Tyrone National Graves held their annual Commemoration in Carrickmore on Easter Monday, which was chaired by Eamon Hanna. Eamon got proceedings underway by giving the following speech;
It is a great honour and privilege to be here today and to be asked to chair today’s event.
On Easter Monday, 101 years ago Irish Patriots proudly declared the Irish Republic to which all Irishmen and women owe their allegiance. These brave Irish men and Irish Women dared to take on the might of the British Empire.
Over the centuries of British rule in Ireland thousands have made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of Irish Freedom. I pay tribute to the families of these men and women for the dignity and bravery they have shown over the years. We in Tyrone National Graves are honoured to assist these families to commemorate their loved ones. It is great to see such a large crowd here today to remember Ireland’s heroes.
Looking around I see many families who have also lost loved ones as a result of the British occupation of Ireland. You are very welcome. On behalf of Irish Republicans in Tyrone and from across Ireland, I extend our continued sympathies and solidarity to you all.
We gather here as proud Irish people. We gather to remember our Patriot Dead. We gather here for the Irish Republic in defiance of British rule in Ireland.
We do so without apology or revision. Ireland’s Patriot Dead died for the Republic, for Freedom and for Independence. We reject any attempt to rewrite history to say that their sacrifice was for anything less.
“Let no man dare, when I am dead. to charge me with dishonor; let no man attaint my memory by believing that I could have engaged in any cause but that of my country’s liberty and independence, or that I could have become the pliant minion of power in the oppression or the miseries of my countrymen.” - Robert Emmet 1803, These words of Emmet’s are just as true today.
Any use of the ideals of the Irish Republic and those who died in its defence to justify various agreements and puppet administrations must be resisted for what they are – selfish ambition for power and privilege.
It is important we stand here in support of the Republic and in support of the cause for which our Dead generations gave their lives.
If we do not do this then we clear the way for those who undermine the causes of Freedom, Independence and Sovereignty. Otherwise our descendants will be told lies for eternity
The 1916 Proclamation was then read by a spokeswoman on behalf of NGA, which was followed by the ‘Tyrone Roll of Honour’. Eamon then continued his speech;
1916 Leader Roger Casement said
“Ireland, that has wronged no man, has injured no land, that has sought no dominion over others … Ireland is being treated today among the nations of the world as if she were a convicted criminal. If it be treason to fight against such an unnatural fate as this, then I am proud to be a rebel, and shall cling to my “rebellion” with the last drop of my blood.”
It is clear from our roll of honour that Tyrone has always clung to her rebellion!
Wreaths where then laid on behalf of ‘Tyrone National Graves Association’, ‘Friends and Comrades’, ‘The Hunger Strikers’, ‘The 1916 Societies’, as well as other wreaths. Then there was a minutes silence. Which was followed by a lowering of the flag and lament on the pipes.
Then Brian Cawley, Chair of Tyrone National Graves Association give his address. Afterwards Eamon continued;
Thanks to the Flagbearers, Stewards, the people of Carrickmore for hosting us here today
I want to thank the James Connolly Flute Band for once again joining us from Scotland – you are very welcome here in Carrickmore.
I thank the Martin Hurson Band for their attendance here. They have attended Tyrone National Graves events for many years and that is very much appreciated.
Many thanks and congratulations to the Tom Clarke Band from Dungannon for their attendance on what is only their second ever parade as they were only form late last year.
We must never forget that six counties of Ireland remain under British rule. That is the biggest issue facing Ireland today – the partition of our country. The issue is not about what kind of Border there is Ireland – it is not whether it should be a hard border or a soft border. We stand for no border in Ireland. We, as Republicans, must have the confidence to say this loud and clear. We stand for the right to self-determination of the Irish People.
We stand for the immediate re-unification of Ireland. For the establishment of an Independent Sovereign Republic, as Proclaimed in 1916 and for which our Volunteers gave their lives.
So leave here with confidence – renewed and energised
2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the Fenian Rising and I will leave you with words from the Fenian Proclamation
“Republicans of the entire world, our cause is your cause. Our enemy is your enemy. Let your hearts be with us … Remember the starvation and degradation brought to your firesides by the oppression of labour. Remember the past, look well to the future, and avenge yourselves by giving liberty to your children in the coming struggle for human liberty.”
I thank you all once again for your attendance here today and at the local commemorations over the last few days.
Proceedings where then drawn to a close by Karen Brannigan, singing Amhrán na bhFiann.