authority of my office as President of Sinn Fein.

In the past I have defended the right of the IRA to engage in armed struggle. I did so because there was no alternative for those who would not bend the knee, or turn a blind eye to oppression, or for those who wanted a national republic.

Now there is an alternative.

I have clearly set out my view of what that alternative is. The way forward is by building political support for republican and democratic objectives across Ireland and by winning support for these goals internationally.

I want to use this occasion therefore to appeal to the leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann to fully embrace and accept this alternative.

Can you take courageous initiatives which will achieve your aims by purely political and democratic activity?

I know full well that such truly historic decisions can only be taken in the aftermath of intense internal consultation. I ask that you initiate this as quickly as possible.

I understand fully that the IRAs most recent positive contribution to the peace process was in the context of a comprehensive agreement. But I also hold the very strong view that republicans need to lead by example.

There is no greater demonstration of this than the IRA cessation in the summer of 1994.

Sinn Fein has demonstrated the ability to play a leadership role as part of a popular movement towards peace, equality and justice.

We are totally commited to ending partition and to creating the conditions for unity and independence. Sinn Fein has the potential and capacity to become the vehicle for the attainment of republican objectives.

The Ireland we live in today is also very different place from 15 years ago. There is now an all-Ireland agenda with huge potential.

Nationalists and republicans have a confidence that will never again allow anyone to be treated as second class citizens. Equality is our watchword.

The catalyst for much of this change is the growing support for republicanism.
Of course, those who oppose change are not going to simply roll over. It will always be a battle a day between those who want maximum change and those who want to maintain the status quo. But if republicans are to prevail, if the peace process is to be successfully concluded and Irish sovereignty and re-unification secured, then we have to set the agenda – no one else is going to do that.

So, I also want to make a personal appeal to all of you – the women and men volunteers who have remained undefeated in the face of tremendous odds.

Now is the time for you to step into the Bearna Baoil again; not as volunteers risking life and limb but as activists in a national movement towards independence and unity.

Such decisions will be far reaching and difficult. But you never lacked courage in the past. Your courage is now needed for the future.

It won,t be easy. There are many problems to be resolved by the people of Ireland in the time ahead. Your ability as republican volunteers, to rise to this challenge will mean that the two governments and others cannot easily hide from their obligations and their responsibility to resolve these problems.

Our struggle has reached a defining moment.

I am asking you to join me in seizing this moment, to intensify our efforts, to rebuild the peace process and decisively move our struggle forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
May 28, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Israel’s Premature Celebration: Gazans Have Crossed the Fear Barrier
Gary Leupp
Europe and the US: Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation
Doug Noble
Berrigan, Ellsberg and Memorial Day
Bill Quigley
Memorial Day – 7 Facts Documenting Our Neglect of Millions of Veterans
Brett Wilkins
Luis Posada Carriles, Hemisphere’s Most Wanted Terrorist, Dies Free in Miami at Age 90
Jack Rasmus
China Trade War, No. Korea Summit Collapse, & Factional Splits in US Elites
Harvey Wasserman
Trump has Plenty of Accomplices in his Reckless Energy Policies
George Wuerthner
Cheatgrass and the Bovine Curtain
Franklin Lamb
The Multiple Stepmothers of Daesh (ISIS) in Syria
Ray McGovern
How to Honor Memorial Day
Mel Gurtov
In Iran and North Korea, China Holds Some Cards
Robert Koehler
Empowering Kids Instead of Arming Them
Laura Flanders
After Brexit, Blexit: Putting Your Money Where Your Life Is
Binoy Kampmark
Donald Trump Cancels
Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail