Seamus Costello 40th anniversary memorial day, Bray. Full report.
The 5th October 2017 marked 40 years since the tragic assassination of Seamus Costello, founder of the modern Irish Republican Socialist Movement and on Saturday past, his comrades of the IRSP assembled in his home town of Bray County Wicklow to honour him with a day of events, including a now annual march through the town, a wreath laying ceremony and commemoration at his graveside and a memorial lecture/debate and award giving ceremony later that day in the Royal Hotel Bray.
Assembling at the old Town Hall in Bray the march to Costello’s graveside incorporated the James Connolly memorial Flute Band (Derry City) and the James Hope Republican Socialist band from Belfast. IRSP Cumain from Belfast, Derry, Strabane, Cork and Dublin were also well represented as were local members of the Seamus Costello Commemoration Committee and several travelling comrades from Catalonia who had been invited in the course of a recent IRSP delegation visit to that nation during its recent successful referendum for national independence.
A short oration at the grave side in little chapel heard a reaffirmation of the IRSPs allegience ‘only to the working class’ and a reminder of the ‘cruel taking of revolutionary light by the dark forces of counter revolutionary reaction’ which had deprived the Republican Socialist Movement of Seamus Costello. Renewed condolences and best wishes were also sent to the wife and family Seamus on the occasion of his 40th anniversary.
Later that afternoon at a well attended memorial lecture in the near by Royal hotel, substantial contributions were made from Sean Doyle (Seamus Costello memorial Committee) who gave a moving account of the impact which Costello had on his development as an activist, from Michael Kelly (Belfast IRSP) who gave a prolonged rundown on comparisons between the IRSP of 1977 and 2017.
Danny Morrisson from Derry City while paying tribute to non alligned groupings who during the week had ‘made fine efforts to remember Seamus’s legacy’, reminded all those gathered that the structures which carried Costello’s ideals throughout the dark days of struggle, death, assassination and imprisonment, existed in today’s IRSP which had survived to be just as ‘organised, focused and just as determined’ as it was in Costello’s time.
An impassionate plea was made to all those who claim to honour Costello’s legacy to extend that commitment further and to join with Costello’s party.
Following dinner an award ceremony in recognition of many of the veterens present who had dedicated their lives to the furtherment of the Irish Republican Socialist ideal, with members of the James Connolly Youth Movement presenting bronze busts of Seamus Costello to; Sean Doyle, Tony Hale, Jim Lane and Seamus McHendry.
The day concluded with a moving account from Jim Lane (Cork) of the realities of ‘Operation harvest’ the IRA guerilla campaign of the 1950s and the emergence of the Republican Socialist trend within that period, reminding all of those gathered (in a frank and honest account) of both the opportunities and pit falls which the incorporation of Socialist ideals into the Irish national liberation struggle brought.
The Seamus Costello memorial day was a great success and a fitting tribute to the founder of the IRSP, yet (as the crowd was reminded) the theme of the day was not intended to let the Republican Socialist Movement rest on its laurels, but to ensure the further organisation of Costello’s party in the ultimate effort to liberate Ireland, to liberate the Irish Working Class, the final word being “let us make Seamus Costello proud”.