Republicans throughout Louth turned out in large numbers to remember the Easter Rising and also pay tribute to all of those who, in every decade since 1916, stood by Ireland and stood by the ideals of those who died in 1916.
In Dundalk Imelda Munster TD was the main speaker and reflected on how it was 100 years since women over 30 and working class men over the age of 21 got the vote. She said “this, the reaction to the executions of our leaders in 1916 combined with Sinn Féin successfully leading a campaign against conscription in Ireland in 1918 and a number of other political factors, seen the vast majority of citizens turn their backs on Britain and vote for Irish Republicans.”
It also seen the election of the first woman to Westminster, Countess Markievicz.
Imelda, being the first woman elected to the Dáil in Louth then said, “we still don’t go to Westminster and the 7 nationalist seats are now 7 Republican seats. The orange state is gone. The Unionist majority in the North has gone. Citizens are turning away from the forces of old conservative Ireland. We are no longer just orange and green – we are a rainbow of colours and identities. We are building a new Ireland that includes everyone and are striving to leave no-one behind.”
Imelda Munster TD went on to talk about realising the goals of the leaders of 1916 and how we go about achieving this. “This new Ireland must be about more than just adding or joining the north to the south. We do not want a 32 county free state. We want a new Republic. The Republic of Wolfe Tone, James Connolly, Constance Markievicz, Mairead Farrell, Bobby Sands and Martin McGuinness.
“In the words of Maire Drumm, “We must take no steps backward, our steps must be onward, for if we don’t, the martyrs that died for you, for me, for this country will haunt us forever.””
The TD then outlined what kind of Ireland we wanted, one of equality for all and a rights based society where no-one is left behind. “Delivering Irish Unity is the key to building a new Ireland. That is where it starts.”
Imelda Munster then talked about Brexit and the challenges ahead. “groups that are seeking to impose Brexit and place an EU frontier or a ‘hard border’ across our island, they want to drag us back into the dark days again when we couldn’t even drive up the road here to Newry without having to be interrogated by men in foreign uniforms as to where we were going and why?
“These people do not care for you, me, our citizens, our rights or our economy. They are now attacking the Good Friday Agreement. An Agreement that belongs to the people of Ireland, not the Tories in London.”
Speaking to the large crowd Munster warned of the work ahead:
“We face many challenges in the very near future:
- A referendum to remove article 8 from the constitution.
- We need to prepare and win the coming elections.
- We need to settle Brexit with preferably a United Ireland by moving the border to the Irish Sea or at the very least, to secure special status for the North within the EU
- We need to secure and win a referendum on Irish unity.
- We need to have the institutions re-established in the North, with Michelle O’Neill as joint first minister. We need to secure the right of citizens to marriage equality, to language rights.
- We need to promote the cause of reconciliation.
“The Challenges are great but we are greater. We must mobilise people and organise for change.”
Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú who was chairing the event in Dundalk called on Leo Varadkar and the Dublin Government to move to recognise the State of Palestine and to immediately expel the Israeli Ambassador from Ireland following the massacre of 16 people in Gaza by the Israeli military.
The organisers of the events in Louth wish to thank those who helped ensure that each parade and wreath laying ceremony was a dignified and fitting tribute to the memory of our patriot dead. They want to thank the speakers Imelda Munster TD and Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú, the colour parties, the Martin Doco Band from Scotland, the stewards, those who erected the flags and PA systems and to the many hundreds who attended the parades. Míle buíochas.