Thursday, December 16, 2004
Thursday Thoughts:Ireland's Role
The Republicanism of Sinn Fein and others is doomed to failure as for all its claims about wanting reunification it still markets itself as being as distinguishable from Britishness as possible.The idiocy of the Sinn Fein position is evident in their ties to the IRA while at the same time supporting the GFA.The GFA states for unity to occur,a majority in the North must support it.It is clear from the recent census results that this won't happen through out breeding the unionists(a good thing as it would lead to more heartache).One wonders therefore why Sinn Fein if they truly desire unity remain tied to an organisation that unionists HATE with all their might.In other words,Sinn Fein is a PARTITIONIST PARTY.
For Irish unity to ever occur,nationalists must learn to respect the right of Britishness on this island.Personally,I have no problem with it.We have experienced invasions from Celts,Vikings and Normans.The anti-Britishness that is held in some quarters of natioanlism must be resigned to the past.I favour Irish unity more than anything else.I support a republican style of government over a monarchy however if a united Ireland meant sacrificing a republic,I'd back that.To me,unity matters more.From 1937-1949,Ireland was not officially a republic after all.
So then,how should nationalism hope to pursue reunification?Well,I'll outline the role I think an Irish government ought to pursue to help pave the way for talks on unity.
Firstly,yesterday was a great step forward.Involvement from the north in southern affairs is a great way of ignoring the influence of the border to Irish people.Other methods that should be pursued:
- Involvement from the North in deciding the Irish Presidency.If it is acceptable for someone from Ireland's north to be the President surely people from Ireland's north should be allowed to vote in the election.Again,this shows an ignorance to the border.
- An ambassador should be established for southern unionists.A move such as this helps to dispel accusations of anti-Britishness labelled at the Republic and such an ambassador could set about acknowledging the disgraceful treatment given to unionists in the Irish Free State after partition that is rarely mentioned.
- An Irish Government should entitle anyone born in the Republic to classify themselves as Irish and British.This acknowledges that if unity ever were to occur,unionists and their right to be British would be respected.An ambassador for southern unionists could be involved in such a move.
- I would like to see the links between the two islands strengthened and I feel a fitting time would be during the Rememberance celebrations each year.I find it so sad that the Republic doesn't acknowledge properly those who fought in wars for Britain and an all-Ireland rememberance would go down well north and south I feel.
- Moves should be made by an Irish Government to take all sports on an all-Ireland level.I see this is happening right now in most sports accept football.I think an all-Ireland football team would be a great way to unite the people.
- I think efforts should be made to push for an all-Ireland police force.This has been discussed in the past but rarely with much seriousness.I think it would be a useful move.
- There should be regular meetings with the monarchy.When is the proposed visit from Elizabeth going to take place?I want to see visits from the monarchy every six months at least to show unionists we respect their identity.
- And while this might be the most controversial thing I propose,I am firmly of the opinion that Ireland should rejoin the Commonwealth.When Mandela became President of South Africa one of the first things he did was apply to rejoin.Ireland is the only country to have left the Commonwealth and not gone back.While this might be a source of pride for some nationalists,it shouldn't be.What good did leaving do?Nothing.It brought about the Ireland Act and destroyed the last link between north and south.There are republics in the commonwealth today and there is no reason why Ireland shouldn't apply to rejoin.Ahern at one point expressed an interest in debating the issue more thoroughly but nothing has been heard since.I feel rejoining would be a good move as it again shows unionists we are not intimidated by Britishness and furthermore Ireland could be allowed compete in the Commonwealth games as one team representing the island which would do much good for all-Ireland relations.
In conclusion,it is clear to me that for Irish unity to ever be on the discussion table,nationalists must put aside anti-British hostility and recognise the special relationship of unionists and the British mainland.Nationalists should not hope to try and rip this relationship from the hands of unionism.For Irish reunifcation to be seen as a possibility,nationalists must set aside bitterness and assure unionists that a united Ireland will not see a repeat of the poor treatment dished out to unionists in the Free State.Forget the partitionist nonsense of a united Ireland by 2016 and talk of outbreeding and get down to building an island for the future that we all can enjoy.Collins declared he hoped the Free State would offer "The freedom to achieve freedom".I say it is time the Republic set about doing this and made the Republic the model for a united Ireland.
Sinn Fein's efforts will never work.Nationalism is built on revolution,but it must move forward through evolution.
© 2008 United Irelander.