“If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs. ” James Connolly
One hundred years since the great rebellion of Easter week, we look back on one of the greatest chapters in recent Irish history with immense pride. In the same spirit as 1798, 1803, 1848, and 1867 the Army of the Republic took on the might of the cruelest empire in human history. The guiding hands of the rising were warriors and visionaries, with an unshakeable belief in the Irish Repubic. All of their efforts , their life’s work, was for the greater good, so Ireland could be the master of its own destiny. Like the pillars of the GPO, their memory still stands tall, the heroic , Cú Culainn like deeds of those men and women continue to inspire the down trodden, the poor, and those who carry on the fight today. Betrayed many times in our history at decisive moments by leaders, the leaders in 1916 showed true leadership and when they were executed in the stone breakers yard at kilmainham Gaol, to quote a British officer at the time, “they died like lions”.
The coming together of the various revolutionary forces in Easter week was a unique moment in our history and represented the most progressive minds Ireland had to offer. The Citizen army, the women’s movement, the volunteers nurtured by the old hand of the Fenian movement rose in Dublin to change Ireland for the better. Men and women ahead of their time. For six days they rattled the British empire to its core and sent shockwaves all over the world, inspiring other nations and oppressed peoples to take a stand. The noble stand taken by the kent family in Cork is a source of great inspiration to Cork republicans , like the rising in Dublin itself, out gunned and out numbered, it was a small but heroic assertion of the Irish Nation. Although left in a prison grave for 99 years, which typifies the free States attitude to the real message of Easter week and Republicanism in general, Thomas Kent was never forgotten by real republicans.
Unfortunately, Ireland today stands in stark contrast to what was fought for in 1916, Partitioned, Occupied and betrayed at every hands turn by those who put themselves forward as our representatives, our resources plundered by external forces, the children of the nation suffer poverty , homelessness and social exclusion, yet the proclamation declared they be cherished equally. The landlord class, the banks and unscrupulous employers, all prey on the vulnerable like parasites. Oh where , oh where is our James Connolly ?
The cultural , social, economic and revolutionary ideals personified by the men and women of Easter week have yet to be realised. The people have yet to become masters in their own country, the workers have yet to become masters of their own production and the Gaelic Nation has yet to be restored. Anyone who thinks that the ‘Irish question’ is settled is delusional, 1916 is unfinished business!