Sean Bresnahan of the Thomas Ashe Society in Omagh questions the right of the British Crown, with its supporters in local politics, to issue a gold-mining license at Curraghinalt in West Tyrone.
Irish republicanism asserts that our natural resources should only be recovered – if ever at all – under a government of national unity in a sovereign all-Ireland republic, where they would be utilised for the benefit of the Irish people. With that in mind, why are local representatives of Sinn Féin, a supposed republican party, supporting the extraction of gold from the hills of Tyrone by the mining company Dalradian, under a license deriving from the British Crown?
In recent weeks and in response to local objections, Sinn Féin have rightly voiced concern at the proposed use of cyanide at the Curraghinalt mine in Greencastle. But there is a wider issue which they’re clearly on the wrong side of as Irish republicans. For Britain, as an occupying power, had no right to issue a license for Curraghinalt in the first instance.
Pat Doherty publicly welcomed Dalradian to West Tyrone and only last week his party referred to the positives to be had in terms of jobs and investment. Are such ‘positives’, themselves only short-term, a worthy return for the plundering of our natural resources to the tune of billions, little of which will be seen by those who own them in the first place, the Irish people?
Clearly not and it would be better that Sinn Féin review its support for this venture entire, with the British occupation of Ireland to the forefront of consideration (they haven’t gone away you know). They might read once more the 1916 Proclamation, to which they claim affinity and which no doubt will be spoke of come Easter. They might reflect on its mention of the ‘right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland’.
With that same right in mind, in what is the Centenary Year of the Rising, they should say ‘no’ to the concept of ‘extraction under occupation’, rather than limiting protests to the matter of environment. That they have not done so offers insight into how far that party has been dragged from the republican position over recent years.