|Sean Larkin Society|
As we draw closer to the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, the Sean Larkin Society, South Derry, hope to facilitate a range of debates and lectures throughout the local communities and parishes of the South Derry area.
We intend discussing the Proclamation and its underlying call to unite all classes and creeds in Ireland under one sovereign nation, an echo of the ideals of Tone and the United Irishmen from a century beforehand. Our hope is to examine the ideals of the short-lived 1916 Republic and how they remain of relevance to the situation facing contemporary Ireland.
Republicanism is founded on the ideals of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’, themselves an extension of the political thinking of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and their like. Freedom from slavery and the notion of free will were at the core of this doctrine, along with the insistence they could only be achieved through democracy – or people’s power – in others words a republic.
We encourage and hope the Unionist community might engage with us in these discussions. To some in that community the concept of republicanism might seem alien but it need not necessarily be so. In the past a huge element of what today constitutes the Unionist community have played an important role within the development of republicanism and the democratic process. The United Irishmen and their struggle with the Ascendancy in Dublin and the creation of United States of America are but two examples.
In the past ordinary people have been drawn into conflict for the benefit of ruling elites, the injustice meted out creating a cycle of conflict. The only way to resolve these issues is through the medium of real democracy, without any overriding external influence. Anyone who has ever voted to some degree or other believes in the democratic process – or people’s power – or in other words republicanism.
If we are to give the next generation a chance we need to work towards a society that will provide them every opportunity, free from the modern day equivalent of slavery, i.e. debt. If we don’t act soon the neoliberal austerity measures, currently being rammed home by the Tory government at Westminster, through its local partners here in the North, and by the political establishment in the 26-Counties, at the behest of the European Union, IMF and World Bank ‘Troika’, will not only enslave this generation but numerous more after it.
People need to come together and work towards a better future, even if at a local community level only. When people pull together great things can be achieved. Any one of our local GAA clubs or the likes of Carntogher are testament to that.
The 1916 Societies propose a singular, inclusive and fully democratic all-Ireland referendum as the way to realise the ideals set out in the 1916 Proclamation. This sets us apart from the ‘Border Poll’ proposed by others, which would have the Six Counties vote separate from the rest of the country. Such a poll would render any vote in the 26-Counties useless by means of a continuing Unionist Veto. Any such poll remains at the discretion of the British Secretary of State, someone with no mandate on this island, and even if a vote in favor of a United Ireland were to transpire it must then be approved by the British Parliament at Westminster. Where is the democracy in that?
The previous Secretary of State, Owen Patterson, made clear a Border Poll is not on the immediate agenda or to be called anytime soon. Even the most enthusiastic estimates suggest a twenty years period, at the least, before anything resembling the type of majority required to push through a border poll might emerge.
I ask you, can the people of the Six Counties take another twenty years of Stormont inaction, another twenty years without meaningful democracy, with Stormont governing within parameters set by Westminster and according to her agenda?
On that basis we call on all interested parties, individuals and interest groups locally to lend support to our ‘One Ireland One Vote’ initiative, as we seek to build an Ireland that serves all her people, regardless of artificially-imposed divisions that have divided a minority from the majority in the past.
Mise le meas
Séan Ó Brolcháin, PRO Sean Larkin 1916 Society South Derry.