Brexit Dynamic Can Realise What Adams Strategy Could Not

Returning to The Pensive Quill, Sean Bresnahan considers Monday’s appeal by ‘civic nationalism’ as a further indication of changing dynamics in the North. A member of the 1916 Societies, he writes here in a personal capacity.

As Malachi O’Doherty rightly noted earlier this week on the Nolan Show – this while discussing Monday’s letter in the The Irish News – Brexit can deliver what the Adams strategy could not: a United Ireland. For once it would seem that Malachi is right. Yet, going on social media, it seems that all Republicans can focus on is Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin and Sinn Féin.

Given the dynamic which Brexit has unleashed, the fall back position of Republicans should not be to bemoan every initiative undertaken by others — Monday’s letter from ‘civic nationalism’ being a case in point. There is a particular tendency towards this response where a hint of the ‘dastardly Shinners’ is detected. Brexit is bigger than Sinn Féin, however, and it’s time Republicans got their heads around this. They should not be the lens through which we undertake our analysis of political developments.

Either way, surely we can manage a better approach than endless negativity — something now rampant in Irish Republicanism. While we might have issued a different letter and while the letter itself is no doubt soft in its content, the fact it was issued at all is of note. Where was the letter or the joint approach from ourselves we might ask? Better, it seems, to moan instead in retrospect.

In truth, this letter need not be dismissed as mere irrelevant crawling on the part of its signatories — even if that is what it amounts to. An alternative view might hold it the tentative beginnings of a broad push towards Irish Unity, even if those who framed it might not be of that mind in this particular instance.

Ultimately, the negativity should stop. The British state is in the throes of a crisis unseen in generations — a crisis as yet to be contained, which could have a significant bearing on prospects for Irish Unity. Are we going to moan about the failures of others, real or perceived, or are we going, instead, to build up and advance our own efforts — as surely we ought to. That is the question Republicans are faced with. How we answer is now up to us.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

4 comments to ''Brexit Dynamic Can Realise What Adams Strategy Could Not"

  1. Sean I wouldn't hold my breadth if you expect things done for us by right wing neoliberals in the EU and those parliamentarians at home.

    Here's a apt quote maybe fits in here nicely from Breandan O hEithir, Begrudges Guide to Irish Politics written in 1986.

    "It was this capacity to inspire blind loyalty in people by appealing to their genuine patriotism, even when he was doing it all with mirrors, that makes de Valera such an uncomfortable figure in Irish politics.

    Because it was all dovetailed into a highly-professional political machine which was all about the grasping and holding of power and was greatly at variance with the leader's rhetoric. As we can now clearly see, the machine gathered a momentum of its own with the passage of time. It's inner workings and smooth running became all important and an end in itself." page 91

  2. i agree with Sean. We need to re-knit the fraying strands of the Republican Movement, building on concensus where we find it instead of magnifying differences out of all proportion to their meaning and impact

  3. Thanks James. The point of the article is not that we should expect those you mention to act to uphold our supposed rights. The point I was attempting is that we must do all of this for ourselves.

    To hold initiatives that others undertake as crawling or what have you is one thing. Absent an initiative on our own part, however, we are effectively reduced down to little more than social commentators. I think Republicans, with our tradition of activism, have a bigger capacity than that but are currently too focused on others.

    Lamenting the efforts of others is not a political strategy but a political strategy is still what the situation demands. Let’s put one together and build from there — that’s my real point and what I’m trying to say.

  4. Brexit is unlikely to be realised in terms of what was detailed in the taxpayer funded literature before. We know a thing or too about ambiguity in documents and the end result of such like. Ireland’s political class displays unusual fealty to a foreign union that ignores Irish express wishes, and would impoverish several generations of our people to save foreign lenders from the losses. The political class should be careful not to be the fall guy for a course of action that obscures the culpability of the U.K. ‘s own politicians in rejecting the largest mandate given to its Parliament. Let the U.K. MP’s explain why the people were too stupid to understand what they were voting for and thus should be ignored, this is the greater opportunity for Ireland on a risk adjusted basis. Brexit being thwarted is now a fashionable thing to suggest, I was saying this before any votes took place, the EU doesn’t do democracy.


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