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1 October 2010

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‘Republican Action Against Drugs’ should go away and stay away

The Tyrone commemoration makes its way to the Republican Plot

THE vigilante group caling itself ‘Republican Action Against Drugs’ “should go away and stay away”, Sinn Féin West Tyrone MP and MLA Pat Doherty said at last weekend’s annual Strabane commemoration in memory of republican dead from the local area.
A large section of Pat Doherty’s speech at the Republican Plot at Strabane Cemetery directly addressed the issue of RAAD. The group has emerged in the area in recent months and carried out shootings and pipe-bomb attacks in the town and surrounding areas.
Saying that these attacks have caused nothing but hardship, fear, suffering and disruption to local families and the local community, Pat Doherty went on to outline how one such cowardly attack was carried out on the Devine family, the family of IRA Volunteers Hugh, Michael and David Devine who are among those were being commemorated by republicans.
“Hugh, Michael and David’s mother, Patsy, is a woman who has endured more than her fair share of pain and suffering in her life. Yet RAAD in its ‘wisdom’ decided to throw a pipe-bomb into the very car which Patsy depended upon for her mobility.
“To add insult to injury, RAAD refused to met the Devine family to explain why it carried out this attack or to afford the Devine family an opportunity to clear their family name.
“The Devine family have asked me to express their deep gratitude for the help and support they have received from the wider republican family since this attack, particularly in recent weeks, and for standing by them and other families who have been attacked by RAAD in this republican community.
“This group can no longer hide under the under the mantle of republicanism.
“There is no place in Irish republicanism for anyone on macho ego trips.
“RAAD should go away and stay away!”
Paying tribute to republicans from the area who have given their lives in the struggle for a new Ireland, the Sinn Féin MP said:
“It is vital to remember that the great void left at the deaths of our patriot dead is most acutely felt by those closest and dearest who have been left behind. It is important that we continue to show our solidarity and support to the families of our patriot dead not just at commemorative events like this but on an all-year-round basis.”
He continued:
“Most of you gathered here today would have known at least some, if not many, of the 24 republicans listed the West Tyrone Roll of Honour and Roll of Remembrance.
“The chronology of the West Tyrone Roll of Honour and Remembrance begins with the death in Glenelly of Fian Jim McNally in October 1921 and right up until the untimely death of Councillor Charlie McHugh in October 2008.
“Our patriot dead were just ordinary people living in exceptional times but it is the above exceptional qualities which they possessed, in a collective way, which instils us with such pride in their memory and which motivates and inspires our actions as republicans to continue the struggle for which they lived and died.”
Pat Doherty went on to outline the clear differences between the struggle waged by the IRA and the actions of the small militarist groups who seek to use the name of republicanism today but have no popular support or coherent strategy.
“Irish republicanism is a political ideology grounded in the key principles of bringing about complete separation from British rule and establishing a united 32-county republic based on equality and justice for all.
“The struggle to further these objectives has always required strategic thinking, the ability to adapt to ever-changing political, social and economic circumstances; the ability to apply long-term strategic thinking so as to outmanoeuvre the political opponents and political enemies who are determined to retain the status quo.
“As such there have been many different phases to this struggle which have required the use of different tactics at different times. Our political foes are clever; we have to be cleverer still.
“Some republicans have a blind adherence to militarism. Devoid of political thinking, strategy or popular support, such militarism is completely misguided. It plays into the hands of those who are seeking to slow down and reverse the pace of change.
“The conditions no longer exist for armed actions by any group in the furtherance of republican objectives. Blind militarism only ends in the cul-de-sac of failure. Violence devoid of political rationale or context is just violence for violence’s sake.
The senior Sinn Féin figure said that people have every right to disagree with the Sinn Féin strategy.
“But in doing so there is an onus upon them to spell out viable alternatives.”

Pat Doherty said that Sinn Fein has a long-term strategy that has many different elements including:

  • Building political strength and popular support across this island and among the Irish Diaspora worldwide for Irish unity;
  • Securing the transfer of the maximum amount powers from Westminster and Whitehall onto this island and into the hands of democratically-elected representatives on Irish soil;
  • Maximising the remit of all-Ireland bodies and expanding their number;
  • Neutralising the pillars which underpinned and sustained the power of the Orange state such as the permanent Civil Service at Stormont, the loyal and Orange orders, and policing and judicial structures;
  • Engaging in programmes of unionist outreach and breaking the monopoly of power of political unionism.

This is the hard work of achieving a united Ireland, Pat Doherty said:
“Merely wishing for a united Ireland will not make it happen. Making it happen requires continued strategic focus, leadership, risk-taking, tenacity, self-sacrifice and, most of all, hard and often tedious slog.
“Every republican has a part to play in bringing this struggle to a successful conclusion. And even if sometimes we feel that we are facing overwhelming odds and an impossible uphill struggle, we just have to look at how those we have come here today to commemorate stood up to be counted in the face of the adversity they faced.
“Draw inspiration from their example and determine to redouble our efforts in the time ahead. Beir Bua!”

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