In the editorial piece from its winter-issue magazine, Vice Chair of the 1916 Societies, Frankie Quinn, discusses continuing occupation in Ireland and the need for new republican strategies...
The following article appeared as the editorial in the winter-issue of our magazine, released last weekend and available for purchase from all local cumainn priced £2 / €2.
The longest occupation in modern history remains Britain’s ongoing occupation of Ireland – whether in whole or part – an 800 year occupation invariably upheld by indigenous paramilitary forces, state-sponsored murder-gangs and regular army regiments from England. Of course when such murder-gangs are surplus to requirement they are disposed of and put away for another occasion.
The old tried and trusted colonial trick of divide and conquer is alive and well in Ireland. Imperial powers like the British will use any means at their disposal to crush the language, culture and customs of the occupied country. Even better if you can use the ‘poacher-turned-gamekeeper’ to uphold such an occupation, something we see every day at the Stormont Assembly. Here in Ireland we have always had willing participants to ensure Britain and her best interests are catered for.
Britain is not democratic and ignores the national rights of the Irish people. In 1918 the Irish people voted for freedom yet that freedom was denied, with Ireland enduring conflict in one way or another ever since. The North of Ireland is neither a country or a state but an undemocratic, gerrymandered and artificial political entity, upheld by force to serve Britain’s strategic interest in Ireland.
Is there a solution to the conflict here and how do we go about finding one? Well how about applying the democratic principle to Ireland’s occupation, through the holding of an island-wide referendum on Irish Unity. This concept would seem so obvious it brings to mind the ‘wood for the trees’ analogy.
Let’s be serious, the prospective ‘Border Poll’, as envisaged in the 1998 Agreement, cannot achieve Irish Unity and those proposing it must know this – the ‘Triple Lock’ system is designed to ensure it is so. Only a British Secretary of State can call for a poll, it has to account for an inbuilt Unionist Veto, disguised as it is in the language of consent, and beyond all of that Westminster retains ultimate control and must ratify any vote before it becomes accepted.
At present the sectarian card being played by the British is choking the life from ordinary people who want nothing more than to get on with their lives. This will never change while Britain withholds democracy from the people of Ireland. People of whatever religious persuasion should not allow themselves to be used by Britain to divide the Irish people, whether Protestant, Catholic or Dissenter.
We must insist that everyone, regardless of religion, class or any other artificial measure of division, be considered equal in any new Ireland, with all concerned parties and stakeholders in society – the Irish people themselves – given a fair say in future political arrangements for our country. An inclusive and democratic all-Ireland referendum, as proposed by the 1916 Societies in our One Ireland One Vote initiative, in which we set out and decide that future together as equals, can be the means employed to serve that end.
Proinseas O Cuinn
Padraig Pearse Society, Galbally-Cappagh