An Chomhdháil Phoblachtach

Guest writer Aiden Ferguson makes the case for bringing together a Republican Congress in Belfast.

The argument for the creation of a Republican Congress in Belfast

The need to establish a united broad republican group representing the views and aspirations of republicans, the working class, civil rights activists and trade unionists has long been identified as a necessary and integral part to the achievement of a successful, strong and comprehensive opposition. This would give republicans the ability and strength to challenge the British establishment, exposing bare the myth of Stormont, challenging the status quo and defeating the outdated and obsolete concept of the union with Britain.

The solution to this would be the establishment of congress that would highlight, discuss and promote issues of mutual interest, concern and importance to republicans, socialists and those interested in achievement of a just, equal and fair society, comprising of catholic, protestant and dissenter.

Is it not time that republicans and other progressive working class people in Belfast to finally sit down together and discuss the way forward?

Is it not also time to build a cohesive and effective republican base which can truly challenge the British state here in our own city? For far too long now, we as an opposition have been divided and fractured. Many of these divisions have been created, nurtured and fostered by those who fear a strong and united republican base and this has only served to suit our enemies and the enemies of our people.

British rule in Ireland has always depended on using the tactic of divide and conquer, a tactic which they have successfully utilised for the past eight hundred years, preventing the Irish people from achieving their full potential of forming an independent sovereign state which determines it own destiny.

In the recent past we have seen some very successful campaigns fought when different republican groups and individuals came together, campaigns such as that which prevented a beacon being lit to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth Windsor on Cavehill at McArts Fort: also the campaign against sectarian parades passing through Ardoyne and the Anti-Internment Leagues parade which highlighted the continuing injustice of Interment without trial and Internment by remand. This proves that when they come together on issues of mutual interest, republicans can be a force to be reckoned with, seeing thousands of like minded people mobilised and marching for issues which effect us all is uplifting.

These examples of republican unity did not affect or threaten the independence, autonomy or integrity of any of the organisations which participated. To the contrary, it strengthened them, helped raise morale within the group. It bolstered confidence and rejuvenated the enthusiasm of their members to continue campaigning for their aims and objectives.

There is no suggestion or inference that any existing group should disband, change or merge, just that it is time we all sit down and worked out the most effective and efficent method to educate our community, allowing us to agitate and make the republican message relevant to the citizens of Belfast.

There are many national and local issues which are of concern to republicans, the working class, civil rights activists and trade unionists alike in 2014. The issue of prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners, with forced strip searches, among the daily brutality which is meted-out to republican POW's, the continuing use of Internment to detain political activists, draconian stop and search laws, house raids, PSNI/MI5 recruitment attempts where people are being blackmailed and threatened into becoming informers and agents, daily harassment of republicans. We see Elizabeth Windson being welcomed into our city regularly with virtually no opposition, and the British governments normalisation policy has become the norm, operating without challenge.

Our communities are being ravished by parasitic drug dealers who are condemning a generation to addiction and misery as they rip the heart from our community, inadequate social housing policy by incompetent politicians who don't care about their constituents. We have unscrupulous slum landlords ripping off tenants for substandard dwellings, A&E's closing, cuts to healthcare and social welfare, schools closures with Education budgets being slashed, these are just some of the everyday local issues which effect us on a regular basis, and we have not yet managed to form an effective united republican response to deal with and counter these issues.

In the past we have seen different republican organisations working together successfully, most notably in 1916 when the I.C.A, I.R.B, Irish Volunteers, Na Fianna Eireann, Cumman na mBan and Sinn Fein etc combined their resources, and by 1922, only six years later, they had rid twenty six counties of British rule.

It has been the disunity between republicans since then, that is the main obstacle to us achieving our goal of united thirty two county Independent Sovereign Republic, free from foreign influence.

The above mentioned reasons are just a few of many examples that can be given to why we need to create a Republican Congress in Belfast, as there are more reasons that unite us than divide us, as in unity there is strength, and united we stand or divided we will fall.


  1. Well good luck with achieving your aims of building a new opposition group to the British in Ireland.
    Anyone who is in the 6 counties and who is working for a UI gets my vote.
    however much anyone may dislike SF at the moment, it is clear that to get a UI. You will need a Dublin Government who is not just Pro Unity but actively so. For example didn't Jack Lynch beg Harold Wilson not to pull out at the time of Sunningdale and the latters "Spongers" speech? Quite clearly a UI was available from the British Govt then but due to the "1 Million Unionists" the South turned it down.
    I notice a lot of people refer to recent polls..The most interesting I saw was the BEL Tel have 5% of the PUL community in favour of a UI and about 30% were undecided with only around 60% in favour of the Union. This 60% was remarkably low. I think it shows that a substanial majority of the PUL are at least open to the possibilty of a UI and at worst no longer hostile to it.
    Also I took heart that the "status Quo" is been undermined by the Brits themmselves..I believe they forced Sammy Wilson shortly after the 2010 election to serve up £4 billion in cuts to the Wee 6. There will be more of this to come.The Brits are running a deficit of 7% GDP and have only cut their deficit by One third.
    Whilst the Brits aren't in the Euro and therefore don't have to abide by the 3% Deficit:GDP ratio like Dublin.
    The international money markets will not let a 7% deficit go on for too long, before they start charging higher interest and downgrading the Brits rating.
    For me personally. I am pinning my hopes on the Brexit of Britain from the EU.. "ulcer" farmers get something like 70% or is it 90% I forget exactily of their income from Brussels. These farmers make a powerful lobby in their rural communities. The shopkeepers, the co-ops, the fuel stations the car dealers all depend for their living on the farmer. Take that away and they will vote green in a heartbeat. That will be almost 100% of the vote west of the Bann.
    Belfast is now 51% Nationalist.This just may be enough to swing it.Come Border poll day.
    We could use some polling to back this up.
    Ask people are they Unionist?
    If they say Yes..Ask them would they still be Unionist post the Brexit See if they answer different.
    Indeed ask the question to everyone in the sample 1,000.
    Would you be Unionist post a Brexit.
    Almost defo you would get a majority in favour of a UI.
    Second thing.
    If there is a border poll.
    Ask 3 0r 4 split the Unionist vote.
    For example many unionists favour independence for the wee 6 give that option.
    MANy more are opposed to Stormont and favour direct Rule..Put THAT option on the ballot..And last . Offer a Union with devolution.
    all versus one single question re a UI.
    All is not lost..The wee 6 can be Gerrymandered out of existance.
    Just to be sure come polling day have a few burst water mains in Unionist strong holds Curtailing the unionist vote.
    Getting Southern Nationalists on the Electoral register before polling day by getting anyone in the WEE 6 to let these use their address just for voting purposes.
    You have to be devious to win.

  2. Ozzy, A lot of wishful thinking on your part. I think you will have to be more patient to see your UI. You are quite right about the Dublin govt, they clearly do not want a UI now or any time soon. The cost of uniting the two entities would be prohibitive and they certaintly don't want to have to police the north, so any UI would involve the devolution of policing and much more to the north. Stormont will remain, there will be no 32 county socialist republic. Indeed the way Our Liz is hailed in the 26 there is more chance that they will return to the Commonwealth than have a 32 county republic.
    Your figure of only 60% of protestants supporting the union seems very low. Where did you get it? The poll I saw here: says that 86% of protestants support the union along with a considerable amount of catholics. Even liberal unionists like me who are not diametrically opposed to some form of UI in the future would rather have our eyes gouged out than see Gerry celebrating a UI. In '71 SF declared '72 as the year of victory; in '81 it was '83; and in '98 it was within the decade. Clearly you are going to have to wait longer, change the apathetic thinking in the 26 and do a hell of a lot more to befriend the loyalist working class. Are independent republicans capable of this? I doubt it.

  3. Hello Peter Thank you for your reply.
    I shall post a link for The Bel Tel
    LucidTalk poll.

    There are four little pie charts under the central one..And these are broken down bt religion.
    For the PUL it says 60% Unioist.
    8% Ui in 20 years.
    And 32 % don't knows.

    I am not sure about the return to the commonwealth..That may be a Unionist demand for a UI..But it would mean nothing in practical terms as the EU dictates how Countries react to each other over borders and trade, So it is of no practical importance..Symbollic maybe.
    As for waiting longer..I think it is closer than you think.PROVIDING.and I mean that word..The outcome of certain events.
    Most important of which is whether the UK leaves the EU.
    Or whether the Tories stick to their pledge of giving a vote.
    I believe due to the negative press in the UK to the EU ,..The vote is almost certain to result in an exit..The only Caveat is whether the politicians give the people a vote.

  4. Hi Ozzy,
    Interesting poll, although only 40% of catholics would vote yes and that seems more of a problem for your side of the argument. I would be interested to know if a 32 county Ireland is non negotiable for independent republicans or would you consider devolution of powers to Stormont along the lines of Eire Nua? Also I often read republicans calling for unity with working class protestants yet events in Ardoyne point to a deep hatred of the protestant working class. Can that circle be squared?

  5. Peter,

    Flesh out what you mean by

    I often read republicans calling for unity with working class protestants yet events in Ardoyne point to a deep hatred of the protestant working class.

    I grew up in Ardoyne and I know there are several posters who also grew up in Ardoyne. Now if you mean events like this are pointing to a deep hatered towards working class protestants..Then explain..

  6. Frankie, I don't claim to know what is happening in the Ardoyne but from the outside seeing things like this and the documentary about the POA flute band it appears that there is a deep hatred on both sides. I can't work out how you can hope to win your neighbours over politically to a joint cause while at the same time being perceived as attacking their culture. Loyalists I know hate GARC with a passion so why would they listen to the RNU?

  7. Peter..
    Frankie, I don't claim to know what is happening in the Ardoyne but from the outside seeing things like this..

    What happened was more like this. Take a look at the policing lines and how they were maned. Look at who threw the first missle.

    Loyalists I know hate GARC with a passion so why would they listen to the RNU?

    What have GARC said that make's Loyalist's hate them so much? GARC have said there is a viable route that takes the LOL's through a PUL-area where they can celebrate their culuture 24/7-365. They've also said it's more cost effective than policing a caravan site on council property. PSF/CARA want the Grand old Duke of York played out.. The LOL's can go down the Crumlin Road but not back up. The LOL's want to walk down a nationalist road where at least 70% nationalist residents have said they don't want a parade where it is not wanted. ..

    Loyalist's don't represent working class protestants. Not all protestants are Loyalist's. What RNU hi-lighted was the welfare cuts are going to affect everyone. They didn't talk about militant Irish Republicanism nor a united Ireland. They talked about uniting under one banner and forget about party politics and religion for 30seconds. They talked about working class socialist issue's.

    Whats wrong with that?

    A few times a week Jim Wilson is begging on his knees asking for inward investment into east Belfast..He talks about working class socialist issue's..Whats happening in east Belfast? Loyalist's who are only loyal to themselves are exploiting the working class people and flooding it with drugs. Instilling fear. How Loyal to the crown is this? What was Larne all about?

    Several weeks ago a picture was taken on the Shankill Road at a Loyalist protest against the parade in Ardoyne. That showed grown men on the back of vans dressed in paramiltary clothes driving up and down the Shankill.. But so far this year it's been the quietest 12th most people can remember. And we're over the 'hump' of the marching season although not out of the woods. And if bringing on board loyalist paramilitaries to help Unionist's formulate their 'graduated response' stops todays youth (tomorrows future) on both sides of the oxymorons getting criminal records..Then that can only be a good thing.

    There are members of RNU who are involved with GARC. In exactly the same way as members of the UDA, UVF, PSNI are members of various lodges. GARC aren't a political group. They are simply a residents group. Are there Republicans in GARC. Yes. . You can believe what you what to choose concerning Ardoyne but GARC are nothing more nothing less than a reidents group.