Volume 3, Number 5
7 October 2005
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
2) Costello Commemoration Speech
3) INLA Prisoners of War Statement
4) IRSCNA Statement for the Costello Commemoration
5) Press Statement from the IRSP
New website to view about North Belfast:
This edition of The Plough concentrates exclusively on last Sunday's
Seamus Costello Commemoration in Bray, County Wicklow. The main speech
has caused some controversy and excited some anti-IRSP sentiments from
supporters of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement and Republican Sinn
Fein following the decision by Daily Ireland to lead with the call for
a ceasefire on its front page last Wednesday. Rarely if ever does the
IRSP get much coverage and there is no doubt that Daily Ireland choose
to run that story in the way it did was because it was a stick to beat
other republicans with. Their editorial claiming that the INLA was "ON
THE VERGE" of a major announcement was disingenuous. We ask our
readers to read what was actually said and come to their own judgment.
Our position has been clear and consistent for the past seven years
and Eddie McGarrigle's speech merely re-iterated what we have been
saying all along.
As we have pointed out before in The Plough, the IRSP have asked for
private talks with other republican and socialist organisations. Only
one had the courtesy to get back to us and engage in talks. We only
recently provided a public platform for a member of the 32CSM and
re-issued an invitation for private talks. No response has yet been
received from them. We remain open to talk with all groups who claim
the mantle of republicanism.
COSTELLO COMMEMORATION SPEECH
Comrades, today we commemorate a great man whose politics are as
relevant today as they were thirty years ago. The people of Bray
remember the agitator, the husband, the friend, the revolutionary,
they remember well his vision and radical socialism, never have they
seen again such a soldier of the working class.
Twenty-five years ago someone gave me the commemoration book detailing
Seamus's life and politics. It was a glowing testament to his vision
and to his love for the working class. Whenever I read that little
book its clear to me that this vision and love were the very heart of
Despite the passing of the years and the changes within society when
you scratch the surface, nothing of substance has changed. The rich
become richer whilst the poor struggle for a decent living. We still
face the same situation on this island today. Business interests
masquerading as political leadership administer rule in Ireland, they
have their own interests, and their aim is profit. Meanwhile, health
and education, decent housing, employment all fall by the wayside in
the selfish pursuit of profit.
The Rossport 5 are high profile victims of the Free State government's
decision to sell off the economic sovereignty of their friends in
multinational companies. We support the Rossport 5, not because it's
the latest sexy fad which has caught the public imagination, we
support them because at the heart of their case is the capitalist
greedy profit making agenda. The supporters of the 5 are to be
welcomed but I will say this: Castlerea Prison isn't too far from
Rossport and if you're looking to find a long term case of injustice,
a case which is so cruel in its nature, you will find it there. It may
not be sexy for the respectable folk but if you really are against
injustice help free Dessie O'Hare.
Our island remains partitioned, the GFA is a cul de sac which will
strengthen that partition, the six county state is irreformable, it is
a stinking hell hole of sectarianism and it must be smashed. The Good
Friday Agreement republicans accepted partition when they signed the
GFA. The organisation of the rally in Dublin was pure theatre: another
sneaky way of rallying the troops whilst the cement was being poured
over the arms dumps. We recognise that the agreement in 1998 signalled
the end of the present phase in the dispute between Britain and
Ireland over the issue of sovereignty. It was and is a moment of
historic importance, but republican socialists have argued and
continue to argue that it is not a lasting settlement. It was a
political compromise. In signing it, the GFA republicans were working
based on a pan-nationalist consensus that had underpinned their whole
The Dublin government, the SDLP and the Irish American lobbies were
all seen as power points to be directed against the British government
in order to convince them to become persuaders of Irish unity. That is
what our struggle was traded for and if you lay down with dogs you get
up with fleas. The GFA republicans changed their view of the conflict
following their tactical alliances with the great and the good. They
began to manage the conflict and in doing so they began to reinterpret
their republican principles and goals. That in itself was a victory
for the British government. Did these people never stop and think that
their new friends ever had their own agenda, did they allow their ego
and their belief that they were the elite cloud their vision? They
Seamus and all republicans from the past who are honoured by present
day republicans had all one thing in common: their republicanism was
based on the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. Sadly
that position has been undermined by what is known as the peace
process. It has been argued and the IRSP agree with this point that
the republicans who signed up to the GFA have now a position which is
ethnically centered. In essence this accepts that the conflict in the
North is as a result of a clash between two hostile and exclusive
ethnic identities. The benefit of this analysis is that colonialism
slips off the map, Britain gets off the hook and the struggle in which
we took part in has been diminished. Instead of the question of
imperialism and capitalism being the central issue of discourse we now
have celebrations of differences. This multicultural approach in the
North of Ireland in essence means that there are two distinctly
recognised traditions, which should be seen as equally valid and
It also removes the Southern establishment from any concerns about
solving the national question. In the new GFA dispensation you will
hardly hear the words like national question, anti-imperialism and
self determination, nowadays the great and the good have given us new
buzzwords such as parity of esteem and a Europe for the regions,
balderdash. All of this distracts from the real issues such as who has
power and why does oppression continue. Now that the marching season
is nearly over could I be so cheeky to state the truth, the Orange
Order institution is Ireland's Ku Klux Klan and need to be challenged.
This is what this whole process is about, it was underpinned by the
belief that the conflict was ethnic and so the end result the GFA
institutionalised polarised communally based politics. That is not the
way forward for the working class. The way forward lies within the
teachings of men like Seamus Costello and within the politics of the IRSP.
At this point I want to pay tribute to the republican socialist
community. For 25 years and more we have withstood the "undermine and
absorb" policy of the very same people who now chase after British
Secretaries of State begging for office space in Westminster, the
people who used black propaganda to try and destroy this movement, the
same people who tried to break our prisoners and our families, these
same people are now prepared to accept a unionist veto, they are
prepared and eager to administer British rule in Ireland. Shame on the
lot of you.
My message is the same today as it's always been, we are proud to be
Irps -- our class analysis cannot be bartered for respectability, our
politics cannot be crushed and we cannot be bought, even for 26
Bernadette McAliskey, a close friend and comrade of Seamus, once said,
"the war is over and the good guys lost". Since those words were
spoken we have spent a long time analysing and debating the way ahead.
We have spent enough time being distracted by our anger, it is time to
think with our heads and not with our hearts.
All anti-GFA republicans need to take a step back and engage with each
other, those not on cease-fire need to call a cessation to their
campaigns. Put simply it is not working, there is no support within
the working class community for armed struggle. Within the North,
British intelligence are playing republican volunteers like pawns in a
Kitsonian game of chess. We need to consult the prisoners and we need
a united voice, we the honourable republicans undefeated, and we need
to engage with each other. It is for purely tactical reasons that I
make this public call for cessation of military activity. Leadership
needs to be shown, retain the dignity of the republican struggle.
Victory to the soldiers of INLA!
[The above speech by Eddie McGarrigle was delivered on his behalf by
another member of the IRSP Ard-Chomhairle, Tomas Gorman, due to
Eddie's illness on the day.]
INLA PRISONERS OF WAR STATEMENT
We gather here today to remember with pride our comrade and former
leader and co-founder, Seamus Costello. It's been 28 years since
Seamus was murdered by reactionary forces opposed to the creation of a
32 County Socialist Irish Republic.
Whether it was on local community issues on Wicklow County Council or
the broader socialist and anti-imperialist issues, his dedication,
diligence and perseverance served as an inspiration to all who knew
Comrades, as we enter this new phase of the social struggle, it is
that very same diligence, perseverance and dedication that is required
by each and every one of us, to ensure that the ideals and principals
that he espoused so dearly are delivered in a clear and transparent
manner to both today's and tomorrow's generation.
Issues such as poverty, housing, health, education, employment and
social issues coupled with the scourge of narcotics have decimated the
very fabric of our society leaving the working class feeling more and
more isolated and alone. There are many enemies of the working class.
We cannot stand by and watch as drug barons, criminals and fat cat
capitalists, often assisted by state sponsored forces, tear away at
the very fabric of our society.
In the present day, the IRSM faces many challenges, we in the Irish
Republican Socialist Movement must be visible, audible and sincere in
our efforts to address these and the vast array of issues that scourge
Our voice must be audible when it comes to, highlighting the scourge
of drugs within our society, highlighting the ever increasing number
of people who live on our streets, highlighting state corruption at
every level, from civil servant, planners to Gardai and those corrupt
politicians who govern us.
The Celtic Tiger never failed, "for everyone within working class
communities, it never existed", daily struggle to get by just got
harder as everyday goods and services become more expensive. However,
we can state that the GFA has failed. Sectarianism is rife, daily
attacks occur on working class nationalist areas, in particular
Ballymena and North Belfast, fed by entrenched loyalist hatred and
governments who don't seem to care.
Dessie O'Hare is still in jail, even though he is a qualifying
prisoner under the GFA. Both governments bend the rules and shift the
goalposts when they see fit. Other republicans, such as Strabane
republican John Brady, are incarcerated, many on the sole word of the
PSNI or Gardai, both proven corrupt police forces.
We must not be deterred by the capitalist endorsed decimation of our
working class communities.
Comrades, onwards with the revolution.
Cathal Gartland, on behalf of Republican Socialist POWs, Portlaoise,
Castlerea and Maghaberry.
IRSCNA STATEMENT FOR THE COSTELLO COMMEMORATION
The Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America sends its
greetings and solidarity to all those gathered today at the grave of
Seamus Costello, the founder of the Irish Republican Socialist
Movement. As part of that movement, we recognise the enormous legacy
that he left to all of us.
Seamus Costello was one of the greatest leaders of political struggle
to ever emerge in Ireland. His greatness lay in his ability to
"inspire not only the dream but the confidence of its achievement, and
the commitment to work towards that end," as Bernadette Devlin
McAliskey described it. From his earliest days as an activist, his
talent for leading and inspiring others was apparent. He was only
seventeen years old when his leadership of an Irish Republican Army
unit earned him the nickname of "The Boy General."
Seamus Costello, like James Connolly before him, stood for the unity
of the national liberation struggle and the class struggle. Neither
man could conceive of an Ireland liberated from British imperialism
truly being free without it also being liberated from the shackles of
capitalism which kept the Irish working class in the condition of wage
slaves for domestic and foreign capital. Not for them was a capitalist
republic. Connolly's daughter Nora spoke at Costello's funeral and
described him as "the greatest follower of my father's teachings in
When he founded the Irish Republican Socialist Party and the Irish
National Liberation Army on 8 December 1974, it was because he saw no
other vehicles capable of leading the struggle for national and class
liberation. The Official Republican Movement had become mired in
reformism, while the Provisional Republican Movement at the time were
largely right-wing militarists.
Costello tried to work within the ORM, but his efforts were blocked by
its leadership and he was finally forced out. It was then that he
brought together republican socialists (many of whom were also
ex-Officials) and trade unionists to form the Irish Republican
The IRSM was quickly baptised in blood by the Official IRA. Three
members of the IRSM would be killed before a truce was reached, but
that didn't stop the OIRA from assassinating Costello on 5 October
1977. The Officials were an example of just how wrong former
revolutionaries could go when they went down a path of reformism. An
Official IRA gunman may have pulled the trigger, but the gun was
loaded by British imperialism and its lackey of Irish capitalism --
all of whom feared Costello and what he represented.
The death of Seamus Costello was not only a loss to the IRSM, it was a
loss to the Irish working class and the struggle as a whole, just as
Connolly's death was in 1916. However, for all that was lost without
his leadership, his powerful legacy remains an inspiration for anyone
who claims the label of republican socialist.
Seamus Costello was no dilettante or armchair supporter of the
struggle. From the age of sixteen until his death at thirty-eight,
nearly every moment of his life was spent in political or military
struggle, fighting on behalf of the Irish working class. While
interned in a prison camp, he spent his time studying and used his
new-found knowledge to organise lectures to educate his fellow
prisoners. As an elected councillor, he used his position to involve
the working class directly in council business and inspired them to
take the task of liberation into their own hands. His only allegiance
was to the working class.
If we truly wish to honour the memory of Seamus Costello, first
chairperson of the IRSP and first chief of staff of the INLA, then we
must follow his example and devote ourselves fully to building the
only fitting memorial to Connolly, Costello, and all the men and women
who devoted their lives, and sometimes sacrificed them, to the
struggle -- namely a thirty-two county socialist republic on the
island of Ireland. There can be no better memorial and Seamus no
doubt would have agreed.
Only the Irish working class can build a better tomorrow for itself
and in doing so provide an example for the working class
internationally, to inspire it to wake from its slumber induced by
capitalist ideology, break its chains, and establish a new world order
where people come before profit. Our task is to follow in the
footsteps of Costello and continue to build the IRSP into a serious
revolutionary party armed with the correct ideology to see the
struggle through to a successful end. As Costello continues to
inspire us, so must we inspire our fellow workers. Liberation is in
our hands as a class. That is the enduring legacy of Seamus Costello.
Onward to the socialist republic, comrades!
PRESS STATEMENT FROM THE IRSP
Issued on Thursday 6th October.
In response to speculation in the media about the intentions of the
Republican Socialist Movement following the oration at the annual
Seamus Costello commemoration in Bray a few points need to be made.
The position outlined in Sunday's oration has been held by the IRSP
since 1998. We refer to the opening paragraph of the INLA's ceasefire
statement issued on 22/8/98:
"We have accepted the advice and analysis of the Irish Republican
Socialist Party that the conditions for armed struggle do not exist.
The Irish National Liberation Army has now shifted from the position
of defence and retaliation to the position of complete cease-fire. We
have instructed all our units to desist from offensive action from
The Ard-Chomhairle of the IRSP stated on the same day:
"In the present changed political climate in Ireland, the INLA has
also shown that it possesses both the leadership and vision necessary
to provide the momentum required to continue the pursuance of that aim
by peaceful methods."
On the position of armed struggle we have also been quite clear for
many years. At the Seamus Costello commemoration in 2003 the IRSP
"Today the IRSP has to face into the struggle for a socialist republic
based on democratic principles, equipped with the integrity of
republican socialist politics. This alongside our determination to
achieve Irish freedom, full social equality for all, and self
government are the arms required for today's struggle. The political
conditions not only in Ireland but also internationally in 2003 demand
that our response is measured and tailored to achieve victory, not
wallowing in a self-righteous indignation, engaged in a fruitless
armed campaign that our enemies long ago learned how to minimise and
It needs to be restated that the decision on whether or not the INLA
decommissions lies solely with that movement and that decision should
only be taken with reference to the actual position on the ground for
working class communities who presently find themselves living under
threat of violence and forced evictions. It will not be taken on a
request from the nationalist, pro-Good Friday Agreement republicans.
The Republican Socialist Movement is clear on its position in relation
to the GFA. That agreement represented a defeat for the Irish
republican struggle. But as we said at the recent anti-internment
demonstration in Ballymena:
"The Republican Socialist Movement accepts the need for changed
tactics in a rapidly changing world. But changed tactics don't mean
changed principles. We stand by the Republic of James Connolly and
Only when the Irish working class achieves full economic and political
freedom will we say that the struggle is over.
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