At a recent conference of the 1916 Societies the body's concept for One Ireland One Vote was to the fore.
On Saturday 13th February, 1916 Societies Chair Frankie Quinn gave a presentation on the One Ireland One Vote campaign to a conference in Leghowney Community Centre, County Donegal.
The conference was called ‘1916-2016: The Next 100 Years? – A Human Rights Day based on the 1916 Proclamation and the Programme for a Democratic Republic of 1919. It was part of the Donegal County Council’s Programme of events to commemorate the 1916 Rising.
The conference was chaired by former NICRA organiser and human rights lawyer Kevin McCorry, who is also part of The People’s Movement. Other speakers included Betty Holmes of Donegal Action for Cancer Care, Vincent McGrath, who was imprisoned as one of the Rossport Five, James McCrudden, current President of the Irish Country Markets Cooperative, Dr David Landy of Trinity College Dublin, and Caroline Reid of the Irish Refugee Council.
Among those attending were Independent TD Thomas Pringle, Independent councillors John Campbell and Gary Donnelly and Independent MLA candidate Dr Anne McCloskey. Society members from Derry, Donegal, and Tyrone played an active part.
Frankie’s contribution sparked a stimulating debate on the One Ireland One Vote initiative. Following Betty Holmes’ talk on health issues, the challenge of delivering an efficient and adequately resourced health system in Ireland was viewed through the lens of One Ireland One Vote as a vehicle for major social and political change in Ireland. Betty pointed out that Donegal in particular had suffered extreme isolation from services, particularly health services, undoubtedly due to how partition had sandwiched Donegal between the Atlantic and the Border, effectively cutting it off from the Six Counties and leaving it in a remote corner of the Free State.
Betty produced a map showing eight health ‘centres of excellence’ all located in the southern half of the island of Ireland. Frankie pointed out that partition had successfully fostered a ‘divide and conquer’ mentality, with people scrambling for the crumbs of resources within two corrupt jurisdictions. One Ireland One Vote offers a path to a New Ireland via a peaceful revolution rooted squarely in democracy.
Credit is due to the conference organising committee, the Leghowney community, the Charlie Daly Society Donegal for running a 1916 Societies stall at the event, and to Society members Shannon and Saoirse Duggan for supplying high quality Irish music on the day.