Statement from the Irish National Liberation Army Prisoners of War

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The General Post Office in Dublin, Ireland after the Easter Rising

The following is a statement presented by the Irish National Liberation Army Prisoners of War in Belfast, Ireland on March 27, 2005 at a commemoration of the 1916 Easter rebellion in Ireland.

The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) Prisoners of War give our continued support to the Leadership of both the INLA and Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP). We send Easter greetings to all our Comrades within the Republican Socialist Movement and to friends and supporters at home and througout the World.

We extend our support and solidarity to our fellow political prisoners — to the Basques and Catalan prisoners, to the Turkish and Kurdish death fasters, to the Palestinian prisoners and to all political prisoners in Chile, Puerto Rico, USA and through out the World.

We stand resolutely with, and pay tribute to all those fighting imperialism worldwide. We support the freedom fighters of Iraq.

Comrades, on this, the 89th Anniversary of the Easter Rising, we gather once more to pay homage and to remember all those who gave their lives for a democratic Socialist Republic. We pay respect to and honor the republican dead — no matter what organization they belonged to.

While today, we in the Republican Socialist Movement remember, in particular, our own martyred dead and our fallen comrades, we do not forget or ignore those other Republicans who sacrificed their lives so that this country could be free. We remember them all with pride.

At noon on that Easter Monday in 1916, members of the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers occupied the General Post Office (GPO) and strategic buildings around the center of Dublin. From the steps of the GPO Padraig Pearse read aloud the proclamation of the Irish Republic, announcing that they were setting up a Provisional Government replacing Britton’s.

These were extraordinary events involving ordinary men and women who lived in extraordinary times. Today let us pause for a moment, and reflect on what, all those who died for the Republic, thought they were doing.

Irish men and women bravely fought and died for the rights of all of us, for all the people of this island to live in political, economic and social freedom in a Republic that cherishes all the children of the Nation equally.

Ask yourself, “Who today, stands by that concept of the Republic?” The fat cats of Irish business life? The politicians who feed on corruption, greed and bribery? These very same politicians who have labelled Republicans – Republican Socialists as criminals? The full force of the establishment has united to try and denigrate the sacrifices of all those we honor here today by continuing to make unsubstantiated allegations of criminality against our movement.

The facts speak for themselves. Imprisoned INLA members were all convicted of political offences. There are no members of the INLA awaiting trial for criminal offences. No member of the INLA or indeed the IRSP is involved in any type of criminality.

However, there are those outside of the Republican Socialist Movement who use the name of the INLA for their own ends, some with the approval and encouragement of the security agencies both North and South. These parasites who have descended into this type of activity, besmirch the name of Republicanism.

Not only is there no place for them in our movement, there is no place for them in society. For like the capitalist system, they are a piraya who feed off the working class. There will never be a place in our movement for anyone who believes they can use it for personal advancement or financial gain.

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James Connolly led the Easter Rising in 1916 and was executed for it.

“We as Republican Socialists cannot and will not live under British colonial or unionist rule, for that rule is unjust, cruel, discriminatory and imperialistic.”

The INLA is unlike Fianna Fail which has seen high ranking members of their party involved in criminal activities such as money laundering with the Guinness, Mahon, and Cayman Trust. C. J. Haughey was rather partial to the odd bribe or two, and ex-Fianna Fail Minister Ray Burke is in jail on bribery and corruption convictions.

The hypocrisy of the establishment is breathtaking. None of them stand for the Republic. They have allowed the poor of this country to slip into further debt and misery, with the gap between the rich and poor growing wider.

Nor do the racists who preach hatred and enflame sectarianism stand for the Republic. Nor the trade union leaders who have sold out the workers, nor those who wish to maintain oppression and inequality. None of these stands for the Republic we want to see.

We as Republican Socialists cannot and will not live under British colonial or unionist rule, for that rule is unjust, cruel, discriminatory and imperialistic.

There have been seven years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. What has changed?

Westminister maintains direct rule. The British army still patrols our streets. Their intelligence service still operates clandestine operations, and they continue to maintain and update their military installations.

Sectarian clashes have increased, and there is still no real justice or equality for the Republican-Nationalist community. Dessie O’Hare continues to be held as a political hostage by the free State government who has reneged on its commitments under the GFA, and Republican Prisoners in Maghaberry are denied recognition of there political status which was won because of the sacrifice of the hunger strikers in 1981.

Comrades, it is time for us in the Republican Socialist Movement to take stock of where we are and where we are going, and how best to prepare politically and organizationally for the next phase, which will be our struggle, the class struggle.

There is a danger at the moment of Republican Socialists ending up simply reacting to events. We encourage and fully support the Ard Chomhairle of the IRSP who are actively involved in preparing a long-term overview of a strategic and political understanding of what has to be done to achieve our aims and objectives.

Now that there is an acceptance of the primacy of politics, as outlined in the Ta Power documents, the development of the party is critical, if we are to prepare the Irish working class for the struggles ahead. Political leadership comes from a political party that fully understands the situation and who possess the necessary tactics, strategies and policies that enables the working class struggle to move forward.

Our role should be to act as a catalyst to the struggle of the people, North and South, Protestant and Catholic so as to give them a cohesive program of direction whilst raising their level of political consciousness. Our Movement has this potential if we are prepared to take the political responsibility that goes with it, and one of those responsibilities is to give voice to the people.

There is a duty on each and every comrade to identify with, and participate in the everyday struggles of the people. Educate, agitate and organize, comrades.

It was the way of James Connolly. It was the way of Costello. Onward to victory!

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Seamus Costello, a follower of Connolly’s writings, founded the IRSP in 1974 and was assassinated in 1977.
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