Thursday, November 03, 2005


Thursday Thoughts: Irish parties correct

I see Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has reacted with anger at the lack of support from the Government and opposition parties towards Sinn Féin's motion in support of a united Ireland.

The motion calls on the Irish Government to draw up a Green Paper to prepare for the political, social, economic and cultural unification of the island and to engage in dialogue with unionists.

Outside the gates of the Dáil, Mr Adams said he could not understand the lack of support from the Government and opposition parties.

"For the life of me, why these parties which have as stated policy positions the objective of Irish unity, cannot support this motion, it’s beyond me," he said.

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin defended the motion by saying that it was imperative for all parties to work towards a United Ireland.

"We’re asking them to join with us to change it from an aspiration into a proactive achievement. Working together we believe that we can indeed hasten that day," he said.

Mr Ó Caoláin said he believed that re-unification could have benefits for all communities.

"As republicans, we’re absolutely committed to working towards a United Ireland not only in the interests of Irish republicans and nationalists, but we believe in the interests of all those who share this island," he said.

"We believe it’s a process of convincing, it’s a process of persuasion and we are up to the dialogue and the engagement."

I would like to say that I commend the decision made by the Government and the Opposition to oppose this motion. We must remember that the Government and the Opposition have not found fault with the idea of Irish Unity, rather they have found fault with Sinn Féin's method of achieiving it.

You see, the logic behind this 'Green Paper' is deeply flawed and takes one back to the dark old days of when Irish nationalism showed a shocking failure to acknowledge or understand the unionist position.

The Green Paper calls for 'dialogue with unionists' - yet Sinn Fein are more interested in preaching to the converted!

Caoimhghin O'Caoláin calls for a "process of convincing" and a "process of persuasion" yet he is trying to "convince" and "persuade" the wrong group! If Sinn Féin truly want dialogue with unionists, why are they ignoring them?

Irish nationalism needs to learn from it past mistakes. Unionists don't want the spectre of the South looming over them, irredentist twinkle in eye. Articles 2 and 3 were amended for a reason.

Of course, the Irish parties saw what this motion was really about - political point scoring. If the motion passes, Sinn Fein give themselves a nice big pat on the back and declare to the Irish people that what they have been saying all along has been the truth, that they are the ones who are most concerned with attaining Irish Unity. Now that the Southern parties have seen through that old rubbish, Spin Féin will churn out some other propaganda about how they are now the only Irish party who want Unity and how they have shown the Irish people that the other parties are not interested in it.

Irish people must see through these lies and must not be fooled.

I believe that the majority of people in Ireland are still nationalist and do still want a United Ireland. Just because we differ from the route that Sinn Féin wish to take does not mean we have decided to stop our journey. We're all heading in the same direction but we're taking different routes. Would it be better if we were all travelling on a single, united path? Yes. But for now, that is not feasible and this 'Green Paper' will not change that.

The reality is, this 'Green Paper' offers a safety blanket for Republicans. It's a way back into the comfort zone of green values. It's a scary time for Republicans as they are heading out on to a new path where the road is bumpy and fraught with difficulty. Even so, they will not find solace in these green gestures.

Rhetoric sounds good to the ear, but it doesn't change what looks bad to the eye - the border. That is the problem.

So come on Sinn Féin. Put away the paper and instead get out there and get talking to unionists. It's a tough journey alright - but it will be worth it when we get there.


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