'REPUBLICANS MUST DELIVER A CLEAR AND COHERENT MESSAGE'
THE annual commemoration in honour of Richard Goss and Liam Gaughran took place at St Patrick's Cemetery, Dundalk, Co Louth on August 10. A large crowd assembled at the Lisdoo Arms and, led by a piper, marched behind the National Flag to the Republican Plot in the cemetery where proceedings were chaired by Frank Hanratty, Ravensdale. A decade of the Rosary was recited as Gaeilge by Dara Sloane and a wreath was laid by Stan Flynn on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin. Republicans from many counties attended the commemoration. Also in attendance was Richard Goss's sister Rosemary and her husband Tom Doran, himself a comrade of Richard Goss and Liam Gaughran. The oration was delivered by Des Dalton, Republican Sinn Féin Vice-President. He said: "The following quote is from An t-Éireannach Aontaithe/The United Irishman, October-November 1948): " 'To face death in such circumstances for a free Ireland, when through deliberate misrepresentation of facts, the movement seeking to achieve that ideal had been robbed of popular support, requires courage and fortitude of a high standard. It requires something more. It requires that those making the supreme sacrifice have a clear concise idea of the object in view, and a firm conviction of the moral truth and righteousness of the cause which they die to serve.' "The editorial then asked a rhetorical question: 'Have they died in vain? Most emphatically no.those men have helped to ensure the continuity of the struggle, have given to those who remain, to those who will follow after them, the inspiration, the courage and hope that will sustain them.' (An t-Éireannach Aontaithe/The United Irishman, October-November 1948) "The generation of the 1940s were a generation which endured hunger strike, the blanket in Portlaoise, the internment camp, the gallows and the firing squad. Their sacrifice ensured the survival of the Irish Republican ideal. "Richard Goss epitomised that generation, the poet Austin Clarke in his poem 'The Last Republicans' dedicated to the Irish Republicans of 1936-46 wrote that the generation of 1913-23 had inspired the succeeding generation; 'Because their fathers had been drilled, formed fours among the Dublin hills.'. Richard Goss's father Pat Goss was a staunch trade unionist and a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. "Richard like his father was also an active trade unionist, working in Rawson's shoe factory; he was an officer in the local branch of the National Union of Shoe and Boot Operatives. Like his father Richard Goss was determined to play his part in the historic and ongoing struggle to rid Ireland of British rule. In 1933 he joined the North Louth Battalion of the Irish Republican Army. In March of the following year he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment by the Free State Military Tribunal for refusing to account for his movements. The first of many periods of imprisonment. "Along with local Republicans such as Paddy Murphy he trained in the Cooley Mountains "Perfecting his discipline in arms". He played an active role in the IRA's campaign in England in 1939. On his return to Ireland he was interned without trial in Arbour Hill. In December 1939 he was released with all other 53 internees due to a successful Habeas Corpus action by Seámus Burke. "Going 'on the run' Richard Goss was appointed OC North Leinster-South Ulster Division of the IRA in preparation for a campaign against British forces in the Six Counties. He was finally captured at the home of the Casey family in Co Longford following a gunfight with Free State forces. Tried by the infamous 'Military Court', which was comprised of three Free State army officers who had no legal training. Regardless of the charge anyone convicted by this court had a mandatory death sentence imposed. This was to be carried out by a firing squad within a matter of hours, usually 48. There was no appeal to any other court, only the 26-County administration could commute the sentence or confirm it. On August 9 1941 Richard Goss was shot by Free State firing squad in Portlaoise prison. "The executions of the 1940s, the deaths on hunger strike all took place under the dark cloud of censorship. Even the last letters of the executed men were not given to the families, and were not handed over until the bodies of the men were also handed back to the families in 1948. The intention of the 26-County administration was to mask the fact that another generation of Irish Republicans were determined to resist British rule. It was in vain, because the legacy and memory of Richard Goss and his comrades resounds down the decades, inspiring each successive generation. "The funeral of Richard Goss is recorded in the pages of The United Irishman by Séamus G O'Kelly. "It was a military funeral in every sense of the word. His coffin was lowered into the grave and after the clay had been filled in, and the Last Post sounded, there came the crack of the three volleys which told the assembled multitudes that another Fenian grave had been made." We are proud and humbled to stand by this 'Fenian grave'. "We honour also today the memory of Willie Gaughran, friend and comrade of Richard Goss. Captured on the English Campaign in early 1939, he was sentenced to 10 years and sent to Camphill Prison, Isle of Wight. There he contracted TB and was released in 1946. He died some months later. "Today the cause which inspired Richard Goss to dedicate and ultimately sacrifice his life, a free and independent Ireland remains unfulfilled. The new Stormont regime with former comrades on board is setting about the normalisation of British rule, administering it, policing it and enforcing the British writ on the ground. House raids and arrest of Republicans has intensified within the Six Counties, whilst MI5 with in recent placed leaks to the media show that repression is set to increase. In the 26 Counties people are being conditioned into accepting partition - to view the Six Counties as another country. "Meanwhile we hear calls for unity from many disparate elements; Irish Republicans are described as 'elitist' and 'backward' if they are not willing to dilute their programme in the interest of this so-called 'unity'. "Irish Republicans want unity. In 1969/70 and in 1986 Republicans resisted those who sought to divert the Republican Movement down the cul-de-sac of reformism. Many of those most vociferous now in their calls for 'unity' ignored the leadership given by Republicans such as Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill who charted a path of unity based on the sure foundations of basic Republican principle. "It is true unity that is required to achieve the goal of Irish freedom. But it must be a real unity based on a common programme, cohesive and coordinated and based on unequivocal Republicanism. "The Republican Movement provides such a programme, it is the only vehicle which can deliver direction and leadership it has and remains in the words of Dáithí Ó Conaill the "catalyst for the most progressive forces in this country". Irish Republicans have always given the lead, most obviously in leading the struggle against British rule, but also in defending and promoting the Irish language, the rights of workers, in support of Irish neutrality and opposing imperialist wars particularly the use of Irish airports and airspace in support of them. Since 1972 Republican Sinn Féin and the Republican Movement have opposed the creation of a militarised and undemocratic EU superstate and played its part in the recent defeat of the Lisbon Treaty. "The editorial of The United Irishman in December 1957 pointed the way forward: "The Republican Movement takes its stand on the Proclamation of 1916, and any instrument or enactments which in any way curtail that charter of liberty can have no validity for Irish Republicans. "By strict adherence to principles, by pursuing a clearly-defined policy, by placing the national interest before personal considerations, the Irish Republican Movement has built up a reputation for honesty and integrity. The Irish people can put their trust in that Movement sure in the knowledge that it will never betray them or their interests." "The lessons are simple; by sticking to the basic fundamentals of Irish Republicanism is the only means to ensure unity of purpose whilst delivering a clear and coherent message to the Irish people. At the Ard-Fheis of Republican Sinn Féin in 1983 Ruairí Ó Brádaigh pointed to the fact that there were no splits or splintering of the Republican Movement during the period 1969/70 to 1983, "Long may it remain so" he said, "as it will provided we stick to basic principles". "Drawing our inspiration from the memory of Richard Goss and his comrades let us set about building a mass movement of the Irish people capable of delivering a 32-County Democratic Socialist Republic." Tom Doran thanked everyone for attending and spoke about his comrades in the IRA in the 1940s and 1950s. The ceremony ended with the playing of a lament and Amhrán na bhFiann.