Reply to Manus McDaid
Manus McDaid belittles the Republican aim of a re-united Ireland as a “flawed” outdated “one-stop shop”, not relevant today, in dismissing Danny McBrearty’s support for the ‘One Ireland One Vote’ initiative. Such views are expected from the pro-British choir, but incomprehensible from a professed Republican.
McDaid fails to understand that for Republicans, like Mr. McBrearty, ending British rule was never about “sidestepping” or ignoring hard political realities in pursuit of the historic imperative to end an ongoing injustice and achieve national sovereignty.
Republicans recognize that British rule inherently promotes and perpetuates the complicated problems of sectarianism, economic dislocation, and repressive laws which have been the source of so much unrest and conflict. The British may have moved from rule behind a one party Orange state to rule behind an Orange ascendancy at Stormont. As Richard Haass learned this past week, there will be no tolerance for any real progress towards justice. Real progress is blocked as a threat to Orange ascendancy.
Ending British rule is not envisioned by Republicans as a “one-stop shop” panacea which would remove all ills, but as the crucial first step which must be taken if we are ever to remove the barriers precluding real progress.
The ‘One Ireland One Vote’ campaign advocated by Mr. McBrearty, is nothing other than a political initiative intended to build national momentum for ending British rule. It advocates counting as one the votes of all Irish people over the future of their country, rather than gerrymandering the majority into second class status, meaningless unless the pro-British unionist veto can somehow be overcome. Its supporters include many who once thought the Good Friday deal would open the door to a united Ireland perhaps by 2016. Now they now fear the deal will become a final resting place for such aspirations, unless resurrected by new political strategies.
Perhaps this campaign will not succeed. Perhaps it will never gain the necessary support between voters in the twenty-six counties together with nationalists in the north to secure such a national referendum. However it is difficult to understand why any Republican, much less one who often writes of his support for Sinn Fein, would be against any political initiative advocating a 32 county vote for a united Ireland, much less scorn the fundamental Republican objective of Irish reunification as a one-stop shop. Will Sinn Fein back ‘One Ireland One Vote’, or remain silent as its supporters attack those like Mr. McBrearty who do?