Fine Fáil and Fine Gael’s draft ‘framework for government’ document speaks of setting towards a ‘shared future’ on a ‘united island’ premised on the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, to be arrived at through agreement with unionism.
It posits the political structures of the Agreement — the northern assembly, the north-south bodies and the wider east-west council and conference — not as though means to speed Irish Unity but as the outline themselves of its would-be form.
As such, all of these bodies are to be retained come a United Ireland and are to form its constitutional framework. Indeed interim to our arrival at such a point, at this pseudo would-be United Ireland, they propose an expansion of current east-west structures — not just for the here and now and the meantime but for the future, into perpetuity.
In this sense, they hope to give even greater weight to the British state in the affairs of Ireland, rather than effecting a lessening of same, and not just in the interim. This is intended not as interim but as the ultimate destiny of the Irish Nation. By these means, we are to be permanently fixed to Britain.
It is an unacceptable derogation of our sovereignty and must, as such, be abandoned. Setting aside that the British state has no title to Ireland and should anyway leave, when the Unionist Veto goes — as it’s set to — then the British state must go too, entire.
While there is a positive to be taken in that at least we can see, here, the Dublin establishment being dragged towards Irish Unity, to supporting it in policy against its own instincts — even in this heavily revised form — we must pressure and pull them even further from their comfort zone and insist on our national rights.
Indeed the task of organised Irish Republicanism is to drag them all of the way — to the only position we can settle for ultimately, as a country and as a people: our full freedom independence and sovereignty as a full 32-county republic.
As an Irish tradition and as a section of our people, unionism can of course have an input into that future — to the form and workings of any would-be republic — but it can’t be given power to veto its formation, to keep it from thus ever being. The tail cannot be let wag the dog, that Ireland be kept from her due.
As Brexit and demographic change across Ireland carve new political frontiers, which the Dublin establishment at Leinster House is hurriedly attempting to contain, on that object is where we must focus. As a ‘change moment’ in history speeds steadily towards us, the prize on offer is a great one. Let’s not be denied it by settling up short of our entitlements.
Sean Bresnahan is an independent Republican from Co. Tyrone who
blogs @ Claidheamh Soluis. Follow Sean Bresnahan on Twitter @bres79