We attach here contributions to the Young Ireland Forum which took place on April 8, at the the Pearse Institute from Mairtin Mac Giolla Eoghain and Seán Ó Dubhláin.
1 – The National Question: IS there a national question anymore – Mairtin Mac Giolla Eoghain
The national question still looms in the halls of the failed institutions of Lenister House and Stormont. Its relevance stems from the failures of constitutional nationalism. The reality staring at all of us, is that our people are dying on our streets from Belfast to Dublin our most vulnerable have been abandoned by these parties of compromise. Even during the period of the Celtic Tiger, one in every four households and one in every five people in the 26 Counties were living in poverty. Beyond the rhetoric there is an absolute fact, and that is that the two institutions in this country, forged through compromise first in 1921 and again in 1998, are illegitimate and do not and cannot represent the Irish people as a whole.
If these bodies have taught us anything, it is this, that the art of compromise is a corruption of the soul and that a compromised peace isn’t a real and ever lasting peace and will not sustain. A country formed from compromise will govern through compromise, as we can see today through austerity measures enforced in 26 counties of Ireland, through Lenister house by a foreign government in Brussels.
In the six counties no matter what colour you paint you lamp post or how often you wrap yourself in the green white and orange, you are still occupied and Britain still rules you to your ruin through her puppets in Stormont. I use the analogy of a tree, the tree is dying, if you trim a few branches and makes it look presentable, and inevitably it is the same tree that is dying. Why not instead dig out the poisoned tree and plant a new one, which is weak at first but will grow strong.
The problems with our nation are evident every day and will remain because the political class of this nation as a whole have no authority, and lack the courage and the conviction to take on the real task at hand, and that is to ensure that all of our people can live in true peace, prosper to their full potential and have a government which values equality, social justice and economic security for all of our people. This is now beyond desire, it is a necessity, we need a United Ireland.
2 – If we achieve a united Ireland how do we govern it? – Mairtin Mac Giolla Eoghain
The country’s history as a colony of England has left its mark on Irish political, social, economic and cultural life. The Ireland we have inherited has all kinds of resources and great potential for national achievement. That potential can be harnessed through the Eire Nua strategy, a federalised Irish Republic which puts the people as a whole in the seat of power.
This is not an appeasement to any one section of our community but instead a legitimate alternative which will see all religions, cultures and creeds respected and enhanced in a pluralist Republic. It will see each of our ancient provinces attain autonomy whilst participating in a national government. This autonomy will allow for a strong local government structure based on and divided up into communities and giving the people the power through community councils. We need a full British withdrawal from the 6 counties. After this we can then create a 32 county constitution using the Proclamation of 1916 as its foundation. This constitution will outline a Charter of Rights, to secure for citizens effective control of their conditions of living, subject to the common good; a structure of government designed to provide the maximum distribution of authority at provincial and local level and the right of Ireland to join international organisations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organisation — so long as such organisations do not subvert Irish sovereignty or neutrality.
“A regime which provides human beings no deep reasons to care about one another cannot long preserve its legitimacy.” – Richard Sennett in “The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism: (1998). Lenister House and Stormont can no longer claim legitimacy, as I said at the beginning our people are dying on our streets and these institutions do not care.
We wish to create a nation that has a sense of fuller democracy as opposed to the false democracy currently in place. A nation that shows real concern for its people, that ensures self-determination. Creating economic democracy to promote self-sufficiency on a local level which will be free from interference whilst the local economy contributes a subsidy to the national economy. We will have a community of communities which are self-reliant yet co-operative and supportive. We must consolidate our nation’s resources before they are dwindled away by the political elite, we must design new measures of economic success. The Irish nation and its resources can sustain and secure its people we can only succeed from this point. Instead of poverty, we will have security and instead of compromised peace and austerity we will have sovereignty and social justice.
An Phoblacht Abu
4 – Is Irish neutrality possible in the current EU?- Seán Ó Dubhláin
Regarding neutrality; Sinn Féin Poblachtach is fully behind Irish sovereignty, if the sovereign Irish nation is not respectful of and maintaining of neutrality it only serves to compromise sovereignty elsewhere, it would make us complicit in the oppression either directly or by proxy of other exploited nations, to quote James Connolly, “The Republic I would wish our fellow-countrymen to set before them as their ideal should be of such a character that the mere mention of its name would at all times serve as a beacon-light to the oppressed of every land”
There are three fronts to the issue of Irish neutrality, the first is the EU, the second the UK, the third the US. None can be ignored, the 26 County State which in our view has hijacked all the trappings of the Republic declared in 1916 was and remains a counter revolutionary state. It collaborates with all the imperial powers, from Brussels, to Westminster to Washington, in all deals the 26 County State, its political and economic sovereignty and integrity comes out tarnished.
First, to quote from the Sinn Féin International Affairs Policy, “Our opposition to the EU is part and parcel of the struggle against imperialism. Just as we oppose English imperialism in Ireland we must also oppose the new imperialism of the EU. The purpose of the political elite of the EU is to build an undemocratic, militarised and ultra-capitalist super-state.”
On April 3rd earlier this month we saw a convoy of six NATO warships docked in Dublin. It seems to have been sold to the public as some kind of great family day out as we seen young children photographed with machine guns and other heavy duty weapons. This is one example of how Irish neutrality is compromised in the EU.
Through the EU Common Defence Clause and the EU Battlegroups the 26 Counties is becoming entrenched in the move towards greater military co-operation across Europe. Presently a joint deployment of the EUTM – European Union Military Training Mission in Mali involves Irish PDF troops under command of the Royal Irish Regiment of the British Army.
To quote from the Sinn Féin website (www.rsf.ie); “As it grows stronger it will assert itself and become involved in what Jack Delores described as the “resource wars” of the 21st Century. We do not believe that Ireland, with its history of being a colonial possession, should involve itself in the oppression of other nations that the growing EU will eventually mean.”
Regarding the UK, the 26 County State maintains a position of neutrality with this war-mongering former super power, the very fact that they continue to maintain an armed occupation of this country should in itself draw a line under relations with them but no, the 26 County State must fully collaborate with the British Government in adhering to its counter revolutionary creation in the halls of Westminster.
Regards the US, there is no doubt that this country has been to the forefront of striking blows for imperialism and oppressing people around the world. The US has vested interests here and requires a non-neutral position, Shannon airport which has become a US military base is a prime example. There is no position of neutrality regards US foreign policy. The Free State has blood on its hands and has played a strategic role in its wars.
All of these points and more are maintained by our entrenchment in the EU, neutrality here is impossible. To conclude with a quote from our International Affairs Policy, “An independent and united Ireland should withdraw immediately from the European Union, reintroduce a national currency and protect its industries, fisheries and farmers.”
5 – Irish identity in the EU, Is uncontrolled immigration good for our country? – Seán Ó Dubhláin
I wish to take this question in two parts. Irish identity in the EU is one issue, the other is uncontrolled immigration, and I will join together opinion on both at the end.
Identity in the EU: Ruairí Ó Brádaigh speaking in 1986 quoted Karl Sandberg an American Journalist when he stated, “Whenever a nation falls down, or a society fails one condition is invariably present, they have forgotten where they came from.”
When we talk about Irish identity we must not forget the concerted undermining of the Irish language, culture and identity, from a 20 year plan which on the face of it sweeps the Irish language under the carpet to the attempted demolishment of large sections of the Moore Street 1916 Battlefield Site.
The media in this country across all Ireland is favourably pro-Anglo-American, this has had a telling impact on Irish identity, because of the English language and being engulfed by Anglo-American media the Anglo-American mind-set and culture has dug into Ireland and it shows in our people. Among our youth, drug and alcohol abuse are at all time high levels, suicide, self-harm and depression are also huge issues effecting many young people who don’t know who they are, what they stand for or where they come from. If our youth are brought up with their cultural integrity forming who they are then such an anomie will not exist as it does in Ireland today.
Seán Ó Brádaigh, brother of the aforementioned Ruairí delivered a speech once entitled ‘An Gaeilge, Why it is so important’, I would like to quote a section of it relevant to Irish identity, “The case for an independent Ireland is based on the historic claim of the Irish nation. We have our own distinct identity and nationality as a people. The core of that identity is our own language, the most Irish thing we possess. We must promote and strengthen Irish. Otherwise, the English language will dominate our thinking and in time we shall become indistinguishable from the English people or the Americans, or become a mid-Atlantic mixture of both. The historic Irish nation with its own identity would be no more.”
With that taken into consideration, whilst we don’t advocate it we don’t believe being in the EU compromises Irish identity, rather this falls to the Irish people weather or not they wish to keep the flame of Irish nationhood alive or not. Successive Governments have failed to provide for the Irish language, so the people must demand of them that more is done to promote and fund Irish language services.
REGARDS uncontrolled immigration; if current trends continue and with twenty four percent of Irish new-borns being to foreign nationals we could face a future where the indigenous Irish/Gaelic culture is completely side-tracked for a European type multi-culturalism which is dominated more by materialist consumerism akin to the United States than any coherent deep rooted common culture.
We have seen multi-culturalism fail in the UK, Germany, France, and Belgium a large extent due to failures of integration. In Ireland we are confident this will not happen, Irish people are more welcoming, and the far-right has never had a warm reception here. But as Ireland becomes more multi-cultural it is all the more important that the Irish language is promoted for all.
It is with great heart to see people of all backgrounds and faiths speaking and learning Irish. Those who come to Ireland to make Ireland their home must be willing to be part of the Irish nation, where this does not exist, where minorities become isolated then the cohesiveness of society breaks down, this cannot be allowed to happen.
As such we in Sinn Féin do not believe that uncontrolled immigration is good for the nation, any sovereign nation must have control over its borders, this is fundamental to national security, it is the responsibility of any Government to ensure the nation state is protected from external threats and all those who enter the country are background checked that they are entering for the right reasons.
Keeping with the ethos of seeing a future sovereign Republic as a beacon light to the oppressed of other nations we would envision Ireland as a safe haven for those seeking Asylum or escaping prosecution. To quote from our social-economic policy SAOL NUA, “A sense that we all have a common identity as human beings as members of the great family of peoples. We wish to play our role in this wider world community as internationalists, on the basis of equality and respect for the rights of others.”
For a small state like Ireland to have uncontrolled immigration whilst trying to revive its own native culture is not wise. It is wiser for Ireland to have a control over its borders, to regulate the intake of immigrants in such a way as to provide for those who need true asylum and those who bring necessary skills beneficial to the demands of the workforce.
This must be understood in the context also of the great mass of young Irish people forced into emigration due to the failure of the current partition States.
Only a sovereign Irish nation free from British, European and American imperialism, operating on its own moral judgements can provide a sound political and economic future for the people of Ireland regardless of ethnic origin.
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