Billy Keane: 'Our children are slaughtered in this secret war - so it's time we stood up against the warlords'
This year around a thousand will die in the secret war.
Most of you didn't know there was a war on in this place we speak of here today.
All of you live in the conflict zone. The battles are fought there, in your home place, every day and every night, with no let-up and no ceasefire. The injured, the maimed, the dead and the dying are all around you.
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Like all wars, the young make up most of the casualties. Like all wars many of the lost, the forlorn, the exploited, the broken and the ruined are boy and girl soldiers.
The boy and girl soldiers are cajoled, manipulated, bullied, forced in to fighting and financing a conflict they did not start. Like all wars.
I have no doubt but that many in the secret war country will say this man is a war conjurer. He is exaggerating. Looking for headlines. I'm not.
The people who live in the war zone may say what war? Or stuff like, I never saw any war, or what war where?
The casualties are your neighbours and soon enough there will not be even one family who have not been bereaved.
I'm only guessing at the 1,000 dead but I am fairly sure the figure is too low. No one has ever really counted how many lives have been ruined. If there's a bombing in Syria, or in Gaza or where the public wars take place, there are up-to-the-minute casualty figures.
The war correspondents try to figure out which side is telling the truth. The troops who bomb usually have a lower figure than the bombed. But in the land of the secret war, no one is counting.
This is why the war is secret. Well that's not quite true. Lately but only very lately, as in this week, has the parliament of the war-torn region discussed the secret war with some degree of knowledge.
Yet the police are putting their lives on the line for some time now. The police are the secret patriots. And they say where are the re-enforcements? Why is no one coming to help us? We are overwhelmed, outnumbered, out-fought and out-thought.
And as the swirly flags fly high in this country that fought to be free, the child killers become richer and more powerful. Theirs is no great cause. They are neither left nor right. The warlords are the devil's own brigade who soldier for evil.
Like most warn-torn countries, there are now two countries. The evil ones rule in their regions and terrorise their own people.
They have infiltrated the core and when the core is rotten the apple dies the black death.
The evil army is murdering our young boys and girls while we sleep sound at night. If you are older and stay home after dark, just ask.
Ask your kids or your grandkids. They will tell you I'm telling the truth. Ask your local police. They too will tell you I am right. Ask the caring agencies. Same answer.
So how can there be a secret war that rages all around us?
Well, it's because we don't want to let on. Let the side down. Give the place a bad name. Scare off the tourists and the investors.
But all the while, the death tally rises. We live, we die. We would die for our kids. Rise up, rise up and fight for what is right. But how can you fight in a secret war?
Most of the citizens of the war-torn lands are cuddled up when the carnage takes place. Safe and warm, under the duvet.
The cuddled-ups will reply the warlords are killing each other. Let them die, for all we care.
But soon enough the war will reach you too.
Soon enough is right now. No one is safe. In most wars, only the poor suffer. Many are homeless refugees in their own country.
But the secret war is no respecter of class, or the place we live in.
Maybe this could be the turning point. The poor places had no power. The poor lived only a few bus stops away from the rich. The war spreads easily in a small country. There are no degrees of separation any more.
And who pays for the wars? Every time a purchase is made from the warlords' shop, you contribute to the war chest used for bribery, thuggery and business expansion.
Let us grieve now for a while. Let us grieve for the boys and girls who will never recover.
I met a mother who told me her boy can't even hold a cup. He took drugs four times. He was a 500-plus pointer. The secret army ruined him.
I'm no expert but I'm pretty sure the mother is suffering from post-traumatic stress. Heart-breaking. She's a good mother. Did her best. Blames herself. But I said we are all to blame. Ireland kept quiet. She rocks her boy to sleep at night like when he was a baby. And every night his screams wake her.
I met a sound-out dad in Cork who spoke of how his boy came out of rehab only to go back in a few days later. He is a heroin addict.
The dad's marriage broke up because of the stress. "Collateral damage, we were" said the dad. Post -traumatic stress, collateral damage are the words for the wounds of war.
But we can fight back. We must fight back. Every one of us. We Irish were never a cowardly race. Let us fight for our freedom once again. I'm not for violence as violence only begets violence. Thanks to the gardaí, who are doing the fighting for us. They must be better resourced, and now. Even it means calling in the Army.
Armies fight wars.
We must look at prevention and better education.
I would ask for the casualties to come forward and tell us how they were maimed in the secret war. If you are too wounded and scared, all we can say is we love you, and we understand. Do not be ashamed. You were pawns in the game.
We beat the invaders before. This time though we have been invaded from within.
Ireland can be free again.
But first we must admit we are losing the war against drugs. The secret war must be turned into a public war.
The truth is always the best place to start.