Liam Sutcliffe Oration

by Stephen Murney

Friends and comrades, most commemorative events we attend normally begin with the speaker saying how much of an honour it is to have been asked to speak. I’m not going to break with that tradition today.

It might sound a bit cliché for me to say its an honour, but it is, and I am immensely proud to have been asked to speak here at the graveside of IRA volunteer Liam Sutcliffe.

For Republicans of my generation, freedom fighters like Liam are an inspiration. These are the people we look to for guidance. These are the people who inspire us to continue the freedom struggle until the end.

Liam joined the IRA in 1954 and was active in the Border campaign, operation harvest. He was also active with Saor Eire in the 1970s.

Famously Liam was the man who permanently changed Dublin’s skyline when he blew up Nelson’s pillar. He carried out this operation to mark the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

There are some within the republican community who show remorse, and who are apologetic for their actions during the liberation struggle. They do this simply to appease Unionism. Liam never showed remorse, regret and nor did he ever apologise for his actions. And he was right not to.

Liam Sutcliffe had the right idea on how to remove fixtures of British imperialism from Ireland.

Revolutionary Republicans today need to engage in the same type of activism Liam was involved in in the 1960s.

The Dublin Housing Action Committees, the social agitation that defines our socialist republican ideals.

In two failed states neoliberal capitalism prevails. The ownership of Ireland belongs to everyone but the people of Ireland. Banks and international finance have enslaved the Irish people with debt.

The EU and Britain have full sovereignty over our nation while indigenous sycophants impose austerity and hardships on the Irish people on their behalf.

Hard borders, soft borders and Brexit are all a distraction. It is only a nation without the border, without the British and EU usurpation of our sovereignty, where the people of the nation are in ownership of the nation and its resources and wealth creation, only then will we have true freedom.

That is the type of republic we want, that is the republic Liam fought for.

In more recent years Liam was a prominent and regular fixture on the picket lines and protests to support Irish Republican Political Prisoners held in captivity across Ireland, North and South. He fiercely stuck to his principles and solid republican beliefs until his death.

The Ireland we live in today is a far cry from the one envisaged by Liam and thousands of others who stepped up to the plate. Homelessness is rife and poverty is endemic. Sectarianism, homophobia and racism are all on the rise.

Ireland remains partitioned with British rule being enforced by thousands of British Soldiers and RUC militia. Hundreds of MI5 agents are active in Ireland and are continually targeting and approaching republicans.

Stop and searches, extradition, house and party office raids, Supergrass and show trials are the order of the day for Saoradh activists and others, along with internment North and South.

This isn’t what IRA volunteers fought and died for. They fought and gave their lives to end those things.

At Saoradh’s Unfinished Revolution Easter commemoration in Derry, I was proud to march behind Liam with several thousand other unashamed Irish Republicans. He led us that day. That’s what Liam was. He was a leader, he was a revolutionary.

After Liam’s passing a symbolic image emerged of him taking a short break at that commemoration. Leaning against a lamppost in Republican Free Derry with the letters of the IRA placed proudly above him. It’s clear where Liam’s loyalties lay right until his death.

Comrades Let’s do him proud. Let’s finish what he fought hard for—to achieve a socialist republic.