Sinn Féin Louth TD and former Party President Gerry Adams has addressed the annual republican commemoration at the republican Memorial Garden at Tí Chulainn, Mullaghban, on Sunday 1st July.
The commemoration is for those republicans killed during the conflict. A stone was unveiled in honour of Martin McGuinness who officially opened the Memorial Garden in 2010.
On the stone are engraved the words of local 18th century poet Art MacCumhaigh, one of the last of the Ulster poets in the Irish language tradition. They are taken from his poem Úrchill an Chreagáin.
“A fhialfhir charthannaigh, Ná caitear thusa I néaltaí bróin. Ach éirigh Go tapaidh Is aistrigh liom siar sa ród”. It is an anthem for south east Ulster and was a lamentation for the fall of the O’Neill’s of the Fews. “My kind young man do not sleep in sorrow. But rise swiftly and come along the road with me.”
Commenting on the current crisis in the institutions, Brexit and Sinn Féin’s goal of a referendum on Irish unity Gerry Adams said:
“The DUP have tied themselves to the English Tories; they embrace Brexit. They continue to deny citizen’s rights enjoyed elsewhere on these islands. But that will all be sorted. Of that there is no doubt.
“We can say with certainty that the DUP position is not sustainable. It is for them to come to terms with that.
“Everyone here knows that the Taoiseach’s position on the North, the border and rights is a direct consequence of the strength of Sinn Féin. So we will persist and we will prevail.
“We also reject Mr. Varadkar’s suggestion that a referendum on Irish unity is not desirable at this time. He has a duty to uphold the Good Friday Agreement. He cannot cherry-pick it. So we will continue to look for a referendum and we will do our utmost to win that convincingly.
“This is not a task for Sinn Féin alone. All political parties and others who support the Good Friday Agreement and an end to partition should also campaign for this modest step forward.
“How a shared Ireland, an agreed Ireland is created is another matter deserving of careful, generous and positive inclusivity. To begin with we need to understand that many unionists hold to their sense of identity as strongly as we do. So new thinking is needed by us all.
“We are a diverse people. That should be proudly proclaimed and not used to divide us. Ireland is an island – a society – in transition. The future is bright despite the dire threats of Brexit.”