26 July 2007 Edition
Volunteer Patrick Cannon commemoration
‘Press ahead with the struggle’ — Pearse Doherty
Two days before his election to the Seanad, Pearse Doherty joined Dublin republicans in commemorating IRA Volunteer Patrick Cannon from Edenmore on the city’s Northside. Cannon died on active service with Donegal Volunteer Peter McElchar in July 1976. In an upbeat speech at the graveside in Balgriffin Cemetery, Pearse urged republicans to “look back with pride upon the gains we have made, consolidate them and press ahead with the next phase of our struggle”.
The ceremony was chaired by Denise Mitchell of Dublin North East Sinn Féin. Dáil candidate Cllr Larry O’Toole thanked all those who had worked in the General Election campaign, which had seen a significantly increased vote in Dublin North East. He urged people to begin preparations for the next local government elections.
Pearse Doherty gave the main oration in which he said:
“Patrick Cannon was a young man from this city. At a time when the political establishment in this State at best stood idly by and ignored the plight of the nationalist and republican community in the North, he took a conscious decision to join the republican struggle.
“Thirty-one years ago, in July 1976, Patrick along with another young IRA Volunteer Peter McElchar from my own county of Donegal were killed in a premature explosion near Castlederg in County Tyrone.
“The decision by the IRA leadership to end the armed campaign ensures that a heavy burden of responsibility has been passed onto the shoulders of everyone here to advance our struggle for a united and independent country.
“A political and peaceful path to achieve Irish unity exists. But bringing about such fundamental political social and economic change will not happen by accident or will not happen if we do not bring it about. That is the task that faces us as Sinn Féin activists in the coming years.
“So I would say to people to stay focused, stay united and keep your eye on the prize. Sinn Féin is playing for very big stakes. We are in this together and we are in this to win. So look back with pride upon the gains we have made. Consolidate them and press ahead with the next phase of our struggle. Let us gather here again next year with much of the rebuilding work done and with a party facing into a local election campaign giving leadership and confident of success.”