National Republicanism and the International Stage

Guest writer Dr John Coulter is a Radical Unionist commentator and a former columnist with The Blanket. He is currently writing an e-book about republicanism as an outsider looking in. The e-book is entitled ‘An Saise Glas (The Green Sash) The Road to National Republicanism.’ The chapters are being published exclusively on The Pensive Quill. In this latest chapter, he examines how republicanism can build a new international basis to its ideology rather than simply the old, out-dated concept of raising funds to buy guns and explosives. The chapter is entitled ‘National Republicanism and the International Stage’ and develops the concept of a pro-active foreign policy for republicanism.

Mention the term ‘foreign policy’ to Irish republicans, and they largely either look blankly at you or talk about raising cash for guns in the United States by trying to present a romantic image of fighting the British as if they were re-creating a scene from the John Wayne masterpiece, The Quiet Man.
Had it not been for the millions of Irish-American dollars, republicans’ war of terror against the British would have run out of steam long before the official 1994 ceasefire which set the scene for the Good Friday Agreement four years later.

National Republicanism will seek to explode the romantic myth that everyone becomes an honorary Irishman and Irishwoman each 17th March to commemorate St Patrick’s Day. Travel anywhere in the globe, and you will find an Irish community, whether that community is linked to nationalism or unionism.
Tragically, the Emerald Isle’s greatest export has been its people. This reality was accelerated with the notorious potato famine of the 19th century, which not only killed tens of thousands of Irish people, it forced many thousands others to abandon Ireland

A second blight occurred from 2010 onwards with the collapse of the Celtic Tiger in the South of Ireland. Again, the people export – mainly to Australia, New Zealand, and the Americas – began again.

Such has been the desperation and depth of the current economic crisis, the Southern administration has invented an innovative initiative called The Gathering to try and encourage people with Irish ancestry to return to the island and re-discover their Irish roots.

2013 has been a tremendous year of centenaries for Ireland, and especially republicanism. In 1913, two major militias were formed – the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers, both the forerunners of the Irish Republican Army.

Unfortunately, these centenaries of the ICA and IV have perpetuated the myth that republicanism’s foreign policy is merely to link up with violent groups around the globe who have expressed sympathy in Irish republicans’ campaign of terror to force the British and unionist establishment out of Ireland.

In the past, the Provisional and republican socialist movements have linked up with various Palestinian groups, such as the Palestinian Liberation Organisation; the Marxist FARC group in Columbia; the Red Army Faction terror group in the former West Germany, and the modern Hamas group in the Middle East.

According to the intelligence community in the United States, dissident republicans have been teaming up in an ‘unholy alliance’ with Islamic militants to share resources and targets. The republican tradition in Australia has been boosted because of the number of Irish criminals who were deported to these far reaches of the British Empire in the 19th century.

Irish republicans have traditionally tended to adopt a foreign policy of ‘Britain’s enemy is my friend’, hence the IRA’s flirtation with Adolf Hitler’s Nazis during the Second World War.

The IRA in the 1940s was living in a fantasy world that if it helped Hitler invade mainland Britain via the backdoor of Northern Ireland, the Nazis would return the ‘compliment’ by implementing a united Ireland.

Even in the Great War, British traitor and closet Irish republican Sir Roger Casement negotiated with Imperial Germany to get guns and ammunition for the Easter Rising.

National Republicanism would be pro-active rather than reactive in pushing the concept of republicanism as a respectable political ideology. Republicans have only been interested in linking up with foreign governments merely to put pressure on the United Kingdom to formally declare a date when it would leave Northern Ireland.

National Republicanism would organize a series of Republican Embassies in every country recognized by the United Nations. National Republicanism would also restore Ireland’s national sovereignty by formally leaving the European Union.

Admittedly, for many years, Ireland benefitted from EU membership in terms of grants for developments across the 26 Counties. But with even more Eastern European nations set to join the rapidly expanding EU, it is only a matter of time before Ireland becomes a giver rather than a receiver of European aid.

National Republicanism would restore the Irish pound as its currency. Already, some establishments along the border have taken the wise decision of abandoning the flawed euro in favour of sterling. There was always a strong Eurosceptic tradition in the republic, as witnessed in the Lisbon Treaty votes.

Britain is enjoying its own Eurosceptic revolution with the electoral success of the vehemently anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party. Given its British links, there is no way UKIP could gain any electoral credibility in the republic, even though many Southern voters would agree with its anti-EU stance.

The established parties in the South need to negotiate the republic’s withdrawal from the EU. They may be reluctant to do so because that would be tantamount to admitting that joining the EU in the first place was a bad move in the long-term.

National Republicanism clearly recognizes that the EU cow has been milked bone dry so far as funding is concerned. National Republicanism, therefore, would re-launch the 1970s Irish Independence Party as an Irish equivalent of UKIP.

The IIP was formed by republicans who felt the moderate Catholic SDLP was not tough enough on its campaign to achieve a united Ireland. One of its key strategists was former British Army officer and Protestant, John Turnly, a Larne IIP councillor who was murdered by the UDA in 1980.

Had the republican hunger strikes not happened in 1980 and 1981, the IIP could have replaced the SDLP in the same way as the SDLP replaced the Irish Nationalist Party, and Sinn Fein later replaced the SDLP itself as the leading voice for nationalism in Northern Ireland.

However, National Republicanism also equally recognizes that Ireland has to become to a major global power block. It can become a colony again, teaming up with significant global nations such as the United States, Russia or China. While this aspiration would be beneficial for the people of Ireland, would the Irish nation want to be a servant to another empire?

National Republicanism will take Ireland into the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The CPA represents more than 50 national and regional parliaments across the globe. While many of them were part of the British Empire, not all CPA members were former British colonies.

Ireland was a founder member of the CPA in 1911 when it was launched as the Empire Parliamentary Association. In rejoining the CPA, Ireland would once again become a member of a significant global and financial institution as an equal partner, not a subservient colony.

National Republicanism’s network of Republican Embassies would become an example of how democratic dominion status would work in nations. It would recreate the original thinking of Sinn Fein founder, Arthur Griffith, who was more of a separatist than a dyed in the wool republican like Eamon de Valera or Michael Collins.

The network of Republican Embassies would not become a rival to Dail Eireann. Certainly, it would not deteriorate into a Sinn Fein alternative to the Dail, or Sinn Fein under another name.

The Republican Embassies would be about promoting all that is best in Ireland regarding tourism and international investment. While funding raising would be an important role for the Republican Embassies, that cash is not to buy guns, support ex-republican prisoners, or help the children and families of ex-combatants.

The existing republican movement has already established a network of support organisations to fulfill this role. The money would be used for educational and health projects in Ireland, and promoting the concept of republicanism as a non-violent ideology.

The Republican Embassies would also play a major part in establishing contact between the various elements of the Irish Diaspora across the globe.

National Republicanism would also develop the concept of imperialism within the Irish nation. In Chapter Two of this publication, I outlined the concept of how National Republicanism would restore Biblical Christian standards into the republican ideology.

The Beatitudes, or Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, would become a central core of National Republicanism. National Republicanism would become an ideology of social action. This would take place not just in Ireland itself, but would reinvigorate the culture of Christian teaching which missionaries from Ireland have instilled in many nations across the world.

Given the sad state of affairs in the African continent, National Republicanism’s imperial philosophy would be to use its Christian missionaries to recolonize Africa and restore democratic principles and practical help to these starvation battered nations.

Clearly, National Republicanism with the promotion of Christian principles as its core will have to radically change its attitude towards Israel. Traditional republicanism has tended to adopt support for the various violent Palestinian causes.

This was mainly to gain weapons to arm the IRA, or to attend terrorist training camps. This attitude will end with National Republicanism and if republicanism as an ideology is to become a globally credible ideology, it will have to abandon its support for militant Islamic terror groups, especially those trying to eradicate the Biblical state of Israel.

The Christian faith is central to National Republicanism, and you cannot be a National Republican and want to see Israel literally blown to bits by Islamic militants.

Youth development is also central to National Republicanism. The cultivating of a new generation of young republican is a priority. National Republicanism will see the development of a new youth movement which can be promoted throughout the world, in the same way the scouting and Boys’ Brigade movements are global organisations.

Earlier this year, I commemorated the May Day Holiday by formally launching a new all-island youth movement, Saighdiuiri oga na hEireann De (The Young Irish Soldiers of Ireland). This will be National Republicanism’s globally recognised youth movement.

Known as ‘Sonhed’ for short, it will seek to make amends for the historical disaster and cultural embarrassment which nationalism’s traditional youth wing, Fianna na hEireann has deteriorated into.

Sonhed’s spark has been created by deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness’ confusing, amusing and bemusing speech at this year’s Provisional Sinn Fein ard fheis in the South.

What was supposed to be a wise-cracking broadside against dissident terrorists turned into a pondering session of ‘what age can someone actually join the IRA given that TD Gerry Adams once stated – they haven’t gone away, you know?’

One of the major problems for mainstream republicans is that the peace process has thrown up a new generation of Sinn Fein ‘draft dodgers’ who have never traditionally cut their political teeth in the Provisional IRA.

Would-be IRA terrorists were not sworn in and given their Green Book of rules until they were 17.

In reality, all the Fianna did was take groups of young republican hardmen off to the bogs of Ireland to teach them how to throw stones properly.

The loyalists had their cultural and historical heritage drummed into them at a much earlier age with groups such as the Junior Orange Order, Young Militants (UDA youth wing) and the Young Citizen Volunteers (junior UVF).

And in the Seventies, primary and secondary school age loyalists formed Tartan Gangs,
named after three Scottish squaddies murdered in an IRA ‘honey trap.’

The Tartans rampaged through the peace lines kicking the living daylights out of any Catholics they found.

Top Stormont Sinn Fein MLA Martin McGuinness has always maintained he quit the Provos in the early Seventies. But his jibe against dissidents at the Sinn Fein ard fheis has sent many republicans into confusion over his sums. They simply don’t add up!

McGuinness told the conference:

Every now and again, you’ll see these so-called republicans parading. And I look and I see these 50-year-olds, and I see these 40-year-olds, and I see these 45-year-olds, and I don’t recognise most of them. You know what I wonder; I wonder where they were when there was a war.

Taking McGuinness’ analysis, and when he claims he resigned from the Provisionals, some of “these 50-year-olds” must have been primary school pupils aged 11 when they were supposed to be active IRA members!

But if you can’t become an IRA terrorist until 17, how could they have been in the Provisionals at 11? Someone in the republican movement has seriously screwed up their recruitment figures, or else someone has not got it correct when they quit the IRA.

My new organisation, Sonhed, will seek to rectify this problem by recruiting young nationalists as soon as they able to walk and talk.
It will restore pride into the term republican, so that it is not another word for bomber, gunman and murderer.
Sonhed will be a uniformed organisation like the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade movements, but will combine Christian teaching with Irish cultural and historical identity.
The ethos will be that never again must republicans ever resort to the gun as a means of settling political quarrels.
Republicans mouth off that their victory will be the laughter of their children. How can they say this if they don’t have an effective youth organisation to channel this laughter?
My new movement, Saighdiuiri oga na hEireann De, is that solution.    
In the next chapter, I will explore in more depth how National Republicanism will redefine the relationship with the British Commonwealth and the European Union.


  1. "Republicans mouth off that their victory will be the laughter of their children. How can they say this if they don’t have an effective youth organisation to channel this laughter?"

    Little do know Dr Coulter

  2. "Suggestions by Sinn Fein for talks with ‘dissidents’ has been met with a proposal for a series of public debates."

    "eirigi has revealed that it rejected an offer from Sinn Fein to hold behind-closed-door talks, It states it wants a full public debate"

    eirigi has revealed that it rejected an offer from Sinn Fein to hold behind-closed-door talks