Up to 50 republican activists (see photos below) descended on Bertie Ahern’s St Luke’s constituency office in Drumcondra, Dublin today to vent their anger at his announcement that a visit by the English queen to the Twenty-Six Counties is “inevitable”.
The protest, organised by éirígí, sent a clear message to Ahern that his recent comments on RTÉ radio regarding a possible visit by Elizabeth Windsor - Commander in Chief of Britain’s armed forces – were unacceptable.
Expressing a clear willingness to countenance an official visit to the state by Windsor, regardless of the continuing military occupation of the Six Counties, Ahern has given the British establishment another opportunity to propagate the notion that relations between Ireland and Britain are on a normal footing.
As usual, the peaceful protest received the unwelcome attention of several Special Branch officers and a number of uniformed Gardaí. Although Ahern’s constituency clinic had finished for the day, the Fianna Fáil TD declined to leave the building to face his critics.
Outlining éirígí’s future intentions in relation to the issue, éirígí’s Daithí Mac an Mháistír said:
“éirígí organised today’s protest to demonstrate our disgust at Mr Ahern’s clear intention of affording an official state welcome to the queen of England.
“The visit alone is an affront to the ideals of Irish republicanism and particularly to the Irish citizens of the north east, who remain under British military occupation. The process by which this visit has, in principle, been agreed is part of the attempts to normalise British rule in Ireland, for Bertie Ahern to give it legitimacy illustrates the true worth of his much vaunted republicanism.”
Daithí continued: “On behalf of éirígí I’d like to thank all those activists who made the effort to attend today and would ask that all republicans, socialists and democrats in the country keep a close eye on developments in the near future.,
“In the time ahead éirígí will be working extremely hard to encourage large numbers of people to become engaged in a campaign that will let the Twenty-Six County establishment know that we are not content with attempts to portray Irish-British relations as normal and equal, nor with an invite for a representative of much of what is wrong in Ireland to flaunt it in our faces.
“This is only the beginning of éirígí’s actions on this issue and we will continue to build momentum to challenge the British occupation and attempts to normalise it, be it in Belfast, Dublin, Derry or Cork.
“We are adamant, to paraphrase James Connolly, that the British government had no right, has no right and never can have any right in Ireland and, furthermore, we are adamant that such a visit should not occur and will challenge anyone complicit in its facilitation.”
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“If you strike at, imprison, or kill us, out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you, and perhaps, raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!”
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