Bertie: 10 died for votes not violence.
THE heroes of Ireland's War of Independance saw the light of freedom before their execution, Bertie Ahern said as their graveside yesterday.
As they sacrificed their young lives to free Ireland, democracy was finally within their grasp. The Taoiseach said:"Democracy was being put to work. They understood that Ireland would be free and independent. We all understand how much we owe these 10 young men and all the volunteers of that period. Their sacrifice is not being forgotten by the people of Ireland and never will. War, for whatever cause, always has cruel consequences. But every nation, both large and small, has a right to defend and vindicate its freedom in accordance with the will of its people." And he warned thair proud memory should never be used to justify "terrible deeds and actions of tiny minorities." today. The Taoiseach said:" The Good Friday Agreement has moved us to a new stage in our history but that certainly does not mean we forget or repudiate those who founded our state. The men we honour belong to a period when the entire national movement was united in a tremendous effort to achieve Ireland's independence that was desired and voted for my a large majority of the people. They died defending and upholding the independence proclaimed by Dail Eireann on January 21, 1919. The British government of the day were seeking in vain to maintain their continued rule by force long after popular consent had been definitely withdrawn." Mr Ahern said Ireland could now look to the future, hoping the guns can finally be silenced on this troubled island. He added:"We all look to a future in which the people of Ireland can conduct friendly relations with each other and with our neighbours in Great Britain on a basis of equality and partnership."
Justice Minister John O'Donoghue said yesterday's state funerals would not damage the North's already fragile peace process. The minister rejected claims that the state honours for the 10 executed men would send the wrong signal to unionists. He said it was "entirely appropiate" to honour and remember the volunteers who died for Ireland, just as those who died in both World Wars were honoured and remembered.
Source: The Irish Mirror, Monday October 15th, 2001