Keynote Speech from the Gino Gallagher 20th Anniversary Commemoration
During the Gino Gallagher 20th Anniversary commemoration on Saturday, 30 January 2016, at the Irish Republican Socialist Movement plot in Milltown Cemetery, Belfast, IRSP spokesperson, Micheál Ó Ceallaigh, (pictured left) delivered the following powerful keynote speech:
Comrades, today marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of one of the finest Republican Socialist revolutionaries to ever grace the struggle for National Liberation and Socialism in Ireland.
Gino Gallagher was a giant of a man, both in physicality and mentally. He oozed qualities that are so badly needed to lead a revolutionary Movement.
Soft spoken and quiet, highly intelligent and full of passion and motivation, he had a clear plan of how to turn the Republican Socialist Movement back onto the steady path, while possessing the vision that would see it stay there and flourish.
As a young Republican Socialist and member of the IRSP, Gino Gallagher is someone who I aspire to, and along with other young Party Activists, he is someone we can learn a lot from on our political journey. Although too young to have known the man, the stories about him are told on a regular basis, giving the younger members the visual picture of who Gino was, and what he stood for.
Gino believed strongly in the implementation of the Ta Power Principles, a document he had read over and over again while in jail, and had worked so hard when released from prison to have put into action within the R.S.M. He recognised the importance of working towards building the IRSP into a respectable and serious force.
The first thing Gino done in his new position as INLA Chief of Staff, as well as IRSP National Organiser, was to make sure Costello House was put back in action. Rallying other members together, he helped with cleaning up the Party HQ’s, painting it, paving it and making sure other maintenance work which was needed, was carried out.
He was feared by the enemies of Republicanism. Whether that be the British Army, RUC or counter revolutionaries and criminals. He was a proven, seasoned and committed Volunteer and Activist.
Gino recognised the increasingly reformist approach of the Provisional Movement and warned against jumping into bed with the British Government. He knew that entering into a ‘diplomatic war’ with the Brits would be catastrophic for the wider Republican struggle. He has been proved right on this.
He believed the IRSP and INLA needed to be ready to fill the political vacuum which would be created when it donned on the Irish working class that the path taken by the P.R.M was not one which would see anything close to a worthwhile political outcome after so much death and bloodshed. It was on the back of these events which Gino dedicated every wakened hour of his time to building the Movement both in Belfast and nationally.
On that January day in 1996, our Movement lost one of its brightest lights. Just like Seamus Costello, Miriam Daly and Ta Power before him, a cruel blow was struck at the R.S.M once again. However, just as before, the Movement survived and took the example set by the likes of Gino onwards.
His ideals and vision for our Movement still remain strong today in each and every young member of the IRSP. We hope we can live up to what Gino expected from Republican Socialist Activists. We strive to help build the Party into the formidable and respectable force he envisaged.
There is a lot of work to be done, but we are confident of succeeding on the long and arduous path laid out for us. And it will be the memory and stories of Gino Gallagher which will help carry us through to that certain day.
The Party of Connolly, Costello and Gallagher is organised, and is here to stay!
Comrades – let the fight go on!