Ethnic cleansing and colonisation of a country, this is what is happening in Palestine today in 2021. The western media are trying, and failing, to make us believe there is a conflict or war between "Israel" and Hamas, nothing could be farther from the truth.

In 1917 the British government declared to the Jewish people through lord Rothschild, that Britain would establish a home for them in Palestine. It became known as the 'Balfour Declaration' and just like that an entire people were put on notice that they, their homes, their way of life and culture would be no more.

From then until now Palestinian owned land has been confiscated and given to Jewish settlers in a clear act of ethnic cleansing and colonialism.

We here in Ireland are all too aware of this tactic of trying to control a country through a process of colonisation. In the 16th and 17th centuries the plantation of Ireland began, whereby Irish owned land was confiscated and given to people from England and Scotland, these people became known as the settlers or planters. We are still living with this legacy today and that is why in Ireland we have such an affinity with the people of Palestine as they struggle to resist the colonisation of their lands.

The process of ethnic cleansing was intensified in Palestine in 1949 with the displacement of over 700,000 Palestinians and the destruction of their homes and farms to ensure they had nowhere to return.

One of the main demands of the Palestinians is the right to return and the symbol of this is a key. Many people still hold the keys to their homes and although a football stadium or shopping centre may now stand where their village once was, the displaced people teach their children and grandchildren of that place so that one day they can return. There are over 7,000,000 Palestinian refugees worldwide and more being added to the list everyday, making them the largest refugee group in the world.

Today there are over 260 illegal settlements in and around the West Bank alone, housing over 200,000 illegal settlers on stolen Palestinian land. Every day more and more Palestinians are being forced from their homes and the land cleared to make way for more Israeli settlers who travel from all over the world. This is illegal under international law and the war crimes being committed by Israel and it's settlers are being blamed on the defenceless Palestinians. Israel is attempting to annex the West Bank and wipe if from the map leaving no trace of Palestine.

Britain, in their efforts to occupy Ireland, underestimated the will of the Irish people and are struggling to keep their grip on this land. We believe that the people of Palestine will, like us, never give up on their quest to regain sovereignty and a right to self determination.

Our struggles go on and like oppressed people around the world, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Palestine.

Israel out of Palestine.

Britain out of Ireland.


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The violent imposition of partition one hundred years ago this week was a crime against the Irish people. The continuation and maintenance of partition perpetuates that crime. The democratic will of the Irish people cannot be expressed so long as partition remains.

The Good Friday Agreement is part of that maintenance process as it fulfils its counter democratic purpose of securing British interests in Ireland.

The gerrymandered statelet has evolved to a point where within it a triple lock guarantee from the British establishment ensures that one constitutional view prevails over another. There is no voting mechanism which can sanitise this assault on Irish democracy.

The Irish people cannot be held to ransom wherein our right to peace can only be considered if our right to local and national democracy is abandoned. This is what the so-called peace process has delivered to all our people.

What is required now, and what Irish republicanism needs to articulate and construct, is a sovereign democracy process as the only route to conflict resolution. We must, as a first step, completely expose the counter democratic out-workings of partition and its institutions in our country.

Our analysis can no longer be dismissed from the comfort blanket of being labelled anti-peace. When we were asked what our alternative was it was with the presumption that we did not possess one.

Our analysis has been proved correct. Partition has failed our people. The processes of partition continue to fail our people. A movement for sovereign democracy is the only way forward. The cause of conflict in Ireland remains.

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Updated: May 3

Main oration by Francie Mackey, chairman of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement:

This year, at Volunteer Ronan McLoughlin’s commemoration, we are witness to a convergence of historical events of telling political significance.

This week, one hundred years ago, the violence of partition was inflicted on our country. The prophetic wisdom of Tone and Pearse was ignored by the Home Rule mindset, whose agreement with the British to divide our country, set in place a counter democratic political system which continues to this day.

Tone and Pearse adjured us that peace in Ireland was wholly conditional on an end to Westminster’s violation of our sovereignty and that reconciliation amongst our people can only come to pass in a sovereign republic.

Partition is the embodiment of the carefully fostered differences that the British manipulated to secure their interests in Ireland. The welfare of the Irish people is secondary to those interests, even of those who claim loyalty to the Crown.

Edward Carson recognised this just as Arlene Foster now recognises Boris Johnson’s duplicity over unionist concerns regarding Brexit. Are they now to believe him when he states that a Border Poll is in the very distant future?

This inherent distrust of the establishment they pledge loyalty to explains why, one hundred years after partition, loyalists are still rioting in the statelet that was gerrymandered for them.

There is no democratic redemption for partition. Republicans cannot condone any instrument which claims to seek constitutional change whilst giving credence to the implication that the constitutional status quo is democratically maintained.

Appeasing partition perpetuates British violence in Ireland. When Pearse told us Ireland unfree shall never be at peace that included the absence of peace within the Irish unionist community also. One hundred years of rioting does not deserve to be celebrated.

Four decades ago ten Irish republicans died on hunger strike in the H Blocks. It was a watershed event in the republican struggle because it universally defeated the British policy of criminalising not just Irish republicans but the objectives for which we struggle.

The struggle in the prison system is on a par with all the great events in our history which generations of republicans derive inspiration and legitimacy from. And that is the great strength of the Hunger Strikes in that they too confer a legitimacy upon the current phase of struggle.

But they also bring a clarity to the political and military theatre that allows us to see which strategies are permissible and which outcomes are unacceptable. That such a high price was paid by the hunger strikers to succeed in winning that legitimacy demands a potent price to invoke it.

Any strategy or position which undermines that legitimacy not only demeans their sacrifice, it will also fail. Promoting a so-called Border Poll is proof of that. But claiming a position without a strategy is equally demeaning and equally doomed to failure. Like history itself, if we reduce events like the hunger strikes to a series of slogans then we fail to understand their significance.

Twenty-three years ago IRA Volunteer Ronan McLoughlin died on active service in County Wicklow. He too was a victim of British violence in Ireland. The significance of Ronan’s sacrifice is in his analysis of how the so-called peace process would play out. There is no peace. There is no constitutional change. There is no unstoppable political momentum driving us towards a sovereign Ireland.

Instead we have the aimless jargon of a Border Poll; a device wholly determined by British legislative control. Such control determines the timing of its holding, the question or questions posed, the conditions required to ‘win’ such a poll and finally parliamentary approval over the outcome.

But at its heart is the notion that the democratic future of the Irish people should be made subservient to the political whims of a democratically unaccountable British Minister in Ireland. Did Ronan and the hunger strikers give their lives for this? Did we confront the British war machine in our country to sanitise this? There is no strategic reasoning that can justify the surrender to any degree of the legitimacy of our national sovereignty.

But strategic reasoning is what Irish republicanism requires now to chart our way through political waters dominated by our opponents. We cannot allow ourselves to be trapped in the false dichotomy of being for or against a Border Poll, that merely allows that topic to dominate the national narrative.

The conversations that republicans must have is how we can develop and progress the democratic integrity of our analysis that a sovereign Ireland is the only source for peace and stability in our country.

There is no place for emotional rhetoric in the task ahead. The lessons of history make for cold hard reading. The sacrifice of Ronan and the hunger strikers have set the bar high.

We have to address the political realities of the present day. We are confronted by a contemporary push from both British and Irish political interests to direct the constitutional debate for the next generation away from a resolution based on sovereign rights and towards a flawed concept of reconciliation that will be manipulated to ensure those sovereign rights remain unsettled.

The strength of the republican argument in present circumstances is its democratic integrity. This is what we need to collectively articulate in a language which the clarity of the hunger strikes demands of us. It must resonate with our people both in terms of what we can achieve and the logic for them to help us achieve it.

Our language must make us distinct. We cannot be subsumed in the aimless and empty rhetoric of broad stroke slogans. A decisive narrative is what Irish republicanism urgently requires.

Beri Bua!

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