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10 August 2006 Edition

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The Republic will be their monument

Government was attempting to defeat Irish republicanism by isolating it and portraying it as a criminal conspiracy. The prisoners knew, in the words of Bobby Sands, that "what is lost here is lost for the Republic". For their prison comrades and for the wider struggle they placed their lives on the line. Ten of them fasted to death in the tragic summer of 1981, joining the 12 Irish republicans who died on hunger strike from Tomás Aghas in 1917 to Frank Stagg in 1976.

This year republicans have been marking the 25th anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike and this coming Sunday thousands will gather in Belfast at the culmination of the year's events in a massive tribute to the Hunger Strikers. They will be marching not just to remember the past but to assert their determination to achieve the type of Ireland for which the Hunger Strikers and their comrades sacrificed so much.

And what type of Ireland did they want? What type of Ireland do we want?

Is it a divided Ireland where Britain still rules Six Counties?

Is it an unequal Ireland where fabulous wealth exists side by side with deprivation and discrimination?

Is it an Anglo-Americanised Ireland where our national language continues to decline and consumer culture dominates young lives?

Is it a dependent Ireland where solidarity with the oppressed of the earth is replaced with subservience to the new imperialism?

No, this is not the Ireland we want.

Republicans are leading the forces for change to build a society of which all of us can be proud, an Ireland of equals, sovereign and independent, united and free, a Republic worthy of the name. In doing so, we continue to be inspired by the legacy of the Hunger Strikers. Their monument will be the Irish Republic

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1