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Connolly - a towering figure for Labour

Posted on May 14, 2008 at 05:34 PM

Eamon Gilmore TD - addressing the Labour Party's annual James Connolly commemoration at Arbour Hill, Dublin.
addressing the Labour Party's annual James Connolly commemoration at Arbour Hill, Dublin.

"James Connolly is the towering figure in the history of the Irish Labour movement. A thinker, writer, organiser, and activist. A soldier, a trade unionist, a journalist, a politician. The Founder of the Irish Labour Party. A republican and an internationalist.

Connolly's legacy has been claimed by many. But his life's story, and the many writings he left behind, make it impossible to depart from the compelling truth. That James Connolly was, first and foremost, a socialist," Eamon Gilmore TD, Leader of the Labour Party told the assembled crowd including members of James Connolly's family at the party's annual James Connolly Commemoration held in Arbour Hill, Dublin.

"In the unquenchable idea - at once blindingly obvious and yet so revolutionary - that has been handed to us across the generations - that we are, all of us, born equal

"That women and men are not chattels, or commodities, but have lives and needs and aspirations beyond the reach of the marketplace

"That cries of want, whether they come from the children of this city, or the children of Burma, must register on the ears of all

"That is what it means to be a socialist. That is what it means to be Labour.

"To be Labour is to see and recognise in others the common light of our shared humanity. To encounter another person and to see just that - a person. To view them through the prism of character and experience, not through an arbitrary lens imposed, by others such as race, gender, sexual orientation or creed.

"To be Labour is to insist on the indivisibility of human dignity.

"To be Labour is to demand a fair share for all in the fruits of human progress."

As well as the oration from Eamon, SIPTU President Jack O'Connor spoke and Jimmy Kelly (SIPTU) sang 'James Connolly'. The commemoration was concluded with the Last Post, the National Anthem and the raising of the Tricolour.

Eamon's speech is available in full in the media centre while you can see photographs from the commemoration on our Flickr photostream.

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