The pending Brexit on October 31, 2019 places Northern Ireland in the eye of the storm. It’s difficult to predict what will happen either in the short or long term to the political and economic entities in Northern Ireland. However, what can be predicted is that both will be severely tested as they are subject to the interests of outside forces who advocate for their own narrow interests, regardless of perceived colonial ties or cultural identities.
Those who nurture and perpetuate the sectarian-driven political system in Northern Ireland must be aware that Brexit poses a threat to its viability as a political force in an age past its time where religious and cultural differences can no longer be exploited or where a 100-year old line drawn across a landscape can no longer effectively separate people who share an historic island nation. Institutionalized sectarianism that underpinned ploys such as the “Orange card” can no longer be depended on to maintain the status quo in the face of a rapidly changing demographic more inclined to openness and equality. The partisan divide that served demagoguery so well for 100 years is being gradually eclipsed by an ever-increasing minority of non-partisan voters who rate inclusiveness and shared values above partisan causes rooted in centuries past.
What then should the people of Northern Ireland do who voted 56% to remain in the European Union knowing that England will do what is expedient for England even if it means setting Northern Ireland adrift? The best choice in our opinion is for Northern Ireland to become part of a Federal Irish Republic wherein they would maintain their own parliament, thus guaranteeing the Province of Ulster effective home rule. They would send representatives to Dail Eireann as they now send representatives to the Westminster parliament. In order to ensure the distribution of political power to the other provinces, Northern Ireland’s negotiators would insist on the establishment of a four-province Federal Ireland over a specific time frame that would allow for the development of a federal constitution and government structures enshrining provisions for devolved powers to Provincial parliaments and local councils.
Such an arrangement would position Northern Ireland to fully participate in the broader economic landscape that Europe provides and would provide for its young people access to the European labor marketplace. It would make Northern Ireland a more attractive place for international investment and a place where sectarianism would give way to utilitarianism.
The Republic of Ireland is also in the eye of the same storm. The economic ties between both entities are substantial, intertwined and enormously beneficial to the citizens on both sides of the political divide. It’s incumbent on the powers to be in the Republic to be open to a proposed deal by their Northern neighbors that would obviate the worst aspects of Brexit and proffer a viable solution to the partition of Ireland. It’s highly probable that the citizens of the Republic would support a Federal solution because those who reside outside of Dublin believe that too much power and privilege is centered in Dublin and its environs to the detriment of the rest of the country. They bemoan the fact that in addition to the entrenched political endowments and entitlements everything of substance, including state-of-the-art medical centers, research facilities, financial institutions, sports and entertainment facilities etc., continue to be sited in Dublin.
Submitted by: Peadar Mac Maghnuis, firstname.lastname@example.org
A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY: THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS A NEW IRELAND
The Treaty of 1921 that partitioned Ireland into
two sectarian statelets was, at worst, a betrayal of Irish aspirations and, at
best, a temporary solution to avoid an all-out war, as claimed by its
signatories and supporters. After nearly
a century of political and economic chaos, it is obvious that the Treaty was
flawed, and is in fact the root cause of the ongoing war. Therefore, it is now time to repeal the
Treaty and replace it with a new agreement wherein the British would concede
Irish sovereignty, thus clearing the way for the Irish people of both
traditions to unite in one free and independent nation.
To this end, Éire Nua is proposing the establishment of a
Constituent Assembly as the first step in the process. The proposed Assembly would draft a new
32-county all-Ireland Constitution that would:
political and popular sovereignty for the protection of human rights and social
a new government structure based on a federation of the four historic provinces
an independent judiciary.
The convening of a Constituent Assembly is a logical first
step in a process designed to bring peace, unity, and prosperity to Ireland. It offers the prospect of a permanent
solution, as opposed to the failed Sunningdale, Hillsdale, GFA and St. Andrews
initiatives put forward by the British and Dublin governments. The proposal is not new, nor is it radical. It is, in fact, similar in many respects to
the 1787 Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia
to draft a new federal constitution for the emerging United States of America.
Since that time, many other emerging nations came into
existence through a similar process. A
prime present-day example is South
Africa, a country where the vast majority of
its people have been enslaved by a descendant colonist minority. Many felt this situation would never change,
but South Africa
today is a country in transition.
The road towards a peaceful Ireland is fraught with obstacles,
inherent and protected in the political and economic status quo. In this climate, any proposal guaranteeing
equal rights and opportunity to all the people of Ireland is not welcome. The initiatives put forward by the British
governments are minor revisions to the Treaty of 1921, primarily intended to
perpetuate the status quo, and therefore destined to end in failure.
The proposed Constituent Assembly would be representative of
the whole people of Ireland and would be elected by the
suffrage of the adult population. The
Assembly’s sole function would be to draft a new Constitution. The draft Constitution would then be
submitted to the people in referendum for acceptance or rejection. This open democratic process would be more
meaningful to the Irish people today than the closed-door meetings held between
the same politicians who have failed the people so often in the past. All elements of Irish society would be free
to contest the election for the Assembly.
This approach would ensure that the relations of the Irish people with
each other and with the world at large would be determined through free an open
In order for this process to succeed all politicians and
political parties, expressing an interest in or concern for Ireland’s future must put aside
their differences and participate for the common good. In addition, all those individuals and
political parties now excluded must be included in the process and allowed
access to the media. If for no other
reason, the Irish people deserve the opportunity to participate in such a
Welcome to Part 4 of a look at the New Constitution, the Independent Judiciary, on the New Ireland Podcast. This podcast is brought to you by the Éire Nua US Campaign Committee.
Having marked the 100th anniversary of the First Irish Dáil Éireann, it is historically meaningful to start universal discussions on an All-Ireland, democratically based, united, federal Irish Republic.
Specifically, the time is now to discuss the New Ireland government envisioned by Éire Nua authors in 1971. The provincial government model was favorably received by unionist, and nationalist leaders, church leaders and other political party leaders at that time. Unfortunately, the constructive, democratic, movement was banned by the British, allowing the war to continue and over 3600 lives killed.
Now, the presentation of the proposed government structures will embody a system of power-sharing administered at the national, provincial, regional and district government levels. This system will ensure the maximum distribution of governmental powers and will accommodate the unique and distinctive character of each of the historic provinces. In addition to the above advantages, it grants autonomy to each of the provinces to pursue interests for which they have natural affinity including cultural, traditional, and economic interests.
Our discussion continues with a look at the New Constitution, the Independent Judiciary, Part 4 of 5. This is presented by Éire Nua Committee Member Maggie Trainer from NY.
(Special Note: The Éire Nua US Committee podcast production would not be possible without the guidance, research, interpretations and numerous papers written or provided by Tomas and Mike Coisdealba, founders of the Éire Nua movement in the United States.)