Annual easter message read by Francie Mackey, chairman of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.
In this address to the Irish people at home and abroad we regret we are unable to hold a more fitting Easter commemoration due to the Covid pandemic. Hopefully next year we will be better positioned to commemorate the 1916 Rising and remember the leaders at their final resting place and in so doing remember all who gave their lives for Irish freedom. However, this Easter message is looking at Ireland today and we appraise ourselves on how to uphold and achieve their vision as set out in the Proclamation.
The evolving political landscape on the island of Ireland demands a concise and pragmatic political response from Irish republicanism. Brexit has exposed the deep fault lines of the Good Friday Agreement, and its supposed All Ireland architecture, as a mechanism to progress the evident will and right of the Irish people to live in a sovereign 32 County Ireland.
The developing national narrative has, at its core, a strategic deceit to ensure the consolidation of the constitutional status quo whilst the question of what is termed Irish unity drifts aimlessly in the jargon of a so-called Border Poll.
Irish republicanism does not have the luxury of adopting a supine rejection of this flawed narrative whilst offering nothing more than a shallow analysis which demeans the genuine desire of our people for a peaceful and democratic path to a sovereign republic. That path is not guaranteed, a violent reaction no less so.
The driving engine of any republican analysis must be a clarity of language which expresses our objectives both as a clear and progressive repudiation of partitionist politics (peace process politics) and also sets apart the Ireland we seek to create from the aimless aspirational lip-service of the political hegemony on the island.
In our New Year Statement we referenced the political significance surrounding the provision of a Border Poll. We urged republicans to engage in constructive debate to adopt an agreed strategy as this provision is being presented as the sole path to an assumed British disengagement from our country.
Our own internal discussions have identified key areas where political influences will bring their own agendas to manipulate a porous process to suit their own ends. We also identified the crucial reality that our objections to a Border Poll should not alienate or disparage the genuine held views of the vast majority of Irish people who would vote positively if such an opportunity were presented to them.
A Border Poll however is not a democratic device: it serves as a British veto over change to its imposed boundary in Ireland. British legislative control dominates every facet of its construct and application. 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.
It represents a multi-layered veto over the sovereign rights of the Irish people, the natural outworking’s of the original Triple Lock guarantee in the Good Friday Agreement. That guarantee serves British interests in Ireland which Wolfe Tone described as the never-failing source of all our political evils. The Irish people are reduced to bystanders, as our future is determined beyond our sovereign and democratic control.
At a recent televised debate adherents of the Good Friday Agreement discussed the possibility of future unification. None of the participants could make the argument for national sovereignty as our right. None alluded to the influence of British interests in our country as the primary source of divisions amongst our people let alone that such interests exist at all. None would commit to any credible strategic programme to pursue constitutional unity.
It is beyond question that the national rights and ambitions of the Irish people cannot be progressed by the politics of the Good Friday Agreement. Nor can they be engaged with in any meaningful sense with green or red rhetoric. Irish republicanism can only fill this political void if we articulate our position and ideas via language our opponents themselves cannot use.