On the occasion of the 94th anniversary of the historic Easter Rising of 1916, the Leadership of the Republican Movement sends greetings to all who are gathered in commemoration at the graves of the Republican Dead of every generation and at monuments erected to their memory.

In the past year it has been stated that policing will be transferred from Westminster to Stormont. However, political policing will continue and will remain guided from London. Under the St Andrews Agreement, amended by the Hillsborough Agreement, “security intelligence” in the Six Occupied Counties will be the responsibility of the MI5 Security Service with the RUC/PSNI in a support role.

The MI5 will not be accountable to the Stormont Policing Board for security-related matters but it will be available to brief the Board in secret on what it considers “appropriate”.

This is not the devolution of policing and justice powers. London will remain in control. For their part, the Republican youth has given the RUC/PSNI their response on the streets of many towns in the occupied area. We appreciate their actions.

In the 26 Counties, the flag of occupation – the Union Jack – is displayed with increasing frequency at festivals and on other public occasions. Similarly British military uniforms are flaunted in public, although the wearing of them was banned south of the Border for decades after 1922.

All of this is a build-up to a state visit by the Queen of England to the 26 Counties. The crowned head which claims sovereignty in Ireland has not visited for a full century. It is essential that such a visit be opposed. If it is not, then that is an acceptance of her “royal style and title” as “Queen of Northern Ireland” so-called. As Republicans we cannot, we must not, and we will not, tolerate such a situation without a meaningful protest.

This Easter we renew our support for the Shell to Sea campaign in their protest against the exploitation of Irish natural resources by a multinational company and the consequent endangerment of local inhabitants in the Ros Dumhach (“Ros Doo-ach”) Gaeltacht area. We salute the stand taken against the hired private armies of security men by local fisherman Pat O’Donnell, now serving time in prison for his opposition to oppression.

Once more we denounce the description of faithful Republicans as “traitors” by a person who gave a commitment in 1986 that the war of national liberation would “never, never, never” end until the freedom of Ireland was achieved. On the same occasion he pledged on behalf of his associates never to go to Westminster or Stormont.

Now they administer British rule in Ireland from Stormont. They have offices in Westminster and draw expenses annually from the English government of many hundreds of thousands pounds sterling. Others have recently followed their example and at the behest of the British government have destroyed weapons and munitions given for the independence of Ireland.

On the other hand we note the continued resistance by Volunteers of the Continuity IRA to the British forces of occupation, the unremitting work of Republican Sinn Féin members for national unity and independence and the defiant stand of the Republican prisoners North and South in the face of their jailors. The struggle continues.

Republicans are not dismayed by the threats of further repression from sources in the 26-County Administration. As in the past they will stand up and meet them unflinchingly. Week after week the tabloid gutter press seeks by its falsehoods and fabrication to sow confusion in the ranks regarding the Republican position. The faithful are loyal to the All-Ireland Republic under one authority. That position has been vindicated again and again as the only basis on which to proceed.

We send greetings to our prisoners in Maghaberry, Co Antrim and Portlaoise jails. Their stand day after day is an example to us all. We undertake once more to support their dependants during the period of incarceration.

A cháirde, the countdown to 2016, the centenary of the momentous Easter Rising, has begun. Just five more Easters have to pass and the Great Day will be upon us. We need to commence preparations now to ensure that the occasion is not snatched from us by those who have ignored the annual Easter 1916 Commemorations since the 50th – in 1966.

Advance then, loyal and true, and rally a younger generation to the imperishable Cause which, in 1916, opened a century of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle for the greater good of all humankind!

An Phoblacht Abú!