Chairperson's address at Bodenstown 2013
Comrade Eira Gallagher chaired the 2013 Workers Party annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown. Her opening remarks are printed below.

Comrades and friends,


You are all very welcome here today to the annual Workers Party Wolfe Tone Commemoration.


Our presence here today is both to honour Tone and the United Irishmen and Women and to reflect on our present situation and the continuing necessity of building the type of Republic envisaged by Tone and his followers.


Our gathering here in Bodenstown is to honour the memory of Tone and his generation who set down for all future generations the basic and fundamental principles of revolutionary Irish Republicanism, the Unity of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the banner of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity to establish an Independent Irish Republic.


That these principles have been distorted and abused over the years does not in any way weaken the truth or lessen the validity of the principles of Tone or his Comrades, anymore than the sectarian actions of some elements in 1798 rendered Tone’s and the United Irishmen’s principles invalid in their time.


Tone and his followers aimed to put the citizen at the centre of political and economic power in an independent country. The assertion of the common good, the struggle against corruption and political elites which deny and subjugate the rights of individuals and citizens, these are still the core issues which define our political struggle today.


It is about power, who controls it and in whose interests is it exercised;

About democracy and how it is curtailed and undermined;

About society and how it is organised and the values it adheres to;

It is the conflict between the common good and those of the rich and powerful.


So it is with pride that The Workers Party takes this opportunity today, not only to honour the memory of Tone and his followers in the United Irishmen, but to declare where we stand in today’s world.


We assert our commitment to, and belief in, the same universal values and philosophy that inspired the United Irish and subsequent generations of Irish revolutionaries who have carried on the struggle to establish an Irish republic.


Not a Republic in the fashion of Irish nationalists who have done little more than ally themselves with native and foreign capitalism, an arrangement which today is the cause of the misery and hardship which the great majority of Irish workers are forced to endure.

No, we ally ourselves with Lalor and Davitt, Connolly and Mellows, Frank Ryan and in our own recent history Goulding and MacGiolla. With all those who seek more than mere democratic reform but who seek real revolutionary change in society as the only means to put the citizen at the centre of political and economic life.


Our main speaker today is certainly someone who has devoted his life to the cause of the working class.


Councillor Davy Walsh has been a stalwart defender of the rights of people in Waterford city since the mid sixties.


As a councillor for 34 years he has been a consistent champion of the people of Waterford city, fearlessly speaking and acting on their behalf.


Having been elected as a Workers Party representative in 7 consecutive elections he has never been assimilated into the establishment like so many others. He has been a thorn in the side of the political establishment in Waterford always putting the interests of working class people before everything else.


Only last week he was denied the position of Mayor of Waterford by the cosy political pact which carves up positions of power in the council in order to secure privilege and monetary reward for individuals who have no regard for the needs of the people of Waterford. There was huge popular support in the city of Waterford for Davy to be elected Mayor. Despite this the political pact of Fine Gael and Labour held and Davy was denied the position.


Comrades Workers Party Councillor Davy Walsh will deliver the main oration on behalf of An Ard Comhairle.

Peace, Work, Democracy and Class Politics