Gino Gallagher 20th Anniversary Wreath Laying – Belfast 30 January 2016
All available members of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement in Belfast are expected to attend.
Family members, contemporaries of Gino, Republicans, Socialists and all freedom loving people are welcome to attend the commemoration and the function afterwards. Those who are interested in the life of the murdered INLA Chief of Staff, Gino Gallagher and/or the politics of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement are especially welcomed.
Facebook users, who wish to know more about the commemoration or like many others are increasingly interested in joining the party can also contact the Mid-Falls IRSP, The Vol. Matt McLarnon IRSP (L/Falls) and cumainn from many other areas in Ireland and the main IRSP party page by contacting the admins or by visiting the IRSP website. Contained below is the funeral oration for Gino Gallagher, gratefully posted online by a long term Irish Republican Socialist via this link
Funeral Oration for Gino Gallagher
(Delivered by IRSP Ard-Chomhairle (National Executive) member Michael McCormick at Milltown Cemetery, West Belfast – 2 February 1996)
Comrades, it is our sad and painful duty to gather here by this graveside to bury our friend Gino. We do so with regret, pain and anger. With regret; for a life cut short as it moved into such a promising phase; for Gino, belying the media caricatures of him was an astute thinking revolutionary, determined to forward his movement into a new phase of working class activity and development. There were no airs and graces about Gino, he was almost diffident in putting forward his views, but his quietness hid a thoughtful and determined man.
He was unshakeable in his Republican Socialism and in his belief in the eventual liberation of the Irish working class. With pain; for our own loss, for each of us gathered here today, have their special memories of this man. His energy and commitment were unequalled and acted both as an inspiration and example for us to follow. We each of us will miss some little aspect of Gino but in our pain let us remember the good memories of this man and ensure we never forget them or him. It is our solemn duty as revolutionaries to exorcise our pain by taking up Gino’s standard, and moving forward with the Irish working class towards liberation.
With anger; for we carry as great an anger towards those who directed, arranged and ordered the political assassination of Comrade Gino as much as we have anger for the fool who carried out this foul deed. Small minded people, self interested and self serving, they act as the objective agents of the British no matter how they may wish to portray themselves. Those who assassinated Gino Gallagher carried out the work of the foe. Let there be no doubt about that. If they think that his death will throw this movement off course, they may think again. Our response will be calm, measured, considered and at all times political. For while personally our hearts may cry for immediate vengeance, our heads tell us that this is exactly what those who planned this deed want.
Gino knew exactly the risks he was taking, but he took them, not for glory, not for high office, not for crumbs from the rich man’s table, but for the betterment of his class, and for the betterment of his people. That must be the criteria that we ourselves use as we continue the struggle for socialism. Gino’s politics were the politics of the movement which he devoted his life to and for which he died. He was determined that the Republican Socialist Movement should return to its roots, as a socialist organisation and when he assumed leadership position he quickly established open democratic discussions in the movement, and waged a political campaign against elitist, militaristic and non- political attitudes in the movement. Within a few short months he, along with others, revitalised the Republican Socialist Movement. He identified with the working class, was unashamedly republican and socialist, and was determined that his class should not once again be sold out. He saw the current peace process as fatally flawed, for even if all party talks are convened will there be sufficient gains to justify the sacrifices of the past 25 years?
But Gino was no oppositionist posturing from the sidelines. Although more accustomed to the rough and tumble of republican activism, he set out on a path to explore the full limits of the peace process. He led delegations of the IRSP in meetings with many bodies and individuals who themselves supported this peace process and he patiently explained the movement’s reservations. However, he fully accepted that there could be no unilateral return to violence. As a socialist, Gino had no desire to see working class communities at each others throats and he fully supported moves to open up channels of communication with representatives of Protestant working class opinion. Lest there be any doubt about it, this movement stood unashamedly for the establishment of an Irish Socialist Republic, and Gino saw as part of his mission to revitalise that ideal. He wanted to place firmly back on the political agenda the struggle for a unified socialist Ireland. His death may be a set back and it is a tragedy for his family and all of us who knew him, but it will not stop us from moving on. As we stand here in this graveside once again, our thoughts turn to his family. No words of ours will ease their pain, but if it is any consolation to them, Gino Gallagher’s spirit will live on. Wherever there is resistance to injustice, wherever there is a striker, wherever there is a picket line, wherever there is a freedom fighter, that’s where you will find the spirit of Big Gino.
Comrades, Volunteers and friends, let not black despair cloud your thoughts and dreams, or hatred pierce your heart. What would the Big Fellow, Gino, have done? He would have gone the path he laid out, organising, agitating and preparing this movement for the long hard slog for socialism. Finally, as we lay this Volunteer and Comrade in the soft green soil of his native land, remember him each time you gaze into the stars and see there etched across the sky the Plough and the Stars.