Nuair a chuala mé go raibh John Madden básaithe bhí an bhrón orm. Comrádaí
agus cara dhilis domsa le caoga blain anuas b’é John. Cuireann bás John isteach go mór ar a chlann agus ar a chairde. Fear ciúin croga macánta atá imithe. Már
a deirtear, ní bheidh a leithéid aris againn.
It is a privilege and an honour for me to say a few words to the memory of John Madden.
To his brothers and sisters – Sheila, Eddie, Gerry and Barry and to his large extended family – on behalf
of the Ard Comhairle, members and supporters of the Workers’ Party - we convey our most sincere sympathy on their, and
indeed our, great loss.
It is with deep sadness that we are gathered here to say farewell to a loyal comrade and friend, a man much loved by
his family and all those who met with him over his lifetime.
My own experience of meeting with, and getting to know, John Madden began in Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast in the late
1950s and over the course of the following years, I came to know a comrade who was serious and always concerned as to how
the Irish people and the working class in particular could achieve freedom and justice in this world.
John was a man who did not give his mind to many; he was quiet and was a great listener. Never hasty in his judgements he was very well respected by all his fellow prisoners. His contribution to debates was always considered and to the point.
In the years following his release from prison he was always available to help in the rebuilding of the movement into
its development of The Workers’ Party.
All of what John did in life, in work and in politics, was based on an inherent integrity which he inherited from
his parents, Joseph and Mary. As part of a large family he learned the hard way
that the working class had to be united and most importantly conscious of their class and of who the enemy is. The Madden family have a proud tradition through many years of their involvement in the struggle for a
united Socialist Irish Republic. Barthy and John who left us within a very short space of time demonstrated over their lives the very best
examples of working class heroes and we, in the Workers’ Party, are the poorer for their passing.
As a nation we are living in very difficult times. Attack after attack
is being made on workers and their families while the banks, developers, speculators and politicians who caused the crisis
are being allowed to escape any consequences.
In this week the 93rd Anniversary of the Easter Rising it is to men like John Madden, whom we look to, who
over the many decades along with other fine comrades – Malachy McGurran, Martin O’Leary, Desmond Swanton, Cathal
Goulding – refused to accept the status quo to which the working class had been consigned. John Madden had no hesitation on taking up the policies and strategies which Cathal Goulding, especially,
called for and brought about their adoption by the Party. To me and to many other
comrades in the Party, John Madden was a Republican in the tradition of Wolfe Tone - the unity of Catholic, Protestant and
Dissenter, a Socialist in the tradition of James Connolly – the working class are the incorruptible inheritors of the
fight for Irish freedom. It is a matter of great sadness that John’s last
years were blighted by the dreadful illness of Alzheimer’s which deprived him of the ability to play a full and meaningful
role in life.
As we face an uncertain future with constant attacks on public sector workers -teachers, nurses, Gardaí, fire fighters,
county and city council workers who are daily being called upon to make more and more sacrifices whilst the greedy are allowed
to escape any punishment it is time for workers and their families to realise where their true interests lie. It is with each other, to work together against a common enemy and in the coming June elections to kick
out those who have brought such hardship and suffering on the most deprived section of society.
Let me leave you with this thought – the John Madden I knew and admired as a comrade and friend knew that it
is not the task of the working class or of any Left Party to save capitalism. Rather
it is their duty to abolish capitalism and to replace it with a system which puts the needs and concerns of people first and
foremost in a new society of Socialism.
Thank you comrades and friends.