Recently, one of the two Democratic Senators from my home state of Connecticut invited me and 14 other Irish American leaders from Connecticut to participate in what turned out to be a brief teleconference. Regrettably, only nine of the 15 participants were recognized for comments.
Had I the opportunity, my comments on the topic of instability surrounding Brexit and concerns about the Irish border would have gone something like this. There were events that occurred in 2017 which are significant today:
- The original referendum on Brexit was put forward by PM Cameron. He expected it to fail. Since it went forward he resigned, replaced by PM May.
- The Stormont Assembly in the six occupied counties shuts down.
Martin Maginnis, Deputy First Minister of Stormont, stepped down due to health and died that year.
- Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein, resigned as President of Sinn Fein.
- First Minister and Deputy First Minister of the Stormont Assembly, established by the GFA, have been vacant.
- The DUP came to the political forefront led by Arlene Foster, working closely with PM May, supporting Brexit.
- The terms of the GFA have been completely disregarded by all NI political parties who originally agreed to the document in 1998 including Sinn Fein and its new party president, the NI Secretary, Westminster and Leinster House as well as the new US administration.
- In the US, Trump and his administration take over Washington, and Democrats are upset with the loss in Senate and House too.
- The Mueller investigation into collusion and obstruction of justice begins.
So, there is a lot to unpack here.
In Europe, Brexit is at center stage with heavy concern over the treatment of the only EU member country bordering England i.e. Ireland.
Since imposing Article 50, England had two years to plan their departure from the EU. Unless an extension is granted, that date is March 29, 2019. Note: An extension has been granted since this writing until April 12, 2019.
Now the Irish land border, illegally created in 1920-21, under Brexit is part of something called a backstop plan. The backstop plan was not acceptable to Westminster and the DUP. Promises are made to DUP by PM May to maintain a border (or partition) along with the GFA. May promises to keep the six counties occupied and partitioned, making the DUP happy. In addition, the lifeless GFA, or Clinton legacy, will remain in place to keep the US as guarantor pleased. This action makes absolutely no sense other than the unspoken, disturbing truth that the partition of Ireland is defended by US policy. Representing the Éire Nua US Campaign Committee, we cannot stand for such an egregious policy position.
In 1973, the Éire Nua Program was entered into the House Record by Speaker Tip O’Neill. It was said “a solution to the present situation in Northern Ireland which merits consideration.” In 1978, Chairman of the House, Peter Rodino, with Rep. Eilberg and US Rep. Fish IV, investigated the State Dept on collusion of visas to individuals advocating alternative solutions to the Irish conflict. One notable individual was the Irish co-author of Éire Nua, Ruairi O Bradaigh, President of Sinn Fein, who was denied a visa at that time.
The mission of the Éire Nua US Campaign Committee is to secure the support of the United States Congress to end the imposed 1920 partition of the six northeastern counties, known as Northern Ireland, by England. Moreover, a complete withdrawal of the British military from the six occupied Irish counties. With this accomplished, then the right of self-determination will prosper and grow the re-establishment of a 32-county Federal Irish Republic
The Constitution as envisioned in the Éire Nua program would embody the intent of the 1916 Proclamation as well as the following fundamental principles:
- a Charter of Rights,
- Separation of Church and State
- an independent Judicial system,
- and new government structures.
The continuity of Éire Nua remains strong and it is the only alternative that has been agreed to by republicans, nationalists and loyalists. Discussion of this program with representatives in Belfast and Dublin should be part of any fact-finding mission by US policymakers.
The goal of Éire Nua US Campaign Committee is to bring peace and reunification to the island of Ireland with a new federal Irish republic. Éire Nua is the alternative.
Why will you not have discussions on Éire Nua? I would like a response.
Peadar Mac Maghnuis
Éire Nua US Campaign Committee
March 25, 2019