5 May 2005 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Máirtírigh na Rossan

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Gráinne Mhic Géidigh (Údarás na Gaeltachta) agus an Comhairleoir Pearse Doherty ag Comóradh na Rossan

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, Gráinne Mhic Géidigh (Údarás na Gaeltachta) agus an Comhairleoir Pearse Doherty ag Comóradh na Rossan

Rinneadh comóradh ar ceathrar a fuair bás ar son na Poblachta sa tréimhse 1922-23 i gceantar na Rossan i nDún na nGall ag an deireadh seahtaine seo caite. Ar an Domhnach a bhí an comóradh agus bhí an Comhairleoir Pearse Doherty mar cathaoirleach ar an ardán. Gráinne Mhic Géidigh, comhalta nua-thofa Shinn Féin ar Údarás na Gaeltachta a léigh Forógra na Poblachta agus léigh Seosamh Óg MacGrianna an Liosta Laochra. Seo thíos sliocht as an óráid a thug Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD.

I ngach paróiste sa tír, beagnach, tá uaigheanna mar seo ina bhfuil saighdiúirí na Poblachta curtha. Daoine a bhí dílis do Phoblacht na hÉireann a fógraíodh i 1916 agus a cuireadh ar bun ag an Chéad Dáil Éireann i 1919. Daoine a bhí ar a gcoimeád, a bhí sna príosúin agus a bhí sa troid i rith a saoil. Daoine óga is mó a bhí iontu - cosúil leis an ceathrar seo a bhí go léir ina bhfichidí. Beidh cuimhne orthu go deo.

There are many in the political establishment in this state who would prefer us to forget this period in our history or to remember it only in a selective way. They would like us to forget that the two partitionist states were imposed on Ireland by the British Government with the aid of native agents of their rule — Orange agents in the Six Counties and Green agents in the 26 Counties.

The fate of Mary McBride is a reminder of the faithfulness of republican women over the decades. Like almost all the women in the movement at the time she opposed the Treaty and served with Cumann na mBan in the opening months of the Civil War. Arrested and held in atrocious prison conditions here in Donegal and in Dublin, her health was broken and she died in a matter of months after her release in 1923.

Owen Boyle was only 21 when he died after taking part in the mass hunger strike of 1923. Young as he was, he had served in the Tan war and then stood against the Treaty.

As in the case of Mary McBride, it was ill-treatment in prison that killed Con Boyle. He was held by the British on the prison ship Argenta in Belfast Lough with an unattended bullet wound. He was released when his death was imminent and he returned to Donegal to spend his last few weeks.

Neil 'Plunkett' O'Boyle is the best known of the four and his story has been chronicled by Pádraig Ó Baoill in his book Óglach na Rosann. After many adventures and terms of imprisonment Neil operated in the Wicklow Hills during the Civil War. It was in May 1923, after the Ceasefire had begun, that Neil was done to death by Free State forces after he and his comrades had surrendered when their Wicklow safe house was surrounded.

Our purpose here is not only to remember the past and to take inspiration form the sacrifices of our comrades of former days. It is also to renew our republican commitment and to look forward and assess how best we can achieve the All-Ireland Republic for which they gave their lives.

Gerry Adams has issued an historic call to the IRA to pursue their aims by "purely political and democratic activity" and to work "not as Volunteers risking life and limb but as activists in a national movement towards independence and unity".

This call represents an important development in the Peace Process. Republicans should discuss it and debate it and see it in the context of developing our strategy and tactics and charting the way forward to the new Ireland we seek to build.

The most important message that the election of more Sinn Féin MPs this week will send will be to the British Government. We will be saying more loudly and more clearly than before: "You are not wanted here. Let the Irish people determine our own future without your interference. Send your soldiers and your direct rulers home."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1