Large crowd attend annual Jim Mc Ginn Commemoration
Published: 12 December, 2011
Speaking points for Jim Mc Ginn Commemoration
This year marks the 38th Anniversary of the death of Staff Captain Jim Mc Ginn at this spot on the 15th of December 1973. I would like to begin by extending a warm welcome to the Mc Ginn family and Jim's comrades and friends to this annual commemoration which remains the poignant end of year fixture in the local republican calendar of commemorative events.
The passing of 38 years has not diminished the painful memories of that tragic day when Jim and three comrades set out to carry out an attack on occupying British forces. The bomb Jim was carrying was a remote controlled device. As the volunteers walked across the bridge, the bomb exploded prematurely, killing Jim instantly and injuring his three comrades, one seriously.
Jim's intensive study of the writings of James Connolly made a deep impression on him and fuelled his desire to achieve social and economic justice for all, and the clear understanding that this would only be achieved through the removal of divisive British rule.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that Jim was only 20 years of age at the time of his death.
Yet Jim was already a seasoned leader. For Jim's deeply held republican and socialist beliefs were not based on rhetoric. Jim beliefs were reflected through on the ground political activism whether it was campaigning on issues of socio-economic justice through his involvement with the Young Socialists, his full and active part in the civil rights struggle, his promotion of Irish culture through An Comhaltas Uladh or as a committed soldier of Óglaigh na hÉireann.
For Jim saw all these areas of activism as complementary and necessary and his involvement in all these areas of struggle was not based upon any emotional knee-jerk reaction to turbulent events of the time but firmly upon his deep social and political convictions, moulded through a studied analysis of Irish history and the examination of this history in an international context.
Jim joined the Republican movement shortly after internment and was forced to go "on the run" following an operation in early 1972. Jim held the position of engineering officer of the west Tyrone command staff at the time of his death, a position which bore testament to his leadership ability and to the esteem with which Jim was held by his fellow comrades.
Jim was renowned for his humour and friendly nature and his outgoing character endeared him to young and old alike. Therefore, his death not only evoked widespread shock and sorrow among local republicans but within the local community as a whole.
As we gather here to remember Jim today, we do so at a time when the proud tenets of Irish Republicanism, which guided Jim's thinking and actions, have never been more relevant or important:
The United Irishmen, the founding fathers of Irish republicanism, declared the objectives of securing Liberty for the Irish people, and Equality and Fraternity amongst the Irish people. These ideological tenets were echoed once again in the 1916 proclamation in which an Irish Republic as a Sovereign State in which all the children of the state would be cherished equally was declared on the steps of the GPO.
Jim's formative years were shaped by tumultuous events both in Ireland and internationally and these events radicalized him and countless others of his generation. Equally tumultuous events are now taking place in Ireland and internationally. And in all of this, it is the Irish Republican analysis that has been proven to be correct.
Now is the time to make a stand.
Now is the time to radicalize.
Now is the time for Irish republicanism to make major strides forward in securing our historical objectives.
For Jim, no task was too great or too small; no area of struggle was too mundane. There's work to be done and everyone has their part to play. Let us live by Jim's example.