Remembring Alan Ryan

It’s been two years to the day since Alan was murdered. Since that day those who truly cared about him have been forced to endure a series of painful realizations. Amongst these, that nobody has been brought to account for his murder, that his reputation continues to be sullied by those who buy ink by the barrel and that the Republic which he laid down his life for remains far from our grasp. It is not uncommon for Republicans and indeed all political activists to project our own aspirations onto our martyrs and to imagine that they could have achieved that which we through our own efforts have been unable to. Yet with Alan there is the inescapable conclusion that with his loss we incurred not only a personal tragedy but have been left without a figure who inspired as much through individual character as through action. To anyone who knew him there requires no more explanation and to anyone who didn’t it is almost impossible to express in words what he meant.

It can be problematic to attempt to formulate lessons from the lives of those we have lost. There is always the possibility, if not the probability that we seek to retrospectively make sense of the present and provide hope for the future. With Alan there can be no such fear. His humanity and humility remain always as a reminder to those of us who remain striving for the ideals to which he committed himself. We are not simply struggling nor should we be, for a flag or anthem or abstract ideal. What Alan lived and ultimately died for was a sense of people, those disenfranchised and disillusioned by a state and system in which their only role was subservience.

There are no simple answers about where we go to from here. It is up to each to take their own course of action. However amongst those who knew and loved Alan we can trust that there is a seed of dignity and resistance to the status quo. That there remains as fresh recollection and fond memory the times Alan faced down the multifaceted threats to his own community. We owe more to him than simple platitudes and an annual wreath. The only fitting tribute is to attempt to live up to a standard of activism and personal integrity which he established and committed himself to.

RIP Alan, Friend, Comrade, Father, Brother

Never Forgotten


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