24th Anniversary of INLA Volunteer, Patsy O’Hara was marked today at the
Irish Republican Socialist Plot in Derry’s City Cemetery.
A young IRSP member from Derry, John Nixon, delivered the following text :
Friends and Comrades,
It is a privilege and an honour to be asked to speak here today on behalf
of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement at this, the 24th anniversary
commemoration of the death of INLA Volunteer and hunger strike martyr
I wasn’t even born 24 years ago when Patsy and his nine comrades embarked
upon a fast to the death in their unified and dignified protest against
the failed British attempt to criminalize the Republican struggle. Their
strength was their youth, their determination, their unity and of course
the fact that they were fighting for what was right. That is why they
prevailed in the end but as we know that struggle cost us dearly. Our ten
comrades died within Long Kesh and during the same period others fell in
action on the outside, equally courageous and equally determined to rid
our nation of the imperialist aggressor. 1981 is a year that republicans
in Ireland will never forget because we lost the best people that the
struggle had produced. When I ask comrades of Patsy to describe him I hear
stories of courage and of generousity. I hear of a soldier of the working
class who never shirked his responsibilities to his community. I hear of a
political activist who served on the national leadership of the IRSP
whilst on the run. A true hero of Ireland’s working class.
At just twenty three years old Patsy had his full life in front of him.
He, in his short life, had seen so much that moulded him into the person
that he became. He had experienced the oppression and when just a teenager
had taken part in the uprising along with the people of this city against
the unjust British occupation of Ireland.
The young people of Derry and even of Ireland have a lot to learn from the
example of Patsy O’Hara. In today’s society of greed where joyriding, drug
abuse and anti-community behaviour is becoming rampant people should look
towards the likes of Patsy for inspiration.
This is a society in which working class areas are being flooded with
dangerous drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine and heroin. Joyriding and
burglaries are increasing and the PSNI sit back and allow these people to
operate openly without sanction, not that we ever expected anything
different from them. Is it any wonder, with the backing of the PSNI, that
some of our young people are turning their backs on their communities ? We
see by the current situation around the Creggan estate what damage these
drugs and their dealers can do to the cohesion of communities. Only by
embracing the revolutionary ideals of Patsy O’Hara can working class youth
realise their collective potential. We say to the young people of this
city ; Follow Patsy’s example and fight for your people. Join the Irish
Republican Socialist Movement and play a positive role within your
communities. Be part of the Irish Revolution !
Patsy O’Hara by his ideas and his actions is the ultimate role model for
the youth of Ireland today. Patsy was not deflected from the revolutionary
path by the hollow heroes of the day. When I read about Patsy O’Hara I am
reading about a person who was a militant, he was politicised and he was
dedicated to the struggle to remove the British occupation forces from
Ireland. He was a revolutionary who did not tire of standing up for what
is right. Patsy was the Irish equivalent to Che Guevara. A young man who
spent his life fighting for freedom and justice.
I could not speak today by not bringing to your attention a struggle of
immense importance that is currently taking place at the Eastern borders
of Europe. Just last week in Turkey a twelfth wave of death fasters has
taken the place of those who have died before them in their struggle
against the same type of vindictive and oppressive regime that our
comrades in 1981 had to face down. We send our solidarity to our brothers
and sisters in Turkey who are embroiled in the most serious of situations
and who are facing that situation heroically. We admire their resolve to
defeat the fascist regime in Turkey as any victory for the working class
abroad is a victory for us here in Ireland also. The campaign in Turkey’s
prisons and working class areas has been going on since October 2000.
Their slogan Victory or Death sums up their resolve and determination in
defeating Turkey’s vindictive regime and comrades, I urge all of you to
help bring this massacre to an end by getting involved in renewed
campaigns in support of the Turkish prisoners.
So far 118 prisoners and their relatives on the outside have died during
their continued protest. Four years ago, just before she died, one of
those martyrs, Arzu Guler sent the following message to the people of
Derry : "Our Death Fast attack against the F-types is not only for the
Turkish people, it is for all the world. We cannot separate our struggle
from the world’s. We know about the struggles of Patsy O’Hara and Michael
Devine and we support their cause. We greet you from the depths of our
Go raith maith agat.