Sunday, 4 December 2011

The ‘Treaty of Surrender’ and its legacy

This month marks the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on December 6 1921. It was renamed the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ by faithful Irish Republicans because its terms subverted the All-Ireland Republic established according to the democratic will of the people of All-Ireland as expressed in the historic 1918 General Election – the last occasion in which the people of Ireland have been allowed to vote as one unit. That election led to the convening of the First 32-County Dáil Éireann on January 21 1919 and the setting up of a functioning Irish Republic.

The All-Ireland Republic quickly established active government departments and maintained a standing army in the field - the Irish Republican Army. Through its Department of Local Government it secured the allegiance of the vast majority of the county, town and city councils and other layers of local administration throughout Ireland. It also established its own policing and court system while internationally envoys and diplomatic missions were set-up.

The British Government’s response to this democratic expression of self-determination by the Irish people was to intensify its repression by introducing martial law in large swathes of Ireland including the entire province of Munster. From England it recruited extra RIC divisions, the notorious Black-and-Tans as well as the Auxiliaries.

This sets the backdrop to the negotiation of a Treaty, which would overturn the democratic will of the people of Ireland as well as partitioning the historic Irish nation. In his authoritive history of the Civil War or Counter-Revolution Green Against Green the historian Michael Hopkinson said of the Treaty: “No document could have more effectively brought out into the open divisions in the philosophy and leadership of the Sinn Féin movement. If it had offered a little more or a little less, it may well have unified opinion for or against it.”

Realising they could not defeat the Republic militarily, the British Government showing all the darks arts of intrigue and manipulation sharpened over centuries of empire building decided on a strategy of division and subversion from within.

Following the calling of a Truce on July 11 the British Government opened a dialogue with the Government of the All-Ireland Republic leading ultimately to the opening of formal negotiations on October 11 1921. The delegates chosen by the Government of the Republic were led by Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins and also included Eamonn Duggan, George Gavin Duffy and Robert Barton. According to Liam Mellows speaking during the Dáil’s Treaty debates, they had clear instructions as to any proposed treaty. Item three of the instructions given to the delegates quoted by Mellows stated: “It is also understood that the complete text of the draft Treaty about to be signed will be similarly submitted to Dublin's and a reply awaited.”. This was disputed by Collins and Griffith who claimed they had full plenipotentiary powers to negotiate and sign. 

Within the negotiations themselves the British played their hand well dividing the Irish delegates up and concentrating in particular on Collins and Griffith. Thus they ensured that whilst their decisions and actions were tightly coordinated and carefully though out the Irish delegation was in disarray. Duggan, Barton and Gavin Duffy were in the dark regarding much of Collins’ and Griffith’s secret talks with Winston Churchill and British Prime Minister Lloyd George. In the introduction to the Whitehall Diary of Deputy Secretary to the British Cabinet Thomas Jones historian Nicholas Mansergh wrote that the negotiations involved: “concessions wrung by devices, some of which can be described at best as devious…”The care taken by the British in the negotiation is illustrated by a comment by Thomas Jones, in his diary: “….every word used and every nuance was so important.”  When the leadership of the Republican Movement were about to engage in talks with the British Government in 1972 for the first time since the Treaty negotiations of 1921 they turned to Seán MacBride for advice as he had been part of the staff attached to the Irish delegation during the Treaty negotiations. His most important piece of advice was not to allow their delegation to be separated.

These were the circumstances in which the hard fought for and fully functioning All-Ireland Republic was undermined. The past 90 years of war and conflict in Ireland has flowed from the decisions made in those fateful months of late 1921 and early 1922. Speaking in the Dáil debate on the Treaty on January 4 Liam Mellows prophetically set out the consequences of abandoning the Republic and setting up a 26-County Free State: “The Government of the Free State will, with those who support it now liking it or not, eventually occupy the same relationship towards the people of Ireland as Dublin Castle does to-day, because, it will be the barrier government between the British and the Irish people. And the Irish people before they can struggle on will have to do something to remove that Free State Government. That, I think, has been the history of this country most of the time, as it is the history of most countries that go the way now urged by those who support the Free State. If the Free State is accepted and put into operation it will provide the means for the British Government to get its hold back again.”

The conspiratorial “internal methods” used to coerce and cajole deputies into voting for the Treaty in the Dáil as well as within the army of the Republic –the IRA – by the Irish Republican Brotherhood would be adopted by others in the years ahead to similarly divert the Republican Movement away from the path to the full freedom of Ireland.

Its legacy was a vicious civil war or more accurately counter-revolution, which robbed Ireland of some of its brightest and best political leaders. It poisoned politics in Ireland dividing families as well as territory. And in buying the pup of the Boundary Commission which in 1925 copper-fastened partition those who supported the Treaty condemned the nationalists population of the Six Counties to decades of sectarian Unionist domination and discrimination and British rule. It is a legacy that we remain burdened with today.

Its is best to leave the final word to Brian Murphy in his excellent book Patrick Pearse and the Lost Republican Ideal: “The Treaty, hailed by those who accepted it as a victory for democracy, has to be accessed in the knowledge that those who advocated it, be they from the ranks of the IRB or the Catholic clergy, were influenced by secret manoeuvres which were hardly compatible with the democratic process. If the Treaty was a victory for anyone, it was for the policy of the British administration.”

References: Brian P. Murphy: Patrick Pearse and the Lost Republican Ideal.
Thomas Jones: Whitehall Diary.
Dáil Éireann: Official Report of the debate on the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland

Thursday, 20 October 2011

No other law


Writing in the series Perspectives on the presidency in the Irish Times of October 13 Tom Hickey; lecturer in the School of Law NUI Galway gives a definition of Republicanism with which one could readily identify.

However he then puts a construct on Irish Republicanism, which is a misrepresentation of a 220 year-old revolutionary tradition. He writes that Irish Republicanism has for many become a “dirty word, gradually conflated with sectarian nationalism.” He goes on then to accuse Irish Republicans of defining Irish nationality along sectarian lines – reserved only for one section of the Irish people.

Irish Republicanism stands as a polar opposite to sectarianism. Drawing from the wellspring of the enlightenment, it rejects the ‘Divine Right of Kings’ and replaces it with the sovereignty of the people and the universal ‘Rights of Man’. The Father of Irish Republicanism Theobald Wolfe Tone could not have been clearer as to the foundation upon which a free All-Ireland Republic would be built: To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissentions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman, in the place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic, and Dissenter - these were my means.”

This has remained the bedrock of Irish Republicanism right up to the present day. Indeed it is this rejection of sectarianism, which was one of the two primary reasons advanced by Republican Sinn Féin in rejecting the 1998 Stormont Agreement. Because it served only to institutionalise sectarianism in what was already an undemocratic and sectarian statelet in the Six Counties.  The other of course was that it copper-fastened British rule in Ireland.

Tom Hickey writes that in a real Republic the two “distinct pillars” are the “sanctity of the public space, and of the common public good.”  He then says: “this requires meaningful deliberative engagement on the part of all citizens, and participation.”

The second pillar he identifies as “equal citizenship” and immunity from “arbitrary power.” I would invite Tom Hickey to read Éire Nua if he wishes to see a definition of just such a republic based on real participation and the common good. The Éire Nua proposals make tangible the Republic aspired to by Tone, Emmet, Davis, Lalor, Pearse and Connolly. Éire Nua presents a vision and a programme for a New Ireland that is in stark contrast to both failed partitionist states.

In an article published in Saoirse marking 40 years since the launch of Éire Nua Sean Ó Bradaigh had this to say about the nature of the two partition states: “The partition of Ireland in 1922 created not one, but two unnatural entities, not just a ‘Protestant parliament for a Protestant people’ in the Six Counties, but also a Catholic state in the 26 Counties.

 “The Unionist majority in the North behaved very badly in their gerrymandering of electoral boundaries and in discrimination against the minority.  The, mostly hidden, hand of the Orange Order was behind serious civil rights abuses.  Westminster consistently refused to intervene and the whole thing blew up in all our faces in 1969.  This would not have happened in a 32-County pluralist Ireland which guaranteed equal rights and equal opportunities to all her citizens.

“The same unnatural partition affected the 26 Counties also.  A 32-County state with its balance of different religions could hardly have brought about the controversy over the appointment of a Protestant librarian in Co Mayo in 1931; the banning of Edna O’Brien’s short novels; the hounding from office of Dr Noel Browne, Minister for Health in 1951; the scandals of the Magdalene Laundries and the Industrial Schools, for examples.”

The opposition of unionists to the idea of being incorporated into such a state is understandable what is not is their treatment over a prolonged period of the minority within the Six-County State something that was shameful and unworthy of the descendants of the first Irish Republicans of the 1790s.

Not unreasonably unionists have expressed frustration at the apparent lack any concrete proposals setting out the shape of a future free and united Ireland. One Unionist, David Adams, writing in the Irish Times on  December 3 2009, criticising this percieved failure of nationalist or republican Ireland to propose a blueprint for a united Ireland. He wrote: “Clarity is what the people of Northern Ireland (sic) need.”  However he also noted: “The Éire Nua document, authored by Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Dáithí Ó Conaill in the 1970s, remains the only serious bid by any strand of nationalism or republicanism to address the issue at all.”

There is an onus on Irish Republicans to be very clear and precise in setting out our vision. Irish Republicans have never advocated a 32-County Free State. We believe that a New Ireland for all of the Irish people is required if we are to advance politically, socially and econimally. In short we seek the restoration of the 32-County Republic which was subverted in 1922.

Éire Nua proposes a Federal Ireland based on the historic four provinces including a nine-county Ulster. This would be horizontal democracy based on sharing autonomy and sovereignty between provinces, regions right down to local or community level within the framework of  an independent nation state. This would represent meaningful decentralisation of power and decision-making.  A nine-county Ulster Parliament would have considerably more power than any Stormont Assembly ever had. Importantly an Ulster Parliament or Dáil Uladh would be soverign and could not be suspended over the heads of its elected members by an outside parliament such as Westminster, as is the case today.

Again as Sean Ó Brádaigh points out : “Éire Nua includes a Draft Charter of Rights and the right of Petition or Initiative.  This right of Initiative is much used in Switzerland.  It is a constitutional modus operandi whereby a referendum can be resorted to on an issue of importance if a sufficient number of signatures are collected.  This can be done at local, provincial or national level. Issues like Shell to Sea or the M3 motorway near Tara come to mind. This is direct participative democracy at work, as distinct from representative democracy.”

Tom Hickey concludes by saying if we are to “renew our Republic (sic) in advance of 2016 we must first restore the idea of republicanism.” I would agree with this sentiment but would go further and say that we must also restore the Republic of 1916, a Republic that was stolen from us and reconnect with the ideals enshrined in the 1916 Proclamation.  To quote Liam Lynch:  “We have declared for an Irish Republic and will not live under any other law”

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sham politics in a sham state

The ongoing soap opera, which we will laughingly refer to as the 26-County Presidential Election is an obscenity in terms of the cost estimated at 20 million and the fact that it is being used by the political elite as a very convenient distraction from the harsh economic realties faced by Irish people the length and breadth of the 32 Counties.

The office itself is a meaningless and empty position carrying no political weight. It was a position created by Éamon De Valera to replace the old position of Governor General when he introduced his 1937 Free State Constitution.  The blandness of the rhetoric coming from the candidates reflects the shallowness of the well-paid position they are all jockeying for.

Martin McGuinness tells us he wants a “New Republic”. Perhaps Martin could enlighten us as to how he will “lead us to the Republic” from the Vice Regal lodge.
Martin has said he will fearlessly uphold all the institutions of the 26-County State – including its army and police force. Well at least here he is consistent, as he has already made a similar pledge to uphold the institutions of British rule in the Six Counties. It seems if Martin is going to uphold partition it’s a case of all or nothing!

This election is a parody of democracy a case of fiddling while Rome burns. The political class are playing their little games hoping that the people will be distracted enough not to notice that their country and the future of their children is being sold off. All the elements that go towards creating a civilised society – access to health at the point of need – equal access to education – social protection of the young – the old – those with special needs either physical or mental are being sacrificed. The effects of this will be felt not just by this but also by future generations.

So as the rhetoric flies and the platitudes are trotted out by the various candidates  telling us they “believe in people” or want to “encourage and inspire” or God preserve us “build bridges” just remember you can register your disgust and protest at this sham politics in a sham state. Either stay at home on polling day or if you do feel the need to go to the polling station write an appropriate slogan across the face of the ballot paper and send them your own message of protest and your aspiration for a truly New Ireland.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Beware false prophets

A time of economic crisis provides a moment in time when the revolutionary can more readily get the ear of the people. At such times people are open to the possibility of radical change. It is of such a juncture that Lenin wrote: A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation” however he also warned “not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution”.

A climate of economic crisis not only opens up possibilities for the genuine revolutionary but also for the false prophet of racism and fascism. Germany in the 1920s and early 30s is an oft-quoted example of the kind of conditions that breed such hateful ideology. The pattern is the same the world over however: find a scapegoat for joblessness, poverty, cuts in social spending etc. Such a scapegoat will usually differ from the majority in skin colour, religion, language culture, nationality or gender. These false prophets then go to work on increasing paranoia and bigotry among the majority against the minority based on the false premise that salvation of the majority lies in the destruction of those that differ from the rest. The purpose is always the same to climb to a position of political power and hold it by creating fear among the population towards each other thereby ensuring their control by the state.

All of this is anathema to the very ethos and philosophy of Irish Republicanism. When Wolfe Tone, Thomas Russell, Samuel Neilson and others came together to found the Society of United Irishmen they were explicit as to what its purpose was to be: “This Society is likely to be a means the most powerful for the promotion of a great end.  What end?   The Rights of Man in Ireland.  The greatest happiness of the greatest number in this island, the inherent and indefeasible claims of every free nation to rest in this nation. . .  The greatest happiness of the greatest number – on the rock of this principle let this Society rest; by this let it judge and determine every political question, and whatever is necessary for this end let it not be accounted hazardous, but rather our interest, our duty, our glory and our common religion.  The Rights of Man are the Rights of God, and to vindicate the one is to maintain the other.  We must be free in order to serve Him whose service is perfect freedom.”

This is why it is all the more reprehensible  when those who masaqurade under the banner of Irish Republicanism attempt to hide their hideous mantra of hate, bigotry and intolerence under such a noble standard. People should be awake to those who attempt this sleight of hand  and treat them with the same contempt and suspicion one would any imposter or confidence trickster. Indeed I would argue even more so for such characters are worse than any fraudster because by their words and deeds they bismirch the very name of Irish Republicanism.

Irish Republicanism is no narrow insular dogma – it is an international philosophy of freedom and democracy drawing on the best and noblest instincts of human nature rather than the lowest. Our cause is the cause of humanity. Again we are back to Tone: “Let the nations go abreast.  Let the interchange of sentiments among mankind concerning the Rights of Man be as immediate as possible”. It is a philosophy which invites people into the brightness of  enlightment and progress rather than the shaows of fear and intolerence.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Voices of the POWs must be heard

The release of Brendan Lillis was welcome news and is a testament to the tireless and unrelenting campaign for his release led his partner Roisin Lynch. However it should also be noted that Stormont ‘Justice’ Minister David Ford ominously dangled the ‘Sword of Damocles’ over Brendan Lillis with a warning that if his health improved the original charges could be brought again. There seems to be no end to the pettiness and vindictiveness of the British and their surrogates here in Ireland. 

However we have no time to rest on laurels but focus must now return to the POWs currently on ‘Dirty Protest’ in Maghaberry prison. All this year we have been marking the 30th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes. The fact that thirty years later young Irishmen are being forced to engage in a similar protest against an attempt by the British State to criminalise them and by extension their cause tells us we have not travelled very far. The very presence of political prisoners in the Six-County State is a declaration for all who wish to see that it is an abnormal state.

The big obstacle faced by all campaigners for the Republican prisoners is the paper wall of silence, which Westminster, Stormont and Leinster House have erected around Maghaberry, and the wider issue of political prisoners. Since the right of political status in the Six Counties was signed away under the terms of the 1998 Stormont Agreement the official line is that there are no political prisoners in Ireland. In the years since 1998 their willing messengers within the media peddled this line to such an extent that among the mass of people it has become an accepted fact. Thus the big lie is repeated over and over until it is believed. The first hill to climb consequently is to establish in the public consciousness the very fact that today in the Ireland of 2011 there are political prisoners in both the Six and 26-County States and why they are there.

Breaking this artificial wall of silence around Maghaberry will allow the voices of the POWs to be heard and disturb the cosy consensus of the elites.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Release Brendan Lillis now!

The refusal of David Ford to release Brendan Lillis exposes the shallowness of Ford and his ilk when they talk about human rights and civil liberties. When Ford opens his mouth again with more sanctimonious sermonising his words should be dismissed for the weasel words that they are. Brendan Lillis is suffering from a very serious disease called ankylosing spondylitis, which leads to a curvature in the spine and causes the body to produce excess bone mass.  To leave the politics of the issue aside for a moment on purely humanitarian grounds Brendan Lillies should be released immediately.

One can only judge a state or a society by how it treats its most vulnerable. In the 26 Counties we have witnessed the litany of reports of ill treatment of the both the young and the old. In the Six Counties the case of Brendan Lillis is just another example of how for all its boasting about its championing of the rule of law and human rights when it comes to dealing with the Irish people Britain just can’t break the habits of the coloniser when dealing with the colonised. Imprisoning Brendan Lillis even from the point of view of Stormont and Westminster (something I find very difficult to do) serves no purpose whatsoever. It is purely vindictive and a case of extracting the last pound of flesh from a man who in the distant past had the temerity to assert his country’s right to national independence.

On a political level the treatment of Brendan Lillis speaks louder than any words we could write or speak about the true nature of the Six-County State and its relationship with the nationalist people. The Provisonal spin-doctors have written countless words about the “new dispensation” and a “new police force”. All of this is merely dross to hide the fact that it is all a sham. What we have is the same old British wolf dressed up in the lamb’s clothing afforded it by the 1998 Stormont Agreement. The bottom line here is that the Six-County State is fundamentally sectarian and undemocratic. All of its institutions will reflect this including its police force no matter what name it is given. This is true of any state.

But to return to the issue at hand. The bravery and unstinting commitment shown by Brendan Lillis’s partner Roisin Lynch is a testament to the strength of an ordinary person when thrust into extraordinary circumstances. The case of Brendan Lillis is the human side of all of this. His continued imprisonment is above politics and is a question of one of the most basic rights – the right to life and dignity as a human being. Release Brendan Lillis now!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Unholy alliance of Church and State

First things first. The recent Cloyne Report just like the Ferns and Murphy reports are a shocking indictment of the institutional Catholic Church and its response to the heinous crime of child sexual abuse carried out on the children under its care. These reports paint a picture of an institution more concerned with its own protection than the well-being and protection of the young and innocent victims of clerical abuse.

However we must not allow the shrill grandstanding of Enda Kenny in Leinster House regarding the relationship of the 26-County State with the Catholic Church and the Vatican blind us to the reality of the 26-County State’s culpability in all of this.
Kenny can rant all he likes about the “industrial-school Ireland or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world.”

The reality is that Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party and the rest of the 26-County political establishment were more than happy to use the Bishops’s crosier and the clerics collar to whip people into line within their state. Need we remind you of the various Bishops Pastorals used to condemn Irish Republicans over the decades?  In 1929 in Dungloe Co Donegal  the Garda Superintendent spoke to the local Catholic clergy about the Anti- Land Annuities campaign. This resulted in the Bishop of Raphoe William McNeely delivering a withering condemnation of the campaign while administering confirmation in the parish. The Gardai reported it had “a good effect locally”.

In an unholy alliance with the Catholic Church a “Gulag Archipelago” for the poor of Ireland was run through a system of industrial schools and Magdalene laundries. The Ryan Report of May 2009 merely skimmed the surface of this dark chapter in our history. Church and State rigorously applied the policy of ‘out of sight out of mind’ when it came to the children of the poor and dispossessed.

Enda Kenny gets no plaudits for slaying a dragon that expired a long time ago and one, which in the past he and his ilk were more than willing to use against their own people.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Carpe Diem - Seize the Day


The recent furore caused by Enda Kenny, James Reilly and Eamon Gilmore reneging on “election pledges” given during the recent 26-County Election regarding Roscommon A&E and other hospitals sums up the worth of the political class  presiding over this ‘failed political entity’.  The ‘Bard’ wrote: “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”; in this case it is the state that is rotten.

Before the last 26-County election Republican Sinn Féin pointed out that the election was meaningless as it entailed merely replacing one set of gombeen politicians with another. Within less than a month of the formation of the new 26-County Administration it was clear for all who were willing to see that the real political and economic masters were in Brussels and Frankfurt and not in Dublin. Kenny and his cohorts fell over themselves to sign up to the austerity programme agreed by their predecessors. It seems it was Frankfurt’s way after all!

The political and economic reality is that the denizens of Leinster House and Merrion Square are merely managers of a programme, which has been set out for them by the EU/ECB and IMF. Today the ‘Troika’ tell us that the 26-County State is “on track”. But on track to what? you well may ask, ‘hell in a hand cart’ is one answer that springs to mind. The most vulnerable and marginalised in society are in the sights of this political and economic elite not just in Ireland but also across Europe. In Greece the people have been told they must pay the debts of the financial elite at the cost of the ownership of the very land beneath their feet. Here the old, the young, the unemployed and those with special needs are to be the fodder used to bolster up a failed currency and the failed political project that is the EU.

Enough is enough! Tinkering around the edges is not the answer. People need to seize the moment themselves and in doing so reject a political and chattering class who will never let go of this failed system because it will never be in their own self-interest to do so. People need to get out and get radical just as the people of Greece have shown. We must demand a real Republic an All-Ireland Republic. One that is worthy of the definition given to us in the 1916 Proclamation. On Bastille Day we remember the very roots of Irish Republicanism: Liberté, égalité, fraternité. It is time to cast off the shackles of the old imperialism of London – in occupation of part of our country - and the new imperialism of the EU/ECB/IMF.

Finally I would like to pay tribute to the late Liam Cotter of Co Kerry. Liam brought the same unselfish commitment and dedication to everything he did, whether it was for the Republican Movement or the GAA. He was a stalwart of both. Liam Cotter was very conscious of the proud Republican tradition of his beloved Kerry and lived up to that tradition throughout his life. He never faltered or wavered from the straight road to the All-Ireland Republic. When we march to the dawn light of freedom you will march with us Liam. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

You can lock up the messenger but not the message

It is almost two weeks since my last post but a lot has happened in that time. Fergal Moore and myself experienced at first hand the ‘hospitality’ of the RUC/PSNI in Lurgan barracks last week. We were arrested and charged with participating in a march calling for the release of Republican Martin Corey in Lurgan on January 23 last. Martin, by the way was the longest serving Republican prisoner in Long Kesh serving 19 years. He was released in 1992. He was interned without trial in April of last year and has been held in Maghaberry prison ever since.

The arrest of the President and Vice President of Republican Sinn Féin marks the culmination of a clear pattern of harassment by both partitionist states with the clear intention of silencing our organisation. Within a month of the ‘Free Martin Corey March’ in January the British Colonial Police issued a letter accusing me of participating in an “illegal parade”.  Similar letters were issued in relation to other members of Republican Sinn Féin in the Lurgan and Armagh areas. This was followed up a number of arrests.

In May Cait Trainor a member of our Ard Chomhairle along with Sean Maloney a former POW and member of the Thomas Harte Cumann in Lurgan were arrested and charged with “glorifying terrorism” in an interview given to Channel Four News in September of 2010. This is reminiscent of the kind of draconian legislation used by the Spanish State in the Basque Country. This was followed by the arrest of the Runaí of Dublin Comhairle Ceantair Diarmuid Ó Dúbhghlais and another member during the visit of the Queen of England to the 26 Counties on May 20. And finally on June 30 last the newly appointed national Publicity Officer Geraldine McNamara had her home raided by the 26-County Special Branch.

Its obvious Republican Sinn Féin has something to say which Westminster, Stormont and Leinster House don’t want to hear or more importantly don’t want the rest of the Irish people to hear.  What we have to say is simple. British Rule in Ireland and its various institutions are an obstacle to a New Ireland and a lasting settlement. Our message has roots deep in the psyche of the Irish people. It is the same message delivered by Wolfe Tone, Emmet, Davis, Lalor, Pearse, Connolly, Mellows and Sands. In short we want:  “To break the connection with England the never failing source of all our political evils.” You can lock up the messenger but not the message.


Friday, 24 June 2011

Plus Ca Change in the Six Counties

The loyalist attack on the people of the Short Strand and the British Police Ombudsman Al Hutchinson’s report into the murder of six nationalists at the hands of a British-backed loyalist death-squad in Loughinisland in 1994 are two powerful examples of the unchanging nature of British Rule in Ireland.

The loyalist attack on the nationalist community on the Short Strand and particularly the response of the RUC/PSNI to it are a clear illustration that the relationship of the Six-County State to the nationalist people has not changed. Following two days of carefully and “orchestrated” – the description of the British Colonial Police themselves – violence by the UVF the response of the Stormont junta and their police force was to arrest two nationalists and open up talks with the UVF. Meanwhile Al Hutchinson launched a report, which ignored the blindingly obvious evidence of British state collusion in the murder of six innocent and uninvolved nationalists at the hands of a loyalist death squad. Plus ca change, as the French would say.

The British policy of “divisions carefully fostered by an alien government” created and sustained the Six-County State.  It was a state built on sectarianism, discrimination, inequality and repression. The Stormont Agreement merely institutionalised sectarianism with a resultant increase in the polarisation of the two communities. The Provos on the one side and the DUP on the other are more than happy to base their political supremacy on this sectarian divide. Posing as the political face of their respective ‘tribes’.

This is anathema to the very idea of Irish Republicanism and as far removed from the teachings of Tone, Davis, Connolly and Pearse as you could get. As Republican Sinn Féin have continuously pointed out there is an alternative to all of this. Éire Nua is the key to fashioning a New Ireland by the all of the Irish people themselves. Éire Nua is inclusive of all sections of the Irish people. Because it is only the Irish people themselves who can create an Ireland capable of living up to the principles of the 1916 Proclamation.

Such an open and democratic process is in stark contrast to the shadowy world of the current process where secret deals have been hammered out in the backrooms of Whitehall and Stormont, behind the doors of English castles and behind the backs of the Irish people. Its leaders have been feted as Moses like returning to their people with ‘tablets of stone’. Éire Nua replaces the mystery, the intrigue and sharp practice and the sleight of hand and replaces it with the sovereignty and democratic will of the Irish people as a nation.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Blogging about a New Ireland

And so I tentatively take my first steps into the blogosphere. I intend to use this space as a means of explaining and promoting a view of Ireland today and how we can build a New Ireland and restore the All-Ireland Republic promised by the proclamation of 1916. A real Republic shaped by the Irish people themselves rather than an act of Westminster or the IMF or the ECB for that matter. We hear calls for a New Republic and an alternative to the failed politics and economics of the present entity in the 26 Counties. That state is a parody of a true Republic and unworthy of the name. But enough for now. I am about to head to a launch in Naas of a book dealing with the history of Kildare during - what some in my opinion wrongly- call the civil war in 1922/23.
More of that anon.

Slan leat.