Oration read at the graveside of Vol Alan Ryan by the chairman of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, Francie Mackey.
A chairde, In these fluid constitutional times republicans need to be vigilant on the public pronouncements and positions adopted by the Dublin government on the question of Irish unity.
At the heart of this vigilance must be the clear understanding that the British Government and unionism are far more resilient in defending partition than the Dublin Government are at seeking its end.
Talk of Irish unity from Leinster House is nothing more than anti-Brexit posturing. It does not represent a strategic shift in policy towards securing Irish national sovereignty. The border as it stands will now be re-constituted on terms agreed between London and Brussels with Dublin reduced to the subservient role of irrelevant bystander.
Is it any coincidence that the national broadcaster is currently engaged in attempts to rehabilitate historical figures such as Daniel O’Connell, whose political narrative was one of Ireland firmly within the British Empire?
This reflects a political thinking which will once again see Irish sovereignty horse-traded in return for a place in an Anglo-Irish economic bloc. How soon will talk of Irish unity be replaced with talk of Ireland re-joining the British Commonwealth?
And make no mistake about it, Leo Varadkar is completely indifferent to any sense of Irish nationality or identity. Indeed, the entire body politic in the Twenty-Six County State, Provisional Sinn Fein included, are resigned to their roles as regional administrators for the European Union.
If British nationalism economically succeeds outside of the European Union other member States will follow. This will see a global realignment of economic markets around which political and constitutional alliances will be formed to maximise profiteering for the capitalist class. The post-colonial mindset of the Dublin administration will see them quickly brought to heel.
The recent intervention of the American Vice President in the Brexit debate, on his visit to this country, left no one in any doubt the US position on this matter. In a blunt message he warned both Dublin and Brussels that the integrity of British sovereignty, in respect to the referendum outcome, must be fully respected.
Surely the only viable argument left open to challenge this assertion is that the issue or nature of any border in Ireland can only be resolved by the ending of the violation of Irish sovereignty by the Westminster Parliament?
This intervention regarding British sovereignty also exposes the inherent weakness of the Good Friday Agreement as an Irish political tool to impact on the issue of sovereignty. Under that agreement sovereignty over the Six Counties firmly resides in Westminster.
And for those who choose to read the text of the Good Friday Agreement it is clearly there in article 33, where it states, the power of the Westminster Parliament to make legislation for what it terms Northern Ireland would remain unaffected.
Once we absorb the magnitude of what Brexit actually represents the task facing Irish Republicanism becomes more clear. Brexit is going to happen. Adopting a political position that opposes it is meaningless.
All Republican thinking and strategizing must concern itself with the Post-Brexit Ireland that will emerge. And although these events are beyond our influence a well-structured and prescient argument could well find an audience in a theatre where all acts will be in political flux.
And once again we ask Irish Republicans to grasp the nettle of Republican cooperation. No group can spearhead the Republican struggle. That concept has long been blunted. Only fresh ideas can advance our cause in tandem with coordinated activism.
We need to sit down together and forge a way forward. To paraphrase Wolfe Tone ‘what is done is done.’ We can no more undo the past than we can re-create it. The here and now requires originality of thought that can make Irish republicanism relevant.
There are many national questions, any one or combination of which could well yield political opportunities. We need to explore these because we can no longer be seen as politically one dimensional.
And at Volunteer Alan Ryan’s graveside I make these pertinent observations. The armed struggle, as conducted both pre and post Good Friday, has been politically and tactically nullified by the British State. There is no escaping this salient fact.
We serve no cause nor honour any of our fallen by repeating and glorifying failure. Originality of ideas and an inventive acumen must be brought to all aspects of this struggle and if neither are forthcoming the right to engage in that area of struggle is equally nullified.
Only by accepting this reality can we truly begin to address it.