Representatives of the 1916 Societies, the fast growing republican organisation, which began in the heartlands of Tyrone and is spreading across Ireland, are to officially launch their ‘One Ireland One Vote’ campaign and petition in Manhattan, New York City.
Kevin Martin, National Finance Officer of the Societies, who will address the meeting, noted:
We are approaching the centenary of the Easter Rising and the ideals and spirit of 1916 remind us that the right to national freedom and sovereignty, as proclaimed by the visionary leaders of that time, has not yet come to pass for the people of six Irish counties.
Today those ideals seem further away than ever. A survey last week, published in the Guardian newspaper, showed how only one in five in the North believe there will be a United Ireland within 20 years – half what it was at the time of the Good Friday Agreement. On top of that, there are some in the 26-Counties who now feel they have little or no obligation towards fellow Irish citizens living under a British administration directed by David Cameron.
The 1916 Societies were formed in 2009 in East Tyrone and are now spreading around the country. We are proposing a peaceful alternative strategy to revive the campaign for Irish Unity and rebuild momentum towards that end. We contend that current British policy gives Nationalists the trappings of power at Stormont while upholding a permanent ‘Unionist Veto’ over anything resembling real change, much less movement to a United Ireland.
We believe all Ireland should be a sovereign republic as set out in the 1916 Proclamation and are committed to achieving the reunification of Ireland on that basis. We believe in the right of the Irish people to national self-determination and demand this be exercised in the form of a 32-county, inclusive and democratic all-Ireland referendum on Irish Unity, requiring at its end a full British withdrawal from all of Ireland.
Nationalist political parties in Stormont promised a United Ireland by 2003, then 2014, then 2016. They now say we are in a ‘countdown’ to freedom, while more and more it looks like the British are succeeding in counting us out. No constitutional change through a Border Poll, as set out in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, will ever happen. In actual fact a Border Poll denies Irish citizens in the 26-Counties their democratic right to vote on Irish Unity and as such is designed to suit the Unionist majority vote in the Six Counties.
Such a Border Poll gives the British Secretary of State a supreme veto over Irish self-determination; it discriminates against the majority of the people of Ireland and is designed as a ‘Triple Lock’ against Irish Unity. This makes no sense whatsoever for republicans pursuing a United Ireland.
Britain clearly states, backed up by its own legislation, that it will only call such a poll if and when satisfied as to its outcome. Beyond that, any decision is legally non-binding and subject to the further assent of the British Parliament at Westminster. This effectively bars any movement towards ending partition without British agreement, ensuring the notion of Irish Unity remains no more than an aspiration with little prospect of being physically realised.
This cannot remain unchallenged and thus the 1916 Societies campaign for what we see as the only alternative – a free and open all-Ireland referendum to determine future constitutional arrangements. We have a vision and a strategy for Irish freedom which is gaining traction with every passing month. We believe our initiative holds the key to defeating current British strategy and can put us back on track to achieving those same ideals proclaimed almost a century ago in Dublin.
We invite all with an interest in full independence for Ireland, for the restoration of the Sovereign Irish Republic proclaimed in 1916, to come along to the Wolfe Tone’s Irish Pub and Kitchen, 37 East 29th Street, between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue, at 3pm, Saturday 3rd of October. Together there we can discuss our new strategy for Irish freedom and hopefully determine how the people of New York and the wider United States can help us empower this initiative.
Admission is free and for anyone requiring further information please call 914-652-7317.