Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, attended an event to remember and commemorate the members of the International Brigades who fought in Spain during the country’s civil war of 1936 to 1939.

Speaking at the event in Córdoba, Andalucía, Deputy Crowe told the crowd:

“The men and women who joined the International Brigades were motivated by the highest of ideals.

“It wasn’t for wealth, profit or personal gain

“Many of the Irish who fought and spilled their blood on the soil of Spain, came from an Ireland that had witnessed and experienced the brutality of imperialism in all its many forms.

“They came from a land where the population had been decimated in one generation, as over a million people died of starvation and disease, and another million were lost through forced emigration.

“Many of those who died here were from Dublin, a city I proudly represent in the Irish Parliament today.

“The Dublin they came from had slums, and a poverty and a child mortality rate that was higher than Calcutta.

“Workers and their families scraped by in overcrowded tenement housing, work was scarce and organised labour brutally suppressed. Many had fought and taken an active part in Ireland’s freedom struggle only to see their hopes and aspirations lost to the forces of reaction and conservatism.

“They were Irish republicans and all were Internationalists.

Crowe continued:

“They had joined with others from all across the world in a fight to support democracy, and against the fascist tide that was sweeping across Europe.

“The odds were stacked against them.

“Badly equipped, but with their courage and the righteousness of their cause, the International Brigadiers stopped Franco’s Army’s advance.

“Democracy lost out in the end but the men and women of the International Brigade were not involved or responsible for that failure.

“The International Brigadiers fought and died in Spain for an inclusive world. A world where every child regardless of race colour or creed can live free from poverty and hunger, a world where their talents and natural abilities are nourished and developed to their full. That will be their legacy.

“As we gather here today we must remember the contemporary problems in Europe. The construction of fortress Europe, the economics of austerity, the denial of asylum for people fleeing war and hunger, and the rise of racism of and xenophobia, which are all symptoms of the failure of the worst excesses of unbridled capitalism

“Let us all here today join together to make a commitment to work and make the world the International Brigadiers fought for a reality.