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Advancing Irish unity…. can that happen? January 26, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Interesting point made at the SF conference on Irish unity at the weekend. As reported in the IT…

Kevin Maher, a writer and commentator, told the conference in Dublin that others besides Sinn Féin needed to begin to develop positions and raise their voices, otherwise the debate would remain marginalised.
“The debate needs to be deShinerised. The whole of Irish politics needs to buy into this debate,” said Mr Maher, a former special adviser to a Labour northern secretary Shaun Woodward.

I’ve long suggested that SF’s attitude to unity has been broadly positive – certainly vastly more proactive politically and analytically in the last decade or so than other self-described republican parties of whatever stripe. Perhaps this is because it has always seemed, and this may simply be a perception, or it may reflect a reality, to want to address the issue. It is striking to me how other parties and formations who are claim both a republican and all-island approach seem in practice largely disinterested in what that all-Ireland might actually look like, let alone the steps to bring it about. Simply bringing more voices into the process has been useful and important in itself. Not least..

The unionist commentator Alex Kane told the conference the notion of “deshinnerisation” was apposite. He said any such debate was not possible between Sinn Féin and the DUP.
“The two key main parties are not be able to exchange simple civic courtesies,” he said.
Mr Kane argued a border poll would be very divisive as 90 per cent of unionists would “under no circumstances be persuadable to a United Ireland.
“They don’t care, they do not want a united Ireland (under any circumstances),” he said.
He said that only 15 to 20 per cent of unionists would be persuadable. He also said that nobody was worse at making the argument for the union than unionists themselves. He said if such an argument could be made, a percentage of Catholics and nationalists could also be “persuadable” to the view that retaining the union was preferable.

Engaging with that reality, a unionism that does not want to not be unionist is a massive challenge in and of itself. How to progress matters in light and with that.

Mary Lou McDonald touched on that:

That would necessitate imagination she added, where equality and citizenship were the core values, where religions were given esteem but not allowed to dominate, where equal esteem was given to the orange and green traditions.

But orange and green aren’t just cultural traditions. If only they were some might say. Both are political traditions and it is, fundamentally, the political that will determine matters in future.

A work in progress.

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Comments»

1. Paddy Healy - January 26, 2017

It is of course the political which will determine the issue. Gerry Adams call for FF, FG, Lab to become “persuaders for Irish Unity” is grossly misleading. These parties, despite formal protestations, are totally opposed to Irish Unity. While Sinn Fein were in the Mansion House, the real tradition of the irst Dáil was being continued on the streets at Central Bank Plaza!
Agreed JANUARY 21 MANIFESTO READ AT DUBLIN MARCH by Pól Ó Scannaill, 1916 Societies
FULL TEXT here For a 32 County Campaign Against Austerity http://wp.me/pKzXa-tz

The manifest is grounded on the teachings of James Connolly-“the cause of Irish Unity is a Social Cause”. The Democratic Programme of the First Dail was quoted. In that programme the right to human welfare was placed above the right to private property. A return to this principle is urgently necessary to stop evictions of people from homes and farms. The preamble to the Fenian Manifesto 1867 was referenced. The Fenian document stressed the necessity to overthrow foreign landlords who were sucking the blood out of the country. At a time when Ireland is being sold off to vultures who are moving billions out of the country, the overthrow of these international gangsters is again necessary.
It will only be done by Mass Mobilisation on a 32-county basis
Remenber the 1918 election was preceded by an all-Ireland general strike against conscription !
An All-Ireland Campaign Against Cuts And Austerity is the task of the hour!
For a new Michael Davitt ! For a new James Connolly!

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2. The Broken Elbow - January 26, 2017

Complete gobbedygook……..such debates serve only one purpose, to sustain the myth that SF still have an all-ireland goal.

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An Sionnach Fionn - January 26, 2017

One may disagree about SF’s methods to achieve reunification, or if reunification is even possible, desirable or whatever. but there is no doubting that the party is serious about wanting to achieve it. I have yet to meet a dedicated SF activist who did not place that goal as their number one objective. Even back in the day, it was all about a reunited Ireland not specifically a 32 County Socialist Republic. That was just the formulation, a rhetorical flag of convenience that maybe Keenan and a few others actually believed in.

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The Broken Elbow - January 26, 2017

I am not talking about the activists. The gobbledygook is for them…..

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An Cathaoirleach - January 26, 2017

On the spot, Anthony!

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An Sionnach Fionn - January 26, 2017

Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean that the leadership doesn’t believe its own gobbledygook. SF may be floundering around, hoisted by its own GFA petard, but its end goal is still the same. It might not have clue how to get there, and may be in trouble internally and electorally, but as a whole the movement still wants to achieve reunification sooner rather than later. It is not FF, talking 32 Cos but thinking 26. At least, not yet.

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Joe - January 26, 2017

I’d agree with An Sionnach Fionn. A united Ireland is SF’s raison d’etre, surely. Can’t agree with Broken Elbow’s contention that it’s a myth that SF still have an all-Ireland goal.
If the gobbledygook jibe is aimed at SF’s ideas about equal esteem for Orange and Green traditions and so on, well, leave it out, Elbow. I welcome SF and anyone else spending time talking, discussing, thinking through, proposing this kind of stuff.
It’ll all cut little ice with unionists cos unionists be unionists, like. But at least it shows some recognition that there’s some complexity to be teased through in this united Ireland idea.

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3. An Cathaoirleach - January 26, 2017

Matthew Engel’s Guardian piece from last weekend, fairly sums up the stalemate. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/21/northern-ireland-an-uncertain-peace

The annual departure of up to 2,000 UKNI school leavers to GB for university is now largely a loss of youngsters from Nationalist backgrounds, taking places in the better universities. The top eleven schools in Northern Ireland are all Catholic. The BLP MP Conor McGinn is just one example.

There will never be a “united” Ireland, whatever that means anyway. Logical step for the Irish Government is to ignore Uncle Gerry’s pleading & whining. Time to join Schengen and leave the UKNI (GB & NI) to their own devices.

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EWI - January 26, 2017

There will never be a “united” Ireland, whatever that means anyway. Logical step for the Irish Government is to ignore Uncle Gerry’s pleading & whining. Time to join Schengen and leave the UKNI (GB & NI) to their own devices.

Ah, a contribution from the demographic who don’t give a shit about the fate of Irish people in the six counties, apart from the threat to the FF-FG-Lab Troika from ‘Uncle Gerry’.

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WorldbyStorm - January 26, 2017

It’s not either or An Cathaoirleach. One can remain within the EU and still work for a UI. Moreover it is impossible to ‘leave’ NI to its own devices. The GFA/BA specifically predicates against that, quite apart from which it would be a massive dereliction of responsibility of this state to do so – and not for ethical reasons alone but also from practical considerations in relation to undermining support for armed conflict.
Never is a very long time, and particularly when one cannot define what an UI is. Personally I think an UI can take many forms well beyond the traditional one. I think it both has to and should do.

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4. roddy - January 26, 2017

An Cathaoirleach,you are a free state labour member who knows nothing about the North.First of all ,the broken elbow is Maloney not dissident mouthpiece Anthony McIntyre .(although both cooperate in the ill fated Boston tapes etc).Also those school leavers who depart the north and stay in Britain are overwhelmingly from the unionist community.You would love the North to be “as British as Finchley” but I can assure you it is not and even as someone who is approaching 60,I have neverseen the North as unstable as it is today.Unionism is in turmoil as many of them realise that the Brexit they voted for is a complete f — up for the Northern economy. As I said on here before ,the unionist farmers whose every minute is devoted to their farms and treasured above all else would jump into a new Ireland if it saved their livelihoods. The DUP are becoming more chaotic with every passing day and are starting to brief journalists against Foster.The stall in the SF vote will be reversed in this election as I have never seen such interest in registration and postal voting in 20 years.

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5. sonofstan - January 26, 2017

http://www.restore.ac.uk/UPTAP/presentations/event090826/hollywood%20PRESENTATION.pdf

The above would tend to support the rodster with regard to out migration of NI school leavers, but it’s from 2008. AC, have you something more up to date?

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6. CL - January 26, 2017

With First Minister O’Neill and Tanaiste McDonald in power as Brexit takes effect many risks and opportunities are possible.

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7. Paddy Healy - January 26, 2017

The reasson the partition of Ireland tookplace was that The Irish Bourgeoisie unionist and “nationaist” were too weak to control the Irish working class and small farmers in a united Indepenent Ireland framework. Unlike the case of the the French Revolution,the working class ha alreay been formed as a strong and numerous class before political power beckone for the Irish Bourgoisie which dominate the First Dáil
Connollys statement that the Irish National Question is a social question was fully vindicated during the war of inependence and the Civil war.
This wasn’t a theoretical issue for the Irish Bourgoisie,They knew it from experience!

Dev and Collins made a political election pact at the beginning of the civil war when they were literally at daggers drawn . Why? In his book-Liam Mellowes and the Irish Revolution,C.Desmond Greaves(Connolly Association London) explained that this was “the red brigandage” thatwas rampant in Munster which drove them into the pact.Red flag creameries,land seizures,farm labourer strikes frightened the life out of all wings of the propertied classes.(perhaps those of us from South Tipp have an advantage in understanding these matters!) .As recounted By Ernie O’Malley in the Singing Flame,the bourgeois republican leadership(Liam Lynch,Rory O’Connor etc) literally allowed Collins and the British government to build an army to defeat them because they were totally paralysed by fear of the masses and refuse to go on the offensive while there was time!
Basically the pathetic (but nasty an treacherous) Irish Bourgoisie cannot control the Irish masses without the backing of the British State and more recently other states as well (Germany,US etc)

This is the reason that the greatest enemy of Irish Unity is the Free State Bourgoisie and their parties.Urging them to become “persuaders”for Irish Unity is at best delusion and at worst treachery. The problem is not primarily one of getting the consent of unionists but of defeating the bourgoisie. Partition is a framework in which they feel they can safely rule.

Mary Lou to-day and Gerry Adams in the lead up to the formation of the current government have offered to enter coalition in Dublin as a minority party.Sinn Fein said in the EU Referendum That the Fiscal Treaty Was a renunciation of Irish Sovereignty “which Flies in the faceof the 1916 Proclamation”(Caoimhín ó Caoláin in Dail). The Sinn Féin pre-budget position was in the framework of th Fiscal Treaty. How is it that no matter how much Sinn Féin grovels, the Free State Parties are determined to keep them out of government until the Free State Parties have no choice?
Currently, the most rebellious section of the Irish Population is northern nationalism after a 30 year war. This is the cornerstone of SF support. Despite the Sinn Féin leadership, these could destabilise a Free State administration.What self respecting Free State Capitalist would want that?

While Micheal Martin and Enda Kenny Live,Michael Collins and LiamLynch will never die!!! Partition is at the heart of Capitalist Rule in Ireland

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EWI - January 26, 2017

As recounted By Ernie O’Malley in the Singing Flame,the bourgeois republican leadership(Liam Lynch,Rory O’Connor etc) literally allowed Collins and the British government to build an army to defeat them because they were totally paralysed by fear of the masses and refuse to go on the offensive while there was time!

This is actually true, as is obvious from the witness statements and indeed the press reports of the time. Contra to his portrayal by a coterie of supposed Irish historians, O’Connor hesitated and compromised, giving up strategic positions in Dublin rather than have war with a Provisional Government whose National Army (at first no larger than Collins’s personal following) was desperately weak and relied on British Army protection.

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8. CL - January 27, 2017

“I have to say, I never really subscribed to that notion of a left-wing government, certainly not in the short-term. I mean, who are the left?”- Gerry Adams.

Will he go to the White House?

Sinn Féin, he says, repudiates the views and comments of US president Donald Trump. Then he adds: “In principle, if we were invited, yes.”
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/interview-gerry-adams-casts-doubt-on-future-of-ni-executive-1.2952790

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9. Paddy Healy - January 27, 2017

UK RULES OK!
GOO FRIDAY AGREEMENT WILL NOT PREVENT THE UK TAKING NORTHERN IRELAND OUT OF THE EU–BELFAST COURTS HAVE DECIDED READ MORE: http://wp.me/pKzXa-tz
Cross-Community Consent NOT NEEDED FOR BREXIT. CONSENT REQUIREMENT ONLY APPLIES TO LEAVING UK! Irish.TIMES
British Supreme Court had already decided that NI EXECUTIVE NEED NOT EVEN BE CONSULTED ON TRIGGERING BREXIT!

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10. Paddy Healy - January 27, 2017

Related iscussion now taking place on Facebook
Tom Stokes FacebookAccount
Yesterday at 12:59pm
Why?
Why would anybody in Sinn Féin even countenance let alone voice the prospect of being a junior partner in a coalition led by a counter-revolutionary party of either stripe, at a time when the counter-revolutionary hegemony is finally starting to weaken?
I note that word ‘pragmatic’ has crept into the vocabulary. That is a Fianna Fáil word, to cover a multitude of sins. When pragmatism wins out, core principles are easily thrashed. History tells us that. And the Shinners should know their history. They certainly claim to.
Why now?
Is this what a change of leadership means? Are other potential candidates comfortable with this? Are party members? Are existing Sinn Féin voters, or potential voters – other than ‘soft’ Fianna Fáil voters who might be won over to a more ‘pragmatic’ Sinn Féin?
The Labour Party was ‘pragmatic’ in 2011. Where is that party now? But worse, where are the victims of that ‘pragmatism’ now – with O’Leary in their graves, or scattered to the four corners of the earth, or homeless, or rotting on hospital trolleys.
There is no reforming of the 1937 Constitution, or of the two counter-revolutionary parties that created and sustained it to the detriment of the greater mass of people. Ask women if that constitution has worked for them, ask our millions of exiles, ask our starving, stunted children. Ask the homeless and the dispossessed.
True republicans know that a true republic requires a very different constitution fit for the needs and built on the core principles of the republic particularly if there is a prospect of unity that requires support from a significant proportion of disaffected people on this island.
At a time when there are clear signs of a shift in thinking among the people, at a time when left-progressives are working together to exploit and enhance that, this is at best foolishness and loose talk, and at worst an undermining of the drive to correct the crimes of the past by creating a true republic owned by the people.
A conversation needs to take place? It certainly does, and it will not just be confined within the Sinn Féin party.
We have three counter-revolutionary parties. We don’t need a fourth.
Surely that is well understood?·

Comment: Basil Miller

Basil Miller

January 27 at 11:11am

Quite right, Tom. I note that for some time, to address all the questions we face, including both austerity and its offshoots and the issues around the ‘national question’, Paddy Healy and others have been calling for a movement to build towards a 32-county People’s Assembly to tease out the issues and determine a new constitutional settlement.

With the 100th anniversary of the First Dáil approaching in a couple of years — the nearest thing to a Constituent Assembly we have ever had — it seems a worthy project to me. If we started wholeheartedly now, such an Assembly could be in session in January 2019, a fitting way to mark the centenary.

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11. Paddy Healy - January 29, 2017

For An All-Ireland Constituent Assrembly- A genuine All-Ireland Second Dáil to Commemorate the Centenary of The First All-Ireland Dail in January,1919 http://wp.me/pKzXa-Nj
it is now clear that huge burdens are being imposed on Irish People North and South by foreign powers with the collusion of Irish political collaborators North and South. There is no shred of political sovereignty left to the Irish People with Westminister Rule being implemented in the north and Franco-German (EU) rule being implemented in the south.
The will of the majority of the Irish People cannot be expressed through British Institutions in the North and a 26-county parliament which lacks all sovereignty in the wake of the Fiscal Treaty

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