'Toward A United Ireland’ A Sell Out Of The Irish Republic

Sean Bresnahan, Chair of the Thomas Ashe Society in Omagh and National PRO of the 1916 Societies, critiques the Sinn Fein policy Toward A United Ireland.' He campaigns for a federal Irish republic, as envisaged by the Éire Nua policy, and holds this the most fair and effective pathway to a permanent peace in Ireland.

New Sinn Fein’s most recent attempt to appease their English masters — Towards A United Ireland — finds them suggesting our Irish identity should be suppressed and compromised within new constitutional arrangements. Incredibly, in that same document they also intimate the opposite for the British identity of Ireland’s unionists – which is not to be likewise impacted but promoted instead, afforded unique constitutional recognition up to and including their supposed relationship with the British Monarchy.

It is now we see why Martin McGuinness has been playing ‘Her Majesty’s’ poodle the past five years, the plan all along being to make the British Royals acceptable to nationalism in preparation for this shift – for the Agreed Ireland they are at pains now to sell and in which ‘the Britishness of the Irish people’, recently spoken of by party hack Jim Gibney, will successfully take root and find form.

The intent it seems is to remove all symbols of Irish identity, replacing them with new ones, while at the same time promoting and embracing Orange Order and British Monarchy connections, all in a servile effort to impress their unionist bedfellows at Stormont – which incidentally we are told now is to remain intact upon Irish Unity.

Ultimately, concealed within thirty pages of deflection lies the cunning reality that Sinn Fein intend giving up our identity while swallowing that of the unionists, all in a delusional and utterly futile effort to attract their support for this bogus ‘Agreed Ireland’. Worse still, under this plan the British state is to have a continuing role in Ireland even after its reunification – on paper to make allowances for the insecurities of unionism but in reality to preserve British government influence over our country with that as the pretext.

Bizarrely, going by ‘Towards A United Ireland’, it seems that Sinn Fein have appointed themselves to negotiate for unionism on all of this, while abandoning their own constituency that they might do so. Off-the-charts it might seem at first but in truth not unexpected, given their direction of travel over the past thirty years and which becomes the more obvious with every passing summer.

What Sinn Fein’s ‘Agreed Ireland’ aims towards is the stripping of our national identity, that continuing British influence in our country, under the guise of upholding the rights of unionism, might withstand new political arrangements. Perhaps they’ve forgotten that, in the All-Ireland Republic, Ulster’s Protestants will have the same rights and protections as everyone else – under a universal charter of citizenship that guarantees those rights, without the need for special designations that do nothing but entrench division.

Republicanism has always been about a civic rapprochement between our traditions in an Irish Republic for all, one where ‘all of the children’ are treated equally regardless their differences. It is within that republic where the Irish people, in all their diversity, can and will be reconciled, while maintaining respect for their unique identities.

Truly mind-boggling is that this ulterior agenda, which is outside republicanism and no longer of its line, is pressed by those who formerly decried Éire Nua as a ‘sop to unionism’. What we are witnessing here though is not a mere sop to unionism but a calculated effort to permanently secure Ireland within the realm – by the well-heeled servants of British rule, who, wittingly or otherwise, act now as agents of influence for the Crown.

To the rank-and-file of Sinn Fein, who cannot possibly be comfortable with any of this should they think on where they’re being led: there is a duty to act before it’s too late – before your party’s hierarchy has hauled this across the line. We stand at a crossroads in the struggle for freedom and must decide are we to facilitate a permanent end to our dream of an independent republic, allowing the ‘Agreed Ireland’ agenda of Britain and her hirelings to nail down its coffin, or are we to re-set our compass towards that republic and act to see it advanced.

That is the moment we have arrived at and it is time for people to search their hearts – to honestly engage the situation now faced – and ask what it is they want for our country: the Irish Republic that remains our birthright or an Agreed Ireland sell out that condemns it never to be. ‘The Endgame’ is moving into sight. On what path we determine, at this most critical time in our history, is pregnant with significance and will shape the future for decades. The stakes have never been as high.


  1. from the amount of page views this piece is taking it is clear what type of articles readers are interested in

  2. As an ever burning preference within me I share the desires of all Republicans for the Irish Republic declared in the 1916 proclamation a full unified socialist 32 county Republic which takes care of its most vulnerable in society and shares the national resources of the nation among the citizens of the nation.

    Reflecting on the recent history of our country we have the compromise and decisive treaty of 1922 the retrieving of our ports in 1938 only when the British thought it pragmatic to have us on side as they feared German invasion the Republic of Ireland act of 1948 giving real autonomy to 26 of our 32 counties. We have the GFA in 1998 which we probably could have had in 1972 which doesn't satisfy Republicans but let's try and exploit it to its full and remove British Jurisdiction from Ireland to do this we must encourage enough Unionists to ratify unification as per the agreement overwhelmingly endorsed by the Island electorate.

    I believe this is the strategy of Sinn Fein to accommodate Unionists. I believe the normalization that would occur after even a diluted version of Re-unification
    where we share the same economy the same social care services the same education/ currency/ taxation etc will allow future amendments.

    I share your apprehension but I believe that as we live in an age where armed action is shrowded in the cloak of post 9-11 terrorism we should try and rid ourselves of the presence of British Military and MI5/6 forces forever.

    If we could get that far the suppression of progressive voices like that heard here may be stopped and real democratic Republican opposition to Sinn Fein and all other established parties can flourish and enrich our political sphere.

    History shows me its a piece by piece struggle which to be honest reads very similar to Collins assertion that the Anglo Irish treaty was " freedom to achieve freedom". Nobody of the Republican tradition aspires to anything less than what was declared in the 1916 proclamation but we can't get there in one leap.

    I think the best accommodation is indeed that of the Eire nua policy where Unionists can be representative in their own regional local government but I'm open to steps in the right direction.

  3. The unionists can definitely rest content. Partition is safe and the only thing left now for SF to do is embarrass themselves further with dreamed up concessions that no one is even listening to.

  4. Paddy, that would have made for a good piece in its own right

  5. If we don't feel threatened, we are prepared to discuss the possibility. There is a slow but sure shift in the grassroots of unionism, which is waking up to the irrationality and crony toryism of the DUP. I can see a UI happening in the lifetime of my kids but it will and must be consensual regardless of the perceived injustices of the past.

  6. Thanks Anthony, I admire men of your generation and what you suffered.

    History will in time revise and put your generation alongside that of past generations of patriots.

    The realization of a Republic we are all still waiting for, nobody North or South has of yet lived in one but sadly the Southern part of the island has in many circles accepted partitionism as normal and this must change. We need voices outside Sinn Fein to publicly support Unity because many people in the 26 counties live off state controlled media like sheep and if the establishment doesn't think its right then it must be bad. Can't we quietly plant a few Republicans in these parties to support unity?

  7. If only climate change in the North could help anti-state activity like in Syria and the wider Middle East.

  8. Steve R
    "There is a slow but sure shift in the grassroots of unionism, which is waking up to the irrationality and crony toryism of the DUP" Just because some unionists can see through the DUP doesn't mean we are moving towards a UI.

    "I can see a UI happening in the lifetime of my kids" And I can equally see NI lasting another hundred years. I understand you live on the otherside of the planet so maybe you are not aware that no-one here is talking about unity on the unionist side and very few on the nationalist side. All recent polls have shown that unity has little traction in either community, One Ireland One Vote is unheard of and SF are seen to making noises to play to their own gallery. Those who want unity cannot agree on the fundamentals and therefore cannot tell us what sort of UI is on offer, how it will be paid for, what shape it will take or how it will benefit the north. A lot needs to happen before a conversation can even begin, in the meantime keep calm and carry on.

  9. here's the mirror's view of the SF paper and of what needs to be done


  10. Great piece Sean of which I have one minor disagreement; the rank and file of Sinn Féin are certainly comfortable with anything the Adamsite leadership does or says.

    This is borne out by Gypo Adams' most recent bout of touting. Even though he passed on the names to the Garda Commissioner of those who remained loyal to him, in regards to the killing of Brian Stack; in other words touting on them, the Shinners come out in his defense instead of being embarrassed, as well they should be.

    In regards to any strategy for a United Ireland, the Adamsites constantly twist and turn like the flight of Starlings in late afternoon. You never know what direction they'll head in from one moment to the next. But one things for sure and that is, there's a lot of shit flying about.

  11. Very interesting piece Sean and I can see how it is related to your comment in Sean Matthews Blog.
    The problem with any discussion of the prospect of a United Ireland is the bizarre notion that we can’t have it without Unionist consent!

  12. Nial

    EXACTLY. An artificial majority created to facilitate a small national minority in 1921. Brexit required 52% of the UK electorate to cross the line. Democracy has never been applied to Ireland.

  13. Peter, fair enough, I know you are on the ground there and have a better take on it. My admittedly small sample size consists of ex-pats and a few friends back home, and where I can see the PUP trying to lead towards. I certainly didn't mean anytime soon and was merely commenting on the said perception the DUP portray to the young especially.

    While SF twist about the DUP sit on their arse with their hands on a Bible. Neither of them have much of a clue what's going on.

  14. Niall


    For probably the same reason that James Connolly is reported to have ordered "You will fire no shot in Ulster".

    How many more lives would you be prepared to sacrifice Niall?

  15. Sean,

    nobody unwittingly acts as an agent for the crown. Assets are unwitting but agents always know. Those who have been and continue to be agents of influence have been doing so very conscious of who they are working for.

  16. Sean,

    you have most likely called it right regarding where SF is going but for the world of me I cannot see those SF people who are supposedly unhappy with where they are going. They have been so stripped of the capacity for independent political critical thinking, that there is nothing they will not buy into. We are at no cross roads. The turning point at which they all failed to turn has long since past.

    Niall, the very reason we can't have a united Ireland without unionist consent is that there is no way to get it over the line. It is not an ethical assessment but a practical one. It reflects the balance of forces (always a crucial element in the success or failure of any strategy). Every republican struggle has foundered on the rock of consent. Nobody yet has come up with a strategy to overcome consent. Brit strategy has long been to render ineffectual any republican capacity for change outside of the parameter of consent. We can see how successful the British have been.

    From the Brit realpolitik perspective, confronting or negating nationalist consent or dissent has always been a much less troublesome option than dealing with unionist consent.

  17. AM

    'nobody unwittingly acts as an agent for the crown. Assets are unwitting but agents always know. Those who have been and continue to be agents of influence have been doing so very conscious of who they are working for'.

    Therefore SF collective leadership post 1986 are all guilty as sin?

  18. Larry,

    myself and Niall had this discussion before - in my view for the entire SF leadership to be agents rather than assets they all would have had to be working directly for handlers rather than merely espousing ideas that the Brits might have had. Two people might disseminate the same idea but for different reasons. One might believe it or acquiesce in it because they believe the leadership got it right, whereas another would be doing it because they were directly instructed to do it by handlers. The second is an agent but not the first.

  19. AM

    In the cult deliberately created by a SF leadership of Adams, McGuinness, Morrison, and Donaldson and shielded all along by the likes of Scap, I would suggest the SF leadership is indeed COLLECTIVELY GUILTY AS SIN.

  20. I can readily see how the case can plausibly be made. It is just not tight enough for my liking. Two out of the four you name I would see as assets and the other two as agents.

  21. AM

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a novel by John Le Carre about the Cambridge spy ring which numbered five. There is NOTHING that discourages me that thinking the SF leadership informer level was less than TOTAL. After 30 years why would any dissenting influence against a British agenda remain at the top level? I see no reason the Brits would have left anything to chance.


    The Belfast SF Mafia... spot the difference

  22. Larry,

    Le Carre novels don't really prove much in terms of individual culpability in a different setting. I have seen nothing that would allow me to believe the SF/PIRA leadership were all touts. Excluding dissenting influences from a leadership level does not mean those in the leadership were informers. Being useful to Brit strategy can make a leader an asset but not necessarily an agent.

  23. AM

    Adams and Marty never did a day in jail that wasn't farce or faced a supergrass trial. Not counting internment. I have an uncle did more time interned than Adams and was never convicted of anything in his life. Those two surrounded by endless touts for 30 years and were never exposed serious to danger. REALLY? I hope should I ever stand trail for murder after being found with a smoking gun in my hand standing over a twitching corpse YOU are on the jury.

  24. AM

    "Two out of the four you name I would see as assets and the other two as agents."

    Ah go on now Anthony, which is which? lol

  25. Larry,

    all that means is that the Brits were in the process of moulding a leadership they could get a result from. Pretty standard counter insurgency strategy.

  26. Steve R

    If Mackers theory is correct the money and time must have been invested in the 'agents' in order to keep the 'assets of influence' on track. Why 'out' the agents in order to keep taking chances with the 'assets of influence'. The UDR 4 on the mixed wings knew there were talks of a cessation going on in 1988. Loyalists were better informed than IRA men in and out of jail right up to the end and beyond. The Brits had no need to keep anyone alive or at liberty if the agents were all around them. Pave the way for their preferred personalities. Marty and Gerry. BINGO. They are ALL rotten at this stage.

  27. Steve,

    it is hardly a secret. I have written and spoken frequently about it.

  28. Henry Joy,
    That just isn’t good enough HJ, in fact that strategy is a total cop out.
    I posed the question as to why we needed Unionist consent in the first place....not why we should acquiesce to keep the peace.
    I completely agree but only within the current political context as we have all been conditioned to play the Brits game by their rules. We have fought them politically and physically using their game and by their rules. Step outside of it and the political board game completely changes.
    Just as the blanket protests achieved improved conditions for republicans, the loyalists also benefited....we didn’t ask them for their permission then. We didn’t play their game or play by their rules then. We also didn’t seek to kill them in their prison beds either!

    I just don't get the need for their consent.

  29. Niall,

    We have fought them politically and physically using their game and by their rules. Step outside of it and the political board game completely changes.

    Did you ever hear of the magical fly killer? It works. But the problem is just how to catch the fly.

    Until the above thought is made strategic it remains rhetorical. Not much use otherwise. The same question is asked regularly of the 1916 Societies: how to go from A to B. Plans without any means of enactment fall by the wayside.

  30. AM

    I think the 1986 ascendancy of the Belfast mafia under Adams was a coup like WITCHCRAFT in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Fools gold sold by rats.

  31. AM,

    Sorry, my poor attempt at sarcasm.

  32. Niall

    my position may not seem 'good enough' to you. That's ok, you're entitled to your opinion. You can frame my position as a 'total cop out' too if you so wish.
    Here's the hard truth though; poor old Connolly, to his credit, didn't wish to risk antagonising the Unionists for as long as they wanted to remain British citizens and for as long as the British were supportive of Unionism. He long-fingered the Ulster question stating "we'll deal with Ulster later".

    Having missed out on the full loaf but having secured 13/16 of the bread successive Free State/Republic of Ireland administrations have followed Connolly's original pattern. Despite all of the rhetoric a majority of nationalist citizens North and South, de facto, accepted partition and Connolly's pragmatic position. The vast, vast majority haven't the slightest inclination of upsetting the Unionist apple-cart, not for as long as they wish to remain British and for as long as the British establishment are prepared to tolerate them.

    Your difficulty like that of a thankfully ever-decreasing number of tragic 'heroes , or at least so it seems to me, is that you've swallowed whole too much of the old useless rhetoric and shibboleth. For whatever reason ye just can't let it go and pass it through naturally or ye just haven't been sickened enough yet that you might be able to puke it all back up!

    Be careful of what you gulp down Niall. Learn to chew things over a bit more. Develop patience and learn to differentiate between what's improbable and what's probable. Please, please don't risk more hardship, pain and suffering on anymore of our younger generation, no more please no more,no matter how small that number may be, with your potentially destructive and immature ramblings.

  33. AM,
    I would say Sean Matthews has a plan. As for the 1916 societies I agree. We need something more tangible and a lot less rhetoric. How to do that is the key.

  34. Niall,

    Sean Matthews has a critique but how to turn it into something actionable is what really matters. If you can't get your hands on the levers of power then you need to fashion alternative levers. I don't see anarchism as having done this.

  35. Good point and I think you've pointed out the crux. Do we set aside all until we achieve power and then attempt to implement what we foresee as the better path to tramp along?
    Wpuld we not simply be sucked in like SF have been?

  36. Power lies with the people. We then must set about empowering the people in every sense of the word, beginning with engagement and dialogue among and between ourselves - we the people.

    Charlie Chaplin said, 'the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure'. Our power to do so is still there. What we need is to build an independence campaign and an independence movement - not to attempt, as others have done only to become absorbed by the enemy system, to actualise change through reform of the status quo.

    A broad movement for change that centres on the demand for Irish Independence is the way ahead, all of which requires continuing work. That is the lever of power we should concern ourselves with and not parliamentary process - wherein lies the power of the established order.

    Rome wasn't built in a day but no-one can predict the path of history. History is on our side and time will bear that out in due course. It still, though, demands that we organise towards the Republic because nothing that has ever been gained for the struggle has been won without struggle. Nothing will fall into our lap and we must continue to work. There is no other way.

    Years can and have been spent in wilderness but the apple always turns. We will get there in the end no matter the naysayers. Never fear and never falter; our time is coming again. Thanks for carrying the piece and to all who commented.