Monday, August 15, 2011

Thousands remember hunger strikers in Camlough

Thousands of Republicans from across Ireland gathered in the small village of Camlough nested in the hills of south Armagh yesterday to pay tribute to the sacrifices of the ten martyrs of 1981. Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Ray McCreesh, Patsy O’ Hara, Joe McDonnell, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee and Mickey Devine were on the minds of thousands as they followed the procession of banners through the village of Camlough to a beautiful site in the shade of the ring of Gullion.
Along the route they were reminded of terrible events of the past as brilliant choreographed re-enactments showed people scenes of 1981. Whether it was the sight of a diplock court, or protestors clashing with riot police, or a blanket man in silent solitude, the message was clear. These were extraordinary times when normality was anything but normal. Out of these extraordinary times came extraordinary men and women, who stood up against the might of an empire. Among them were ten young men who would die in the ultimate act of self sacrifice.
Could the British government have ever truly believed that thirty years after the deaths of the hunger strikers, thousands would travel from across Ireland to pay tribute to the memory of these martyrs? Or that commemorations for these men would be held in every county, in countless villages across the length and breathe of Ireland? Or that their images would be more recognisable to young Irish people than any other Irish figures of history?
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams told the thousands present that it was the sacrifice of these men and the conditions that they provided for the success of the Sinn Féin strategy that has led to Irish “republicanism being stronger today than at any time since partition.”
“Of course we have a huge job of work to do to persuade unionists of the merits of the republican and democratic position. But we are also in a very good place to do this. Achieving our republican goals will not be easy. While unionist leaders now see the benefits of working on an all-Ireland basis, they remain opposed to a united Ireland. So there is work to be done peacefully and democratically with them. Sinn Féin is up for that work.”
Mr Adams said the British government, “despite its protestations to the contrary, and its systems, has yet to face up to its responsibilities to the people of this island. It can best do this by leaving us to manage our own affairs.

1 comment:

  1. well done to all the flute bands. a remarkable tribute was paid to Irelands fallen heroes