Bus route X7 to go

Meeting to discuss the cancellation of Expressway bus service between Clonmel and Dublin.
(Feel free to use photos)

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Cyber-safety is a major child protection issue of our time- Kathleen Funchion TD

Speaking today after a briefing from the ISPCC on cybersecurity for children, Sinn Féin’s TD for Carlow Kilkenny said that cyber-safety is a major child protection issue of our time.

She said:

“The dangers presented via the internet to children today have advanced significantly through the use of smartphones and what that brings; easier access to predatory behaviour, cyber bullying and inappropriate content for younger children. We also know that technology advances at incredible speed leaving many adults and parents naive or ignorant to what is accessible to their children online.

“The ISPCC are calling on government and policy makers to take heed and direct some much needed attention to this child protection issue. Current legislative and policy provisions need to be modernised.

“I fully support their call for the immediate development of a National Strategy on Children’s Cyber Safety and for this to be made a priority by government. This should include key education measures regarding online behaviour such as: 1. Reform of the legal framework regarding children’s cyber safety and 2. The establishment of an Office of the Digital Safety Commissioner and a regulatory policy framework.

“The ISPCC’s recent research carried out in 2016 showed that perpetrators often groom many young people simultaneously and within a relatively short space of time, with An Garda Síochána reporting that children are being groomed in 3-4 interactions.

“This is terrifying  information but valuable evidence that the risks to children online is escalating at a rapid pace and it further substantiates the need for government to tackle this growing issue immediately.”

The criminals weren’t in prison. They were in Westminster.

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Sinn Féin members and Republicans from all over Tipperary prepare to march through the town of Clonmel.
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Cllr Malachy McCreesh speaks of how his brother Raymond died on hunger strike in 1981.

“The criminals weren’t in prison. They were in Westminster”.

So said Cllr Malachy McCreesh on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Clonmel. He was speaking at the commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes, which saw 10 men die – including his brother – through starvation in order to regain their status as political prisoners. The May sunshine stood as a stark contrast to the dark days of 1981, when British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher tried and failed to criminalise the prisoners in the H-Blocks.

The H-Blocks were so named because of their distinctive shape
The H-Blocks were so named because of their distinctive shape. They also became a by-word for British cruelty and for Irish Republican resistance.

The toll in human suffering was immense.

Apart from the men who died, there were hundreds of affected relatives, and many more dead and injured as a result of the widespread rioting which erupted in protest at the treatment of the prisoners.

One of the relatives who was affected was Malachy McCreesh, who is now a councillor in Limerick. His brother Raymond was among those who died.

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Jimmy Farrell of Clonmel Sinn Féin holds a photograph of Raymond McCreesh as Malachy McCreesh speaks.

The 1981 hunger strikes made international news as one by one the men died rather than submit to being criminalised by the British prison system. But it was the death of Bobby Sands which drew the most attention, and it is his name that is first on most persons lips when they speak of 1981.

Bobby Sands stood as candidate in a by-election for Westminster while he was on hunger strike. The nationalist community rallied to the cause and he was elected. He died less than a month later, after 66 days without food, aged only 27.

The treatment of Sands was international news of the most embarrassing kind for the British, and drew enormous media attention, as Thatcher allowed an elected Member of her Parliament to die. It is for this reason that Sands’ name is the first remembered, as the first of 10 to make such a painful sacrifice.

But Sands was not the only H-Block martyr. Among those that followed was young Raymond McCreesh, who was just 24 when he died. His brother Malachy spoke in Clonmel on Saturday afternoon.

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Coming through the West Gate from Irishtown.

Saturday’s commemoration was organised by the Clonmel cumann of Sinn Féin. It progressed from Convent Bridge to the Manchester Martyrs monument on the Clonmel Quays. People in Clonmel have rarely seen Republicans march through their town in such a fashion, and many will never have heard a Republican marching band.

Speaking after the laying of wreaths at the monument, Cllr McCreesh said “The international media were able to see that the criminals weren’t in the H-Blocks, and they weren’t in Armagh prison. They were in Westminster, and in all the other political establishments that allowed this situation”.

“At the funeral of Bobby Sands, everywhere we passed an RUC man, they turned their back. There was no respect whatsoever for the Republican community. There never was. We’re still struggling.”

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Joan McDermott, Paddy O’Donoghue, Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Carey, marching on Emmet Street.

“At the funeral of Francis Hughes the RUC would have hijacked the hearse, but the driver wouldn’t let them in, and his brother put the keys of the hearse in his mouth.”

“There are problems in Maghaberry prison even now.  I hope that all sides will work together to make sure there is never a need for another hunger strike.”

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Kevin Brunnick, Cahir; Liam Walsh, Carrick-on-Suir; Seán Harty, Thurles.

Secretary of Clonmel Sinn Féin Paddy O’Donoghue said “we’re immensely pleased with the turn out today. That so many of our comrades came to commemorate these brave men in our town is very gratifying. We had TDs and councillors and many long-serving activists attend and take part in the march, which was led by the Carrick-on-Suir Republican Flute Band. To hear their proud and echoing drumbeat going through Irishtown was a memorable experience”.

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Cllr Seán Tyrell and Kathleen Funchion TD.

Keynote speaker was Sinn Féin Vice-President Mary Lou MacDonald, who said “the human courage of the hunger strikers was immense and the courage of their families is beyond description. They endured sectarianism, harassment, discrimination, house raids, internment, and collusion between the establishment and unionist paramilitaries.”

“Some things don’t change. 35 years on and some in the media carry on where Thatcher failed. They still try to criminalise our struggle. But it is not they who can inflict the most, but they who can endure the most who will conquer.”

“Bobby Sands said he took the advice of a sound man, who said that everyone – Republican or otherwise – has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small. No one is too old or too young, to do something.”

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Cathaoirleach of Clonmel Sinn Féin, Morris Cagney, lays a wreath at the Manchester Martyrs monument.

“Our job now is for each to play their part to finish the job that Bobby and his comrades died for.”

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The 1981 hunger strikers took part in the ‘blanket protest’ against their mistreatment, represented here by Danny Carroll of Cahir. Noel Skehan of Carrick-on-Suir carries a black flag that dominated the northern street-scape at the time.

“Sinn Féin is the undisputed voice of Republicanism in the North. In the South we are the only credible Republican voice fighting the cronyism, corruption, and the mé féinism of a failed political establishment. An establishment that has failed you, failed Ireland, and failed the Republic. All of us have our part to play. Republicanism is now stronger than ever, and Republicanism is more organised. We still strive to achieve the ideal of the 1916 Proclamation.”

“100 years on, and 35 years on, one thing is clear: you can kill the revolutionary, but you cannot kill the revolution.”

“You cannot kill a dream.”

“We continue that fight, to the bitter end. To Irish unity, and to Irish freedom.”


The table below lists the hunger strikers who died; clicking on the name will bring you to the Wikipedia page for each martyr.

There is a full photo gallery below that.

Name Paramilitary affiliation Strike started Date of death Length of strike
Bobby Sands IRA 1 March 5 May 66 days
Francis Hughes IRA 15 March 12 May 59 days
Raymond McCreesh IRA 22 March 21 May 61 days
Patsy O’Hara INLA 22 March 21 May 61 days
Joe McDonnell IRA 8 May 8 July 61 days
Martin Hurson IRA 28 May 13 July 46 days
Kevin Lynch INLA 23 May 1 August 71 days
Kieran Doherty IRA 22 May 2 August 73 days
Thomas McElwee IRA 8 June 8 August 62 days
Michael Devine INLA 22 June 20 August 60 days

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Real Republicans know there’s an Easter every year (Easter Sunday, Carrick-on-Suir)

2016-03-29

(photographs below)

Tipperary Sinn Féin’s annual Easter commemorations have again been held to remember those who have gone before us in the on-going struggle to establish a Republic.

PRO Fachtna Roe said: “With traditional Republican parades and commemorations in all parts of the country being over-shadowed by the one-off interest of the Irish State, it’s a little humbling to see a new generation of Tipperary Republicans stepping up and continuing the traditions in the county.”

Sinn Féin Seanad candidate Cllr Máire Devine delivering the oration at the commemoration in Golden, Co. Tipperary.
Sinn Féin Seanad candidate Cllr Máire Devine delivering the oration at the commemoration in Golden, Co. Tipperary.

The Tipperary Republican community is fortunate to have a resource as impressive as the young people in the Carrick-on-Suir Republican Flute Band, who lead each commemoration march. They provide the music and create a rhythmically throbbing atmosphere for each event.”

On Sunday the band marched through their home-town and didn’t miss a step or a beat even when the weather turned cold and stinging hailstones were flung from the sky. On Monday they basked in the Spring sun and filled the town of Golden with a stirring marching beat. On both occasions, parents and supporters alike were filled with pride, hope, and optimism.”

Cllr Martin Browne added, “We commemorated Tipperary’s signatory to the Proclamation, Tomás MacDonagh in Golden. We had the honour of having Sinn Féin Seanad candidate Cllr Máire Devine as the main speaker, who reminded us that the Irish State does not yet live up to the ideals of our Republican predecessors from 1916. Our numbers continue to grow, as more citizens realise that the job is not yet done. By reference to the past, these commemorations remind us of the challenges ahead.”

I hope that because of the renewed interest in the events of 100 years ago, that more citizens will realise that they have been duped, and that they don’t actually live in a Republic at all. They live in something which is described as a Republic. Over the next few years I hope the public at large will show enough interest to join us at these events, to learn a little of the truth of our history, and to understand why Republicanism has such an abiding and unshakeable support amongst Republican families, including my own.”

Cllr David Doran added, “We presented Máire with a camogie stick made here in Tipperary, a symbol of our common heritage that unites us across the island. It is part of our heritage also to strive for an equal and free island, a real Republic of the Irish that doesn’t just pay lip-service to the ideals of 1916.”

We also had volunteers here who read the roll of honour of fallen Republicans. There have been so many over the last 100 years who have given great service – and also had to give their lives – in the pursuit of an ideal.”

Even the British who executed the 1916 leaders respectfully acknowledged that these men went to their death with great honour and dignity. That alone showed them not to be ordinary people, but ordinary people who stepped up to become warriors. The 26-county state has a long way to go before it can claim the ideal those people lived and died for has been achieved. A parade every 50 years does not do justice to their courage.”

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Newly elected Sinn Féin TD for Carlow/Kilkenny shortly before delivering the oration in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.

Cllr David Dunne added, “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, for Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter alike is part of our dream for all. We had the honour of having Kathleen Funchion TD with us in Carrick on Sunday, who reminded us that no one can look at our island or at the Irish State today and claim all has been achieved. It hasn’t.”

We gathered today to honour those who went before us and that we did in style. The young people in the band, the young people who gathered to watch, and the young people who performed interpretative dance on the bridge in Golden, are all part of our future. We best honour our past by working towards that better future together.”

The Easter Sunday experience, honouring volunteers such as Butler, Torpey, and O’Hanlon who are buried in Carrick, was a great one for the young people in the band. Going through adversity together – and that weather was pretty adverse – as a team is great for team- and character-building. Experiences together are what makes a team, and it’s only as a team that Tipperary Republicans can do their bit to bring about a fair society for all.”

PRO Fachtna Roe said, “The next major commemoration in Tipperary will be in Clonmel in May, to acknowledge the painful sacrifice 35 years ago of Republican hunger strikers in a very, very difficult time in Ireland’s history. The Carrick-on-Suir band will again lead the commemorative march, being organised by Clonmel Sinn Féin. While we hope that the weather is good, it’s been shown that that doesn’t really matter to Republicans. When others have given their lives, it’s the least we can do.”

In particular, I hope every citizen remembers that the volunteers being commemorated died by one of the slowest means possible. They did this in furtherance of their ideal society, a Republic, and to see their land freed from outside domination. Even today, in 2016 some of the more offensive commentators in the media speak of the sacrifice of Republicans as being unnecessary. What those people don’t do, is stop to think whether there is anything they would die for in such a manner. I doubt that very, very much.”

But if there is, it behoves them based on that parallel to then recognise the strength of the love and desire that Republicans have for the ideal of a free, just and equitable society.”

Every citizen has a duty to stop and consider that. While RTE broadcasts it’s propaganda, and the ‘Independent’ newspapers never miss an opportunity to spout hatred of Republicans and Republicanism, they fail to acknowledge that even they can only do their daily business as a result of the sacrifice of others. There is an inherent hypocrisy in their reportage, even as they claim the 26 counties are a Republic, which legally they are are not.”

I advise anyone who is irate when hearing those conservative types speak to phone, write, and by any means ask: “What would you die slowly for?” Courage and commitment takes many forms, and we should be slow to criticise that of others unless we can do the same.”

TD Kathleen Funchion said, “Easter is an important time for Republicans, and that’s every Easter. The mainstream media seem to have only realised lately that a rising took place at all. The establishment supported the execution of the signatories in 1916, believing that this would quench the ideal before it could be born.”

They were wrong, because you cannot kill an ideal. And you cannot defeat a people bound by principle and acting in solidarity. 100 years on, the Republic has not been achieved. With huge inequality in our country, this next generation of Republicans will work hard to achieve the ideals of 1916.”

Cllr Máire Devine said, “The ideals of the proclamation, guaranteeing religious and civil liberty, championing equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens irrespective of creed, colour or gender, and cherishing all the children of the nation equally, enshrine Sinn Féin’s core values. In this centenary year, I wish I could say that all these ideals have been achieved – that Ireland is now a better place. I wish I could tell you, that we now have the Republic dreamed of by MacDonagh, Pearse, Markievicz. I cannot, nor can anyone, state that.”

But Republicans can rightfully state that they haven’t, nor will they ever, stop working for that Republic to be made real.”

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Tipperary Sinn Féin commemorate in style – again

2016-03-29

(photographs below)

Tipperary Sinn Féin’s annual Easter commemorations have again been held to remember those who have gone before us in the on-going struggle to establish a Republic.

PRO Fachtna Roe said: “With traditional Republican parades and commemorations in all parts of the country being over-shadowed by the one-off interest of the Irish State, it’s a little humbling to see a new generation of Tipperary Republicans stepping up and continuing the traditions in the county.”

Tipperary is fortunate to have a resource as impressive as the young people in the Carrick-on-Suir Republican Flute Band, who led each commemoration march. They provide the music and create a rhythmically sparkling atmosphere for each event.”

On Sunday the band marched through their home-town and didn’t miss a step or a beat even when the weather turned cold and stinging hailstones were flung from the sky. On Monday they basked in the Spring sun and filled the town of Golden with a stirring marching beat. On both occasions, parents and supporters alike were filled with pride, hope, and optimism.”

Cllr Martin Browne added, “We commemorated Tipperary’s signatory to the Proclamation, Tomás MacDonagh in Golden. We had the honour of having Sinn Féin Seanad candidate Cllr Máire Devine as the main speaker, who reminded us that the Irish State does not yet live up to the ideals of our Republican predecessors from 1916. Our numbers continue to grow, as more citizens realise that the job is not yet done. By reference to the past, these commemorations remind us of the challenges ahead.”

Cllr David Doran added, “We presented Máire with a camogie stick made here in Tipperary, a symbol of our common heritage that unites us across the island. It is part of our heritage also to strive for an equal and free island, a real Republic of the Irish that doesn’t just pay lip-service to the ideals of 1916.”

Cllr David Dunne added, “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, for Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter alike is part of our dream for all. We had the honour of having Kathleen Funchion TD with us in Carrick, who reminded us that no one can look at our island or at the Irish State today and claim all has been achieved. It hasn’t.”

We gathered today to honour those who went before us, and that we did in style. The young people in the band, the young people who gathered to watch, and the young people who performed interpretative dance on the bridge in Golden, are all part of our future. We best honour our past by working towards that better future together.”

Cllr Máire Devine said, “The ideals of the proclamation, guaranteeing religious and civil liberty, championing equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens irrespective of creed, colour or gender, and cherishing all the children of the nation equally, are Sinn Féin’s core values. In this centenary year, I wish I could say that all these ideals have been achieved – that Ireland is now a better place. I wish I could tell you, that we now have the Republic dreamed of by MacDonagh, Pearse, Markievicz. I cannot, nor can anyone, state that.”

But Republicans can rightfully state that they haven’t, nor will they ever, stop working for that Republic to be made real.”

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Upcoming Commemorations

Community Announcement: Easter Sunday Commemoration

You are cordially invited to the Easter Sunday commemoration in Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary, on March 27th.

This will consist of a march from the Town Hall car park to the Republican plot in St Mary’s Cemetery.

The main speaker on the day will be Kathleen Funchion, recently elected Sinn Féin TD for Carlow/Kilkenny. The Chair will be former Mayor of Carrick-on-Suir, Liam Walsh.

Music will be provided by the excellent Carrick-on-Suir Republican Flute Band.

All are very welcome, most especially those who choose to wear 1916 period costume.

Commemoration assembles 14:30, starts at 15:00.


Community Announcement: Easter Monday Commemoration

You are cordially invited to the Easter Monday commemoration in Golden, Co. Tipperary, on March 28th, to commemorate signatory to the 1916 Proclamation Tomás MacDonagh (of Cloughjordan).

Parade will assemble at the GAA grounds and march to the castle and commemorative monument at the bridge in Golden.

The main speaker on the day will be Cllr Máire Devine, Seanad candidate for Sinn Féin. The Chair will be Cllr David Doran of Thurles.

Music will be provided by the excellent Carrick-on-Suir Republican Flute Band.

All are very welcome.

Commemoration assembles 11:30, starts at 12:00.

ENDS

Below are some images of Carrick-on-Suir RFB in action on Patrick’s Day, 2016.


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