Statement from Roe 4 Republican Prisoners – Easter Message
Irish Republican Prisoners, Roe 4, Maghaberry gaol, send fraternal greetings to our comrades, families and supporters during this period of remembrance, reflection and re-dedication. We commend our imprisoned comrades in Portlaoise and Hydebank gaols for their continued resolve and discipline. We would also take this opportunity to thank all supporters of all imprisoned Irish political prisoners. A special thanks is necessary to IRPWA activists for their dedicated work and unwavering support for ourselves and our families.
Over recent months retrograde regime change heralded the beginning of a renewed offensive against implementing the August 2010 Agreement. While the puppet parliament at Stormont feigns crisis in order to rob the poor of what little they have, the Maghaberry administration are provided with an unlimited budget to fuel a needless conflict that it cannot win. Implementing the Agreement costs nothing and ends conflict. In place of resolving the core issues of conflict the administration has committed itself to entrenching them further. Constructing steel cages and increasing already excessive restrictions on movement have secured nothing but increased resistance.
British intelligence has intensified its isolation policy. Upwards of 10 Republican Political Prisoners are now suffering as a consequence, including Gavin Coyle for the last 4 years. We commit ourselves to intensified efforts so as no Republican Prisoner will be left unaided or unsupported while enduring British torture in a British gaol.
During the recent violent and prolonged attack on our wing we were prevented from receiving medical treatment or legal representation as the administration sought to silence us. The media sought to placate an MI5/DUP/POA axis, thus denial followed falsehood for a week. Constitutional Nationalists broke their silence only in support of British lies. These events illustrated the pivotal role being played by our representatives; the IRPWA, without whom we are voiceless. We were also shown the importance of promoting our magazine Scairt Amach as the authentic voice of Republican Political Prisoner struggle, and ensuring its circulation reaches as far and wide as possible. We convey our sincere gratitude to all who assist in compiling, publishing and distributing Scairt Amach on our behalf.
As Irish political prisoners it is our view that a legitimate, credible voice is essential to advance the Republican cause. Although we have made some headway in this regard we have not the luxury of resting on our laurels. As political prisoners we are defined by our political status. It cannot be revoked by the enemy; it can only be forfeited or surrendered by our own failures. British strategies have not and will never break Republicanism or define its ideology. We recognise our duty to supplement the efforts of our Movement. We pledge to utilise our incarceration in assisting the building of an educated and politicised activist base. We would encourage all Republicans outside to engage in a programme of political development to assist in the pursuit of advancing Republican aims and objectives.
As we prepare to mark the centenary year of Éirí Amach na Casca, we are ever mindful that, for the advancement of Revolutionary Republicanism, the significance of this event cannot be understated. Our commitment to the establishment of an Irish Republic that will cherish its children equally and guarantee civil and religious liberties remains steadfast. The usurpation of the Irish Peoples right, to the ownership of Ireland, could not extinguish that right in 1916 and it cannot extinguish it today. We know that rhetoric will not secure our aims; hence, what we face in the coming year is a challenge to organise.
The foundations of Easter 1916 were laid in part by the thankless drudgery of British gaols, the isolation of believing in liberty, rejecting pledges of devolution and being shunned by a majority for doing so. One year prior to proclaiming Poblacht na h-Éireann, Padraig Mac Piarais delivered his oration at the funeral of Jerimiah O’Donovan Rossa. On behalf of his ‘dear comrades suffering in English prisons’ he pledged love of Ireland and hate of English rule. Addressing the Republican faithful he said:
“The defenders of this realm have worked well in secret and in the open. They think they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. The think they have foreseen everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! – they have left us our Fenian dead and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace”.
Within one year, the thankless drudgery of British gaols, the sparse gatherings of the marginalised and the unrelenting efforts of the faithful few would be transformed into Revolution, which culminated in Easter week. Today comrades, they think they have foreseen everything… Let us ensure they have not.