Last night we organised a short parade around the streets of the Liverpool Irish heartland, to remember Martin McGuinness in our own way. The following is a Statement read out on behalf of the Band & Cairde na hEireann Liverpool:
‘ Martin McGuinness was born in 1950, in an Ireland forcibly partitioned by British Imperialism. Martin lived his life in the Bogside Estate, Derry, and grew up under the brutal sectarian Apartheid Orange State. This was a State where the Irish nationalist population were denied even basic rights to a vote, jobs and housing. Martin was active from his earliest youth, in the struggle for civil rights, which was brutally suppressed by Unionist police forces, paramilitaries and then directly by the British State. When armed struggle became the only means to defend the people and advance their rights, Martin lead from the front. When the huge sacrifices of IRA Volunteers, Republican activists and their families created the space for the Irish freedom struggle to be advanced by solely peaceful political means, Martin again led from the front.
In building a peace process based on equality and respect, Martin took great risks and developed many initiatives around outreach, reconciliation and shared understanding with the Unionist community in the north of Ireland, and in the rejection of bigotry and hate. Martin and his comrades built Sinn Fein as a progressive inclusive political party, which not only broke down the sectarian structures of the old Orange Statelet, but also prioritised the advancement of justice and equality issues for all communities. Martin never lost sight of the ultimate goal of a United Ireland, and his lifetime’s work hugely contributed to bringing us so much closer to that final outcome. Sinn Fein is on the rise across Ireland, and at the last Assembly Elections, it ended the Unionist overall majority at Stormont. The writing is on the wall, Irish Unity is coming.
Martin lived and died as a proud Irish Republican. His last social media comment, on 1st March, just before the Assembly Elections, stated:
‘’This election is about equality and respect for all our people, and integrity in the institutions. Vote Sinn Fein for the politics of hope not fear’’
The best way we can honour Martin’s legacy is to ourselves get involved in the political struggle for Irish freedom and Unity. The only fitting tribute to Martin is to build a United Ireland based on peace, equality and justice, an Irish Republic that in the words of the 1916 Easter Proclamation, ‘’Cherishes all the children of the nation equally.’’ ‘