éirígí activists today (Tuesday) breached tight security at Dublin’s historic Mansion House to deliver a message directly to the Twenty-Six County political establishment.
As hundreds of elected representatives and other dignitaries gathered inside the building, two activists succeeded in unfurling a giant banner from the roof.
As the out-manoeuvred Gardaí scrambled into action, the banner’s message hung from the roof of the Mansion House for all to see – “90 YEARS ON – NO CLOSER TO FREEDOM – END THE OCCUPATION!”
Today’s Dublin Government ceremony to mark the anniversary of the First Dáil was yet another attempt to revise Irish history and portray the Twenty-Six County state as the complete, fully independent and democratic Ireland.
This attempt to normalise partition and the ongoing British occupation could not have been allowed to proceed without challenge.
Despite a heavy Garda presence, the éirígí activists dressed in high-visibility jackets, succeeded in breaching the ‘ring of steel’ to unfurl the banner in front of the assembled media and elected representatives.
As soon as the banner was put in position, to the claps and cheers of activists on the ground, it was clear that the Gardaí were deeply embarrassed by the audacity and success of the éirígí action. Within minutes, the two activists who unfurled the banner, Ciarán Fitzpatrick from County Meath and Darragh Burton from Dún Laoghaire, were arrested and taken to Pearse Street Barracks, before being charged with trespass and appearing at an afternoon court session in the Bridewell.
Speaking afterwards, éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson said: “The political class in the Twenty-Six Counties were today reminded that this country, far from being free, remains occupied by the same British forces that occupied it at the time of the First Dáil. Ninety years on from that historic gathering, no amount of weasel-words can deny the fact that Britain’s war machine is still, less than one hundred kilometres from the Mansion House, very much entrenched on Irish soil.
“The elected representatives of the First Dáil gathered in this building in defiance of the British occupation forces, and re-affirmed the right of the Irish people to full national, economic and social sovereignty. They gathered as the collective and representative voice of the Irish nation, to demand a British government withdrawal from Ireland and to propose radical social and economic reform. These demands were encapsulated in the Democratic Programme and Declaration of Independence, both of which were adopted at the first sitting of the First Dáil.
Brian continued: “Politicians may well congratulate themselves on what they consider their achievements to date, and solemnly pledge to fulfil the aims of the First Dáil – but hiding behind a commemorative fig-leaf will not achieve the goals of the First Dáil. For a start, the Dublin government must call on the British government to withdraw from the Six Counties and allow the people of Ireland to decide our own collective future.
“Neither the national nor the social elements of the Democratic Programme have been achieved, despite the plaudits which were no doubt flowing inside the Mansion House today. For our part, éirígí is committed not just to commemorating the First Dáil, but to realising the core demands of that body – the complete ending of the British occupation and a transformation of the social and economic order in this country.”
Brian finished by commenting on the arrest of two éirígí activists.
“The two activists who unfurled our banner today have more in common, in spirit and in action, with the First Dáil than any one of the pretenders who were inside the Mansion House this morning.
“The charging of these two young men with the criminal charge of trespass is laughable. It is clear that the Gardaí are smarting with embarrassment following the éirígí action. It is highly ironic, given the anniversary in question, that those who dare to highlight the reality of the ongoing British occupation are arrested and charged, while those who support the occupation are lauded and praised.”
Today’s action was the first in a series of events that éirígí will be organising throughout 2009 to mark the 90th anniversary of the First Dáil and the start of the Tan War.
|Donate to éirígí|
“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!”
Copyright © éirígí, All rights reserved