Sean Bresnahan on the 21st Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
No-one can say we haven’t afforded that. The leadership was given every opportunity to prosecute a political struggle to tear down Partition but elected, instead, to prop it up, for short-term purposes. In turn, this lead to what we witness today — full integration into the Partition system and the ongoing effort to normalise that system.
The position of the party now supersedes everything — even principle. Indeed the truth is that Sinn Féin no longer works off of principle and, with more and more coming to this same realisation, many are looking for an alternative way forward.
Republicans didn’t sign up for what became of the struggle — for MI5-lead policing, for Stormont rule, the hounding of former combatants, Diplock Courts, the brutalising of prisoners, but most of all for legitimising the British claim to sovereignty in Ireland. We were told the struggle would go on through political means, which has proven to be deception.
In reality, the struggle was abandoned long ago but with those who secured this being clever enough to string a loyal support base along — selling out bit-by-bit while maintaining the illusion it would all come good at the finish. It’s either that or they hopelessly miscalculated.
Either way, they’ve achieved nothing only setting back the Republic for the foreseeable future, until such times as Republicanism can successfully reorganise — a daunting task but one that must be achieved. In this regard, we need to develop an alternative course that respects the wish of the people for peace while challenging Britain’s presence here, instead of legitimising it. That is the key to rebuilding Irish Republicanism.
The correct course of action, arguably, is to mount the unarmed struggle from below envisaged when moving from war to peace, with the Irish Republic at its masthead. While in no way discounting the necessary efforts of the Army, through the long war years, that is what’s best-placed to achieve Irish Freedom in the Ireland of 2019.