Liam Walsh Commemoration: 2016
Oration by Eddie Collins
A lot of time has passed since the first time people gathered here. That was a time when we lost comrades who were to the fore in the formation of Saor Eire. Liam Walsh, Mairin Keegan, who was not only a member of Saor Eire, but the Ireland organiser of the 4th. International, and Peter Graham, to mention only three.
The first time I came across Saor Eire as a group was in Derry in 1969. At that time I remember thinking it bizarre that such a loosely structured group could give so much support and aid to us in the North as they did. A small and even disparate band of activists in the different political views they held. Those differing views didn’t stand in their way though. They saw the need for action in the struggle we were going through and we were and are grateful for their input.
A lot has happened in the 45 years since Liam gave his life for us. Not all of which has been to the benefit of the people of Ireland.
The same flags fly over us. The same self-serving gombeen men and their spawn are still ruling over us.
So-called Republicans are now sitting at the top table of Irish political misrule and, even worse, administering British rule in the North. The sight of an Irish Republican tipping the cap to a British Monarch is sickening.
Narrow minded Nationalists who walked away from the Republican Movement in 1969 because the Socialist agenda was too far to the left for them now call themselves Socialists.
Young volunteers are lying in graves all over this country having died in a struggle which has not yet come to any amount of fruition and we have lost the ability to protest against any of it in the fear of rocking the boat that has been launched in the name of the aspiration of a United Ireland.
Comrades, we have got a duty to use every weapon at our disposal to further the aim of a United Ireland. That fight must still go on. If the only weapons we have got left to us are our intellect and our voice then we have to use them at every opportunity. Because we owe at least that much to the young men and women who fought and died for us.
If we don’t carry on protesting then we have no right to commemorate Liam or Mairin Keegan or the hundreds of others, because not to carry on with the struggle is to dishonour them.
They deserve better and we should feel both proud and honoured to have known them.
We should also remember at this time that sadly we have recently lost another of our comrades. Charlie O’Neill who was to the fore in Derry in 1969 and afterwards. I was with Charlie in Liverpool on the day Liam was killed and I saw a man who looked like something in him died too on that day.
They were and are brave men. Men like Martin Casey, Simon O’Donnell, Liam Sutcliffe, Frank Keane, Sean Doyle and many others. We might at time agree or disagree but we know that we will always be able to depend on their support when it’s required.
When the next 45 years passes, none of us will be here to stand at this grave. But hopefully others will remember Liam Walsh and Mairin Keegan who is lying only a few yards away and carry on the struggle in their honour. We owe them that.
Comrades, Thanks for your attendance, thanks for your attention and remember that the job is not done yet.