Easter Message 2008
We gather here today to mark the 92nd Anniversary of Easter Week, 1916. Ninety two years ago Padraig Pearse read the Proclamation from the steps of the General post office in Dublin. Those words spoken by Pearse were noted with mild interest by the few assembled on that Easter Monday, ninety two years ago. It was not until the Rising was crushed and the leaders executed, did those prophetic words touch the hearts and minds of the Irish people. When the country awoke to the meaning of Pearse’s words, it ushered in the revolutionary period of 1920/22. Since then countless thousands of people have heard the words of the Proclamation read, but how many have really taken their meaning to heart?
Irish Republicans pledge their loyalty to the All Ireland Republic proclaimed in arms Easter Week, and established two years later by the democratic majority vote of the people of Ireland in the General Election of 1918. We see today as in the past, people who pay lip service to the Republic but whose actions tell a different story. Fortunately, we have shining examples to follow the true Republican ideal. Today, we stand at the grave Joe Stynes, a truly faithful Irish Republican. Joe is a representation of many that have chosen ideal over personal advancement. Mike Flannery, George Harrison, Tom Maguire and Dan Keating all gave a life of boundless service to the cause of Irish freedom. The list of those faithful republicans is long and distinguished, from Thomas Ashe the hunger striker of 1917, to Mickey Devine in 1981, Sean Sabhat, Máire Drumm, Billy Reid, Maıréad Farrell and Dáıthí Ó Conaıll all of whom performed their patriotic duty to the last. All had the same goal: To break the connection with England.
Unfortunately, today in Ireland there will be Easter commemorations organized by those whose only interest is self-serving. They will invoke the names of Pearse, Connolly and McDonagh. They will praise the service of Lynch, Mac Curtain and O’Hanlon. Yet, their words ring hollow. They have no intention of upsetting the status quo. They have no intention of ending partition. They have no intention of smashing British rule in Ireland. Their intention is to serve themselves and their British masters. They walk the same path of Cosgrove and DeValera. They echo the sentiments of Goulding and Johnston. All are hypocritical who do a disservice to the republic that Pearse and his comrades set out to establish 92 years ago.
Padraig Pearse did not stand on the steps of the GPO and invite the monarch of England for a visit nor did he encourage Irish men and woman to join a British police force to continue the occupation of his country. No, he invoked the God given right of the Irish people to the unfettered control of their nation’s destiny.
This year also marks the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. The ideals and life’s work of men such of
John O’ Mahony, James Fintan Lalor and James Stephens inspired the men and women of Easter Week and it continues to inspire us today. They saw the marked difference between being a citizen or a slave. As this year progresses we will continue to mark this important historic anniversary through our Fenian Graves Project. We invite all those who wish to honor these men and women and their work to join with us and assist in this endeavor.
We will also continue to advocate and promote the Éire Nua program. Contained within that program is the idealism of Fenianism, self-reliance and an active participatory citizenry. A political commentator recently said of ÉIRE NUA that: “It linked back to Pearse’s Sovereign People and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil.” This visionary Irish authored program is nothing short of Irish Republicanism distilled into political formula for a peaceful New Ireland.
Ninety-two years ago the All Ireland republic was proclaimed. In closing, let us not only give our fealty to the Republic of Pearse and Connolly, but also our service.
"Our patriotism is measured not by the formula in which we declare it, but in the service which we render"-Pearse