Easter Oration - Glasgow 27/04/2019

Firstly, I want to say how honoured I am, to have been asked by the West of Scotland band alliance to address you, fellow Republicans, in Glasgow at this sacred time of year.

It is fantastic to attend this march and enjoy listening to the superb bands. The music never fails to give me goosebumps; there is nothing that quite compares to the proud feeling Republican bands can give you, as you march along to the beat of their drum. The time and effort you put into perfecting your talents have made you the first-rate musicians that we have all heard here today.

It is truly a privilege, to stand alongside Scottish Comrades and commemorate all those, who have died in service to the Irish Republic. The Scottish can take pride in the fact that far from being sympathetic supporters of the Irish cause, you have been active participants, Scottish men and women have fought, been incarcerated and died in the pursuit of an Irish Republic. You are not simply our Celtic cousins, you are our brothers, sisters, comrades and your loyalty to the Republic has been beyond measure.

You gave Ireland your finest talent, and when Ireland needed you, you did not ignore her call.

There were between 50 and 60 participants in the Rising who came from Scotland. The majority made up of members of Na Fianna Éireann. The second largest group comprised the Irish Volunteers of Glasgow and surrounding districts. They were collectively known as the Scottish Division of the Kimmage Garrison attached to GHQ and comprising First Battalion A Company.

Padraig Pearse called the garrison “Ireland’s first standing army since the days of Patrick Sarsfield.”

The Scottish contingent lacked neither militancy nor valour when compared to the local Republican units in Dublin during the Easter Rising.

Several Volunteers who ‘had come from a land beyond the sea’ never returned. Charles Carrigan, a member of the Scottish Division, was killed in action and of course, who is undoubtedly your proudest son, Edinburgh-born James Connolly was executed while wounded and strapped to a chair, as Commander in Chief of the Republican forces.

The contribution made by Scottish Volunteers was quite considerable; they had the highly dangerous task of shipping arms, munitions and men from Scotland from late 1915, including a significant amount of the small arms and all of the explosives used in the Rising. Indeed, without this war material, Seán Mac Diarmada claimed the Easter Rising would not have happened.

Such was the esteem in which our Scottish Comrades were held, on the first anniversary of the Rising in April 1917, over the ruins of the GPO in Dublin, a Volunteer from Glasgow, Paddy Moran, hoisted the Tricolour. This was the same Volunteer, Pearse nominated to hoist the flag of the Irish Republic over the Republican Headquarters. 

Today that notable relationship between Irish Republicans in Ireland and our comrades, the Irish Diaspora in Scotland continues, the significance of this relationship has not waned but indeed grown in strength and importance as time has passed.

As we all look back today on the great heroes of 1916, we do so with a sense of idealism. However, the romanticised idea of noble patriots cheered on by their fellow country people in the face of a tyrannical British Force is fanciful.

Then as now, the public is quite apathetic towards their imperialist masters, too afraid to rock the boat and willing to settle, this picture is not exclusive to Ireland but appears to be the case in all occupied Countries.

For the middling person, it seems our demands are too are unreasonable, too hard-line, too undeviating, the same criticisms that Revolutionaries have always faced. For them, it is easier to submit to slavery than dare fight for freedom.

Their fears, that revolution requires a certain level of self-sacrifice are not however unfounded, our Republic will not just be presented to us; it will not be easily won. Concession after concession will be proposed, yet we must stand defiant and reject all alternatives to the Republic in the face of mounting pressure.

For too long the Irish people have fallen foul of sellouts and those wishing to re-invent the wheel, telling us how if we just take this step inside Leinster house it is progress, or how if we just buy into this one British Government proposal it will yield results.

Ultimately, for us Republicans, for any Republic to emerge from the reunification of our country, it must be in line with the 1916 Proclamation, proceeding from there and not the engineered constitutional process employed by the British government since 1921 to usurp the Republic.

With the discussion around Brexit and border polls, we must be more strident than ever in our demands. We cannot settle for what the state is offering us, as others have done before, we must move forward and settle for nothing less than the Republic.

The State will up the ante, and as ever, they will try to tempt Republicans to take part in constitutional politics. Constitutional politics for Republicans in an occupied Ireland is farcical; it is designed to dampen down the radical and revolutionary spirit of Republicanism.

Electoral victories for “Republicans” in either the 26 or 6 county assemblies is far from a triumph for Republicanism; it is, in fact, the opposite, it is exactly what those who partitioned Ireland sought for us to do, entrap us in their assemblies and be the good natives to dole out their rule. The most successful occupation is one in which the native people administrate for themselves.

Republicans should avoid these carefully laid traps. If ever there was a time for us to work together it is now, we must formulate our demands under a common banner, a demand for a British intent to withdraw, followed by the re-constituted all-Ireland Republic. This has always been and remains the Republican position.

We must be working towards creating a mass movement of people to come together to demand this change for Ireland. Irish Freedom will not proceed from either Stormont or Leinster house.

At present Republicanism is under attack, there is no way to sugar coat it. The State, backed up by a willing media are working to close down the traditional Republican ideology, they seek to criminalise us. It would be easy to shirk away into the shadows and ride it out, but we do not have that luxury, we have a duty to our Country to continue, and as always, we will do our duty.

While the great and the good of British and Freestate politics pontificate about the lack of support for Republicanism, they are simultaneously neglecting the people they claim to represent; the welfare of the Irish People is not a concern to them at all.

They use and abuse the Irish people to get votes to keep them in power and to the life of elite luxury of which they are accustomed. They systematically lie, be it the bedroom tax or water charges, yet due to the lack of understanding of alternatives among the populace, these charlatans are elected repeatedly.

How can the Irish people fail but be persuaded that Republicanism is not relevant to them, they are bombarded day in and daily with anti-Republican rhetoric from counter-revolutionaries and British State apologists, with national television and radio stations at their disposal to espouse their deceitful vitriol.

Ultimately, this is our fault, we must do more. We must advance the Republican message, as we know, the British normalisation campaign has worked to great effect, so we too must have our own normalisation campaign, we cannot be intimidated into silence.

We need to assure people that Republicanism is not a strange or minority view; indeed, it is a legitimate and normal view to hold, and the Irish people must feel secure and proud to call themselves Republican. In difficult times we must stand together, we cannot allow our ideology to be bastardised and misrepresented without our strongest objections.

The ongoing criminalisation of Irish Republicans is plain to see, be it the onslaught of IRA membership charges in the 26 counties or the continual house raids and arrests in the 6 counties. At present, we have near on 70 political prisoners, and yet the media ignore this entirely. It is only through the good work of Republican activists, Republican activists like you that the Prisoners have a voice.

As we leave here today, we must make a commitment to ourselves that we will re-double our efforts in the cause of Freedom for all. Ireland watched with admiration and amazement as the Scottish people came together to fight for their independence via the Indy Ref, it is heartening to hear that another one may be in the offing in only a few short years. While I do not propose a referendum for Ireland, we are a different situation; I support whole heartedly the Scottish people’s will.

Just as you have stood shoulder to shoulder with us throughout all these years, we too will not be found wanting in our support for your own independence, this time you will win and what a glorious day of celebration that will be.

If ever there was to be a take away from this speech it is this, Republicans are not for changing, we hold fast to the ideals and principles of the 1916 Proclamation, as Dolours Price said, “It is in our DNA”.

An Phoblacht Abú agus Saor Alba

The oration can be viewed here:


  1. Fine oration. You did republicanism proud a chara


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