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13 August 2009 Edition

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1969 to 2009 - The struggle continues

IRIS –The Republican Magazine
Published by Sinn Féin

THE new IRIS has appeared: Out of the Ashes of ‘69 – Out of the Chaos of ‘09 is the theme of this latest magazine. As usual it is superbly produced and, as its theme suggests, deals with events 40 years ago which erupted across the North as well as the chaos of the new economic recession facing us in 2009. But it also has an internationalist perspective in an inspiring article on the socialist revolution happening across much of South and Central America.
There has been much furore about what Toiréasa Ferris was supposed to have said in An Phoblacht recently. Most of the commentators (anti-republican in the main) obviously never read the full article, the full context of what she and other Sinn Féin members have been debating in the pages of An Phoblacht for near two years.
Regretfully, some republicans have also fallen into the trap and commentated about the selected quotes. As I have repeatedly said, “Read the text,” and in this case I urge all republicans to read Mícheál Mac Donncha’s incisive article on the Government-created recession and the need to challenge the accepted ‘wisdom’ (McCarthy et al) that there is no alternative to a slash and burn approach to public services. Those making the proposals for cuts in services and social welfare are the very ones who made a mess of the economy.
Mícheál sets out the challenge for republicans:
“We have shown that real political change is possible. We must move on to ensure that the next major transformation is towards social justice, economic equality and a united Ireland.”

The other major highlight for me in this, the 23rd IRIS (I bought my first copy of IRIS in 1981 at a Hunger-Strike rally), is the reprint of a series of interviews by Laura Friel with eyewitnesses of events around the loyalist pogrom and the burning of Bombay Street in Belfast 1969 and Mitchel McLaughlin’s accounts of his memory of the Battle of the Bogside in Derry.
These accounts are accompanied by very vivid, stark and emotive photographs, many of which have never been published before. They were taken by Gerry Collins, now 86, and lay forgotten until unearthed recently.
If you have photographs showing aspects of republican history which have never been seen before, copy them and send them to the editor of IRIS or An Phoblacht to ensure the new generation of republicans who were not around at the time, or those of us who were elsewhere (I can’t be three places at once), can get a feel of the events, the courage, the hardship and comradeship which the extraordinary events of the war created. These are the characteristics which Gerry Collins’s photographs demonstrated as they stared out of the pages of IRIS at me.

Other articles include a family and national treasure, Volunteer Bill Doyle’s Kilmainham Jail autograph book; alt ar an t-Óglach cróga Seán Savage; book reviews; Jayne Fisher’s report of cycling through Cuba for the charity Music Fund for Cuba and celebrating 50 years of the revolution.
Worth a read is definitely Seán Ó Floinn’s account of the tidal wave that is the socialist and democratic revolution that is today’s South and Central Americas. If there was ever a need to lift the hearts of those of us who strive for the greater good, the Irish Socialist Republic, this is it. It is possible to win against the odds. I already knew that, but for the Doubting Thomases, read this article. See the change in the Americas which doesn’t get the proper coverage here in the West – I wonder why?

IRIS along with Michael Gaughan: Prepared to fight of die will be on sale at both the Bombay Street and the Hunger Strike commemorations 

An Phoblacht Magazine


  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here


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