And What Of The Irish Republic?

Sean Bresnahan writes that Irish Republicanism is going forward.  

Republicanism going forward – in the context of its reduced position in the Irish body politic – can best proceed, if only for now, as an ideological vanguard. Its role in this respect would be to uphold and advance the inalienable rights of the Irish Nation — rights which exist in their own space and time, beyond and impervious to current or future constitutional realities.

It is automatic that rights as these remain intact regardless of such particulars — even where they have met with approval, in whole or in part, as is argued of Good Friday. That the same will be posited should ‘Agreed Ireland’ come to pass is a given. Such approval, however, does not impact the standing of ‘prior rights’ and is without capacity to dispose of their status. As prior rights, they are not subject to electoral whim or fortune.

With this in mind, the focus of our efforts must at all times remain the advance of the Irish Republic, conscious throughout that the Republic itself is the constitutional embodiment of the Nation. Accordingly, ‘the Republic’ and ‘the Nation’ must proceed together in the one unseparated endeavour.

In this sense, our national entitlements can only be realised upon the achievement in full of the Republic. The notion of that Republic, as both a manifest and ethereal concept, must guide and inform our every word and deed — the language we employ, the commitments we offer, the actions and initiatives that we set toward.

Why is any of this important in an Ireland where constitutional change seems anyway on the horizon? Surely with emerging demographic realities – with the weight of numbers soon to be on ‘our side’ – it is now only a matter of patience?

The virtue of such belies an emerging narrative, which speaks not of the sovereignty of the Irish Nation, inclusive of its two traditions, but of the ‘island of Ireland’ and the existence of two nations within its geographical confines. Ireland is no longer to be considered a nation but instead a mere territorial entity, devoid of a political basis. As such, it can come to house a political construct other than a republic — which is the likely intent of ‘Agreed Ireland’.

As Irish Republicans, in the face of this, we must assert the sovereignty and unity of the Republic, this even though it be usurped at this moment and that this will likely remain the case for the foreseeable future. The task, going forward, is to balance what is a point of principle with the need to build strategic power — this to entail the co-opting of the people into an effort to realise the Republic.

Guarding against being trapped by rhetoric is critical in this regard. While, yes, we must have the solid foundation which the Republican Constitution affords, we must alongside this configure a political analysis relevant to 2018 — one that finds fertile ground in the mind and consciousness of the Irish people. ‘The Irish Republic must be made a word to conjure with.’

In this regard, the onset of Brexit provides new opportunities unseen since Partition. Will Republicans get our house in order or are we already too late? Given the current state of affairs, an honest assessment would admit things don’t look promising. This can be tempered, however, by the surety it need not remain so. Where we go from here is up to ourselves — be that a newfound relevancy or complete oblivion, only time will tell.

In the challenges before us lie the prospects for change. As Brexit ruptures the constitutional fabric of the ‘dis-United Kingdom’, such is the impact on the balance of forces that normalisation has run aground. We must respond accordingly, with some form of ‘Irish Unity Initiative’ the necessary requirement. Building as much is the task before us over the months and years to come — ensuring it remains a Republican project our primary responsibility. The time to organise is now.

Sean Bresnahan blogs at An Claidheamh Soluis

Follow Sean Bresnahan on Twitter @bres79

Share This:

Anthony McIntyre

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

10 comments to ''And What Of The Irish Republic?"

  1. well said, fair play, but when are the mi(5)litants going to cop on? they are a millstone around our cause. talk about dragging republicanism backwards.

  2. What? Is this a twist on the OIOV?

  3. I don’t understand why there is mention of a ‘twist on OIOV’. An all-Ireland referendum remains the surest means by which the Republic can be reconstituted. I would safely venture it will be required when the time for the same arrives. This particular article, however, is not about ‘One Ireland One Vote’ — at least not of itself.

    It might also be worth noting that OIOV is not the entirety of what the 1916 Societies are about, nor what I myself am about. It is only one part of what we are about. What I am about is the reconstitution of the Irish Republic, in the image and line of the 1916 Proclamation. I see a national referendum as one means by which this can be achieved but that does not preclude that there may be other means. I believe ‘by any means necessary’ is the phrase.

    In any instance, my intent in the interim to that happening – that being the reconstitution of the Republic – is to work to ensure the continuity of Republicanism as a distinct political theory — not just as a philosophy alone and of itself. On the need for the same as we move forward through times of change is on what the article focuses.

  4. An articulate, courageous and measured piece Sean ... which poses serious and searching questions to an ever-decreasing cohort of dissenting republicans.

    However history suggests that collectively the Irish people, for by far the largest part, will continue to reluctantly accept unpalatable compromise over and above the disastrous consequences of any effort which does not recognise and implement a 'two nations' type solution.

  5. Henry JoY,

    Not only that, but even Anthony has said talk of a UI in the South does not happen much. People don't really seem to care, even when I was back recently in the South they had far more pressing things on their minds. While Sean writes an articulate and considered piece I fear he is shouting at walls. He faces a massive obstacle, namely indifference, and while I'm ambivalent regarding his aim I admire his tenacity.

  6. Steve R,

    I was reflecting on recent comments and I've come to the conclusion that fellahs like Wolfie and Sean would make fine neighbours. Decent sorts, as long as one didn't engage them around their obsessions things would go swimmingly easy.

  7. HJ,

    I'll take your word for it but fanatics always scare me!

  8. they probably wouldnt engage u in ur obsession with brain surgery either if u moved in across the road from them. wishing ur paleo mamallian limbic frontal backal cortex a nice day.

  9. I respect Sean's vision of a united Irish nation, but it ignores the reality - I and most of the Unionist people I know identify, when pushed, as Ulster Scots/Brits. We are happy to identify as Northern Irish in a shared Northern Ireland with our Irish fellow-Ulstermen. But in any likely UI I can see no place for us.

    We will not have our kids learn Gaelic, nor look with respect upon the IRA of the War of Independence or the later Troubles. They led an ethnic war against us. More importantly ( for past errors can be regretted), their present contempt for us emerges from the smooth talk - as Barry McElduff and many of his online ilk reveal. As the tap on the hand he received from SF reveals about them.

    I'm sorry that is so, for I had hoped that the smooth talk of SF might indicate some change of heart by Republicans. That a new beginning was being looked for, one that respected the identities of each side and did not wish to impose an identity on the other.

    But if demography makes a UI the choice of the majority of Northern Ireland people, then we can either merge with the Irish, as the Norman-Anglos did, exist as a non-Irish minority (like the Kurds in Turkey) or move elsewhere. For the reasons above, I would be likely to leave the UI to them. And feel sorry for the decent Irishmen who I know personally - some of whom I have met here in TPQ.


  • To add an Emoticons Show Icons
  • To add code Use [pre]code here[/pre]
  • To add an Image Use [img]IMAGE-URL-HERE[/img]
  • To add Youtube video just paste a video link like