Éire Nua: Template For A Just And Lasting Peace In Ireland

Sean Bresnahan Address to Éire Nua Seminar at Conway Mill, Belfast, organised by Sinn Féin Poblachtach — February 23rd 2019.


Address to Éire Nua Seminar at Conway Mill, Belfast, organised by Sinn Féin Poblachtach — February 23rd 2019.

Dia daoibh a chairde and a quick word of thanks to the organisers for the opportunity to speak here this afternoon — go raibh mile maith agaibh.

Brexit and new constitutional realities

As Brexit impacts on constitutional realities, bringing to the fore the still-unresolved Partition issue in Ireland, the notion and prospect of Irish Unity has been energised anew — perhaps as never before. The reunification of Ireland is now mainstream political conversation, and not before time.

The implications of Brexit, when set aside emerging demographic realities, make it incumbent that politics in Ireland, as they relate to Irish Unity, focus on how best to ensure a just and lasting peace that includes all citizens, in all their diversity and regardless their differences — differences the 1916 Proclamation rightly described as being ‘carefully fostered’ by an alien government, for its own political ends. These must be overcome if a meaningful peace is to take root.

At the heart of any process towards same must be the notion that democratic authority resides with the people and that people themselves should exercise real power. As political change speeds towards us, a Republic that stands for all of its citizens — which can command all of their allegiances no matter the divisions of the past — is the goal and indeed the promise to where our politics must set.

The Éire Nua policy, developed by the Republican Movement as a means to bridge divisions in the nation post-British withdrawal, is ideally placed to form the basis of such a Republic. In these times of change, its vision of a decentralised 32-county democracy is of newfound relevancy and worth considering anew.

But if we are ever to arrive at Éire Nua we must have more than a mere understanding or belief in the policy, though we must have these too, of course. We must find means to reach the Irish people with what it has to offer, that in turn they might come to see its value as a template for peace, with justice, in an independent all-Ireland republic.

A wider initiative than realised

With avenues of change prised open by Brexit, we must seek out a political realignment, making clear that Republicanism is about more than a British withdrawal from the North, that it seeks also — at a national level and as a national initiative — a shift in the relationship between the government and the governed, this within a rights-based democracy where the citizen and his or her needs are paramount.

As a contribution to that effort, Éire Nua seeks a democratic renewal pointed towards all sections of the country and not just the North, while, yes, helping bridge historical differences there, differences encouraged to divide our people. But while the Ulster Protestant community are often seen as the ‘beneficiaries’ of Éire Nua — and as such to whom the policy is targeted — their concerns of being dominated under a United Ireland are shared by other regions within the current 26-county area.

Thus, we are dealing here with a wider and more advanced initiative than often is realised, one that seeks to devolve decision making capabilities — the length and breadth of Ireland — to the lowest effective democratic unit, giving our communities a real say in decisions that impact their lives. It is there where the true strong point of Éire Nua lies.

The revisionist agenda of ‘establishment Ireland’

Well we might note rising talk among the chattering class that nowhere in nationalism lies detail as to how a ‘32-county Ireland’ would work. There is, however, contrary to their notions, a detailed plan long in place — that of course being Éire Nua. If our would-be intelligentsia have yet to hear of it there should really be no surprise, for they don’t wish to entertain anything outside their narrow revisionist agenda — an agenda that seeks an ‘agreed new Ireland’ where the British stay on, in a reduced capacity, while the Irish agree to it. Éire Nua stands tall no matter their scheming.

While having a detailed proposal intact and in place, arguably leaving us ‘ahead of the game’, we must, however, as a matter of priority, capitalise on the advantage this affords us. In this respect, the task before ourselves is to reach out to other Republicans — likewise to broader society — with a vision that they, too, might come to share.

Should we do so, building effective support and support systems, ‘establishment Ireland’, with its revisionist intentions, will be forced to shift tact. We must, then, build the means to reach the people, presenting them with a viable alternative to both Partition and any ‘soft’ United Ireland those who uphold it might set toward — a critical job of work at this critical time.

Developing means of political delivery

Building support for Éire Nua will involve mobilising our people behind its idea. Seeking out endorsements from political and community organisations — including those we may not like or agree with; handing out leaflets; administering social media campaigns we manage, fund and drive ourselves; putting up signs and banners across Ireland; engaging the ordinary people of Ireland at events, universities, rallies and gatherings; getting featured in major news stories and articles; putting on significant campaign events, such as this one today; creating featured videos; submitting ads to the media; doing up pieces of analytical content and publishing them to platforms we build ourselves — these are initiatives we can and should be engaged in and there lies the key to building the idea of a 32-county republic, premised on Éire Nua.

We need, then, in this respect, to make better use of the resources before us than perhaps we are doing. There is a massive moment in our history coming at us and we are not ready. We must do better. Éire Nua offers us solid terrain and an immediate point of reference to proceed upon, now and not later. But we need more than theory and with it, alongside, the correct strategy. To others unsure of what it is we’re offering we say, let’s build this initiative together. If it were good enough for all those years, until the Adams faction undermined it for narrow ends, then why not now?

The hard reality is that, now in this moment, there are only two structured options on the table for a future United Ireland — Éire Nua or a further and revised outworking of the Good Friday institutional framework. And we are running out of time. In that context, we should commit anew to do all in our power to ensure it’s the former that wins out. It is there where lies the Republican struggle in 2019.

A platform for Republican struggle post-Brexit

With Brexit looming, as Ireland moves to reconcile tensions unleashed with those already in play, Éire Nua presents a viable platform to build on. The proposals it contains can be the building blocks of a re-born Irish Republic — one deserving of our people; one they need now more than ever: a republic that can unite all Irish people, in their diversity and differences, in a constitutional order where all have influence, all have protection and all have a role within the affairs of the nation.

But we must get our house in order — and sooner rather than later. The time to put this in place is now. In these times of change lie new opportunities to reconnect the Republic with the broad mass of the people. That is the task before us and we cannot afford to wait. We must push on and Éire Nua is there, in our hands, giving us the ability to so. It is time to up the ante — the sacrifices of the past demand it. We must go from here today determined to do just that.

Go raibh mile maith agaibh arís a chairde. Onwards to the Republic — An Phoblacht Abú.

Original article; https://seanbres.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/eire-nua-template-for-a-just-and-lasting-peace/

Éire Nua policy: https://republicansinnfein.org/2015/07/01/eire-nua-and-noraid/

Top Broadway producer fights to stop sewage threat to Irish waters featured in “Game of Thrones”

Article is by Paddy Clancy @IrishCentral irishcentral.com claims to be the largest Irish site in North America.

Top Broadway producer John Gore seeks to stop sewage dumped into Lough Foyle. Image: Paddy Clancy.

Top Broadway producer John Gore seeks to stop sewage dumped into Lough Foyle. Image: Paddy Clancy.

A top Broadway producer has joined a 30-year campaign to stop sewage pouring into the Irish waters over which the dragons fly in the TV series “Game of Thrones.”

John Gore, the owner of multi-billion dollar Broadway.com, the largest live entertainment company on the planet, is fuming at plans by Irish Water to construct a sewage treatment plant near his shore-side Irish holiday home and pipe the contents out into Lough Foyle.

Local residents in the Community for a Clean Estuary have been campaigning to get the scheme transferred a few kilometers north so the effluent can be piped into the Atlantic and away from Lough Foyle which is bordered by Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Irish Water says it will apply this year for permission to start the scheme on the Republic’s side at Carnagarve, outside Moville, Co. Donegal.

Carnagarve is an area of outstanding beauty, with about a dozen small beaches with pristine bathing conditions along four kilometers linked by a shoreside walk that runs between Moville and Greencastle.

Glenburnie beach adjacant to proposed sewerage discharge pipe location.

Glenburnie beach adjacant to proposed sewerage discharge pipe location.

Gore, who has been visiting the area for 15 years, recently bought a period house on land running to the water’s edge which he has been renovating as a holiday home.

He loves the beauty of the area, not far from Malin Head where part of Star Wars was filmed.

Across the Lough in Northern Ireland, he can see the site from which dragons flew in Game of Thrones.

Campaigners in the Republic insist that Irish Water should retain a scheme first approved by the local council in 1990 to construct the sewage plant on land near Greencastle with a discharge pipe running out to the Atlantic. The plan was, somehow, later changed. Officials opted instead to have a pipe discharging the sewage directly into Lough Foyle less than 300 meters from the shore.

Gore, whose Broadway stage productions won several Tony awards, says he is prepared to put millions of dollars of his own money into any litigation involved in saving the Lough from pollution.

He said: “If the Irish Water scheme goes ahead can you imagine what the smell would be like? Can you imagine what it would do to all those beaches? It would never be allowed anywhere else.

“Somehow, in 1990, the elected members of Donegal County Council voted unanimously for the scheme not to be in the Lough, but for it to be out at sea. We don’t see where the legal precedent is that enables that ruling to be changed, apart from the fact they kind of shoved it around.

“There seems to be no record that the council reversed the decision or changed it.”

Irish Water, created in 2013, has taken over all water and sewage facilities from local authorities which previously cared for them all around Ireland.

Gore added: “The way they are behaving here is outrageous. My holiday home is going to be seriously damaged by this situation.”

Campaigners John Gore, Dr Don McGinley and Enda Craig at the site where the outfall will carry sewage into Lough Foyle behind them. Image: Paddy Clancy.

Campaigners John Gore, Dr Don McGinley and Enda Craig at the site where the outfall will carry sewage into Lough Foyle behind them. Image: Paddy Clancy.

Local campaigners brought their objections as far as the European Commission, the legislation-proposing arm of the European Union.

Now that Gore has joined the campaign, he is prepared to back the process of preventing sewage going into Lough Foyle “with millions if necessary.”

Locally-based Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said after a recent information meeting that Irish Water was proposing the same controversial scheme that attracted community opposition for 30 years. “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different outcome”, he said.

One of the campaign leaders, Enda Craig, reckons the original council decision in 1990 to operate a discharge pipe from Greencastle into the sea instead of the Lough, was overturned when parties with vested interests resorted to “uncalled for and unwanted political interference.”

Since then there was a series of studies and proposed news sites, as well as conflicts between campaigners and council officials in the courts and in the EU.

On one occasion the campaigners were advised by a top oceanographer in Singapore that a hydrodynamics study of the tidal flows by the council was inaccurate. Local fishermen gave similar advice.

Craig agreed there was a tremendous problem with raw sewage going into the Lough and Bredagh River from existing outlets in Moville, and demand for the location of a treatment plant was understandable, but the beautiful Carnagarve area was the wrong place for it.

Campaign committee member Don McGinley, a retired family doctor, who is a keen rower, said: “Lough Foyle is a recreational area for swimmers, rowers, kayakers, sailors and jet-skiers. It is not in the least desirable that the proposed discharge pipe lies directly on our training routes midway between Moville and Greencastle, adjacent to the traditional beach at Glenburnie and the Sli a Slainte designated coastal path.”

The proposed scheme is also close to the holiday home of one of Ireland’s greatest peace campaigners, John Hume, who was jointly awarded the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize.

One of Ireland’s greatest peace campaigners, John Hume, also lives in the area. Image: RollingNews.ie.

One of Ireland’s greatest peace campaigners, John Hume, also lives in the area. Image: RollingNews.ie.

Irish Water said it is lodging a planning application this year to develop a wastewater treatment plant at Carnagarve. It envisages planning, design and construction will take four years.

It added that the outfall pipeline will safely discharge the treated effluent 200 to 300 meters out into Lough Foyle.

Campaigners plan to seek a meeting with Irish Water chiefs and persuade them to return to the 1990 scheme.

Craig said if that fails they plan to raise a challenge on the ownership of the seabed. He claims Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Estate owns the seabed from the Northern Ireland side right up to the shore in Donegal.

He says the Irish authorities wrongly claim the seabed on the Donegal side is owned by the Agriculture Minister.

If talks fail, the campaign will register an injunction against Irish Water to produce evidence of ownership of the seabed.

A spokesperson for Crown Estate said in a statement that the exact location for the international boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic remains an issue for determination between the UK and Irish governments.

The statement said that the Crown Estate has worked with relevant stakeholders, including the cross-border Loughs Agency, to help inform discussions about this issue.

It added: “Any planning decision regarding the Irish Water project would not be a matter for the Crown Estate, but would rest with the relevant planning and marine licensing authorities”

Source; https://www.irishcentral.com/news/broadway-producer-john-gore-irish-waters-game-of-thrones

Brexit offers the possibility for socialists to lead a political transformation

This article is by Maurice Glasman which can be viewed here. Maurice Glasman is a founder of Blue Labour in Engalnd.

The immediate task before us is to leave the EU and to break the constraints on democracy that it represents, argues MAURICE GLASMAN


THE history of the British left is one of crises that promise victory but result in domination by the right.

In my lifetime I have lived through the stagflation of the ’70s, the miners’ strike in the ’80s, Black Tuesday in the ’90s and then the crash of 2008.

All seemed to promise radical change, yet this did not happen. On the contrary.

In response to successive democratic defeats, Labour adopted a strategy of the subordination of national democracy to finance capital and the European Union.

That describes the political economy of New Labour and its fatal inability to distinguish between globalisation and internationalism.

The free movement of labour, capital, goods and services, on which the European Union is based, is a vision of eternal capitalism in which it is illegal, by treaty law, to challenge the domination of finance within the economy.

While the unmediated movement of commodities through space was written in indelible ink with the seal of each member-state parliament, the “social chapter” was written in the lightest of pencil.

The alignment of the progressive left with the EU was its greatest delusion and has led to the progressive weakening of every socialist party that has pursued this goal. We are witnessing its palsy across the continent.

It is still the case that opposition to this is denigrated within the mainstream of progressive thought as populist, nationalist, racist and xenophobic.

The false promise of Jacques Delors corrupted the praxis of two generations of Labour and trade union leaders.

The primacy of democracy as the principal practice through which to resist the commodification of human beings and nature, which is the fundamental process of capitalism, is the real meaning of Brexit for the left.

Brexit is the real deal and offers the possibility for socialists to lead a political transformation that can redefine the meaning and practices of the nation.

It breaks the stranglehold of the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties and the enforcement of rules by the European Court of Justice over the single market and the customs union. It makes our politics possible.

Leaving the EU is a necessary condition of a democratic socialist politics. That is the starting point of this argument.

Brexit is also a cause that can unite all of the different currents of left-wing thought that hold democracy as their core belief.

The organisation and articulation of a constructive alternative to the status quo, a politics that would be illegal under EU law, is a necessary part of this.

The Brexit negotiations are an object lesson on how democracy is subordinated to capital and we should use it to educate, agitate and organise around a renewal of democracy and the primacy of politics.

The left needs to lead the politics of Brexit, not endure it in a defensive crouch in which “but” is the most important word when “respecting” the referendum result.

The inability of the Labour leadership to make the argument for Brexit and democracy, to lead the renewal of democratic sovereignty and articulate clearly the possibilities that leaving the EU open up for the democratisation of the economy and the redistribution of power and assets in our society is extremely unfortunate.

It offers no way out of the interregnum that we are living through. Rather it opens the space for the right to claim democratic sovereignty as its own.

We need to disrupt the dynamics that have taken a grip since the referendum result which have focused on the “deal” and stigmatised “hard” Brexit and “crashing out” in favour of the endless accumulation of details.

We need to leave the EU and concentrate on pursuing a national renewal based upon democracy and the dignity of labour, a defence of freedom and humanity from the iron cage of Napoleonic directives and Thatcherite economics that the EU has become. It is not a “cliff edge.”

Antonio Gramsci defined an interregnum as a time “when the old is dead and the new cannot be born … when there is a fraternisation of opposites and all kinds of morbid symptoms pertain.”

It is as good a description of our time as I have found. It makes sense of the spectacle of a Remain Prime Minister who claims to represent Brexit and a Leave Labour leader who has become the tribune of the hopes of Remain.

The first demand of capitalism as a system is the removal of its fundamental practices from democratic or political “interference.”

The internal imperative to maximum returns on investment in the shortest period of time leads to an enormous pressure of commodification and the monetisation of relationships and institutions.

“Everything solid melts into air and all that is sacred is profaned.” It is an inhumane system that is merciless and relentless in its pursuit of profit.

It can lead to a nasty politics, of which fascism was the demonic form or a democratic politics, of which socialism is the sublime form.

What is impossible is the avoidance of any kind of politics at all and that is what the EU represents. It sets such strong parameters on what can be democratically decided as to be considered a menace to democracy itself.

Capitalism is based on the price system, which in turn is based on fluctuation, and when applied to the substance of society, human beings and their natural environment, it leads to the relentless discombobulation of the stability required to lead and live a life in which monetary concerns are not primary.

Democratic politics requires some shelter from this market storm and if we don’t provide it others will. That is what is at stake in this interregnum.

It can go either way and we have the resources from within our tradition of analysis and political organisation to win the argument and to put together the class and cultural alliances required to secure a democratic victory.

What are the forms of the Brexit crisis and why is it so serious?

I would suggest that it brings together an economic, political and cultural set of contradictions into a systematic crisis of legitimacy for the ruling class.

The economic crisis is the first and relates back to the financial crash of 2008. In a lightning flash of clarity it was apparent that the wealth of the nation had been lost in a frenzy of speculation, cheating and exaggeration and that the golden goose of the City of London had been fouling its nest all along.

The City has been at the hub of global maritime trade for half a millennium and the actual country has increasingly become a costly appendage.

As a set of institutions, including the Corporation of the City of London and all the leading financial corporations, they supported Remain.

Brexit was supported more by farmers, landowners and those with assets that were less fungible.

The strategy of finance capital is to maintain its ability to invest globally without interference from internal politics, the stress being on “frictionless” trade.

It pursues staying in the single market and the customs union while ditching the commitments to environmental and labour regulations.

It is important to remember that 85 per cent of our economic activity is outside the “global” economy and serves local needs.

An economy that serves the many and not the few requires a democratic polity that ensures that the interests of the City do not dominate the state.

Tories such as Jacob Rees-Mogg are doing the work of socialism by supporting the primacy of democratic sovereignty.

His hope is that the politics that emerges will be laissez-faire on economics and conservative on social and cultural issues without recognising the contradiction between those two commitments.

He hopes that his hedge fund will uphold enclosure but the political space of Brexit opens up the restoration of the Commons.

His is a politics that we can defeat after March 29 and is a prefigurement of the politic of the future. The Commons against the hedge funds.

The political crisis is that our ruling class, including the Civil Service and Parliament, setting aside the hysteria that pervades academia on this issue, has proved incapable of acting upon the referendum result and sustaining the politics of leaving the EU.

Their only vision is more of the same. They have concentrated all their effort on the details of policy which end with us staying within the constraints of Lisbon and Maastricht.

This leads to a crisis of legitimacy for our rulers which we should accentuate and exacerbate. Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are clear about the changes they wish to make, but are opaque in their failure to admit that such reforms are illegal under EU law.

This is the most grievous symptom of the crisis of legitimacy. Party management has taken precedence over political leadership and the result is the stasis of the interregnum in which Labour is unable to seize the moment.

This leads to the temptation to extend Article 50, delay the moment of reckoning and to let the moment pass.

The legitimacy crisis of the ruling class will then extend to the Labour Party and then the morbid symptoms will really kick in.

The cultural crisis is the most difficult for the left and for the coalition we need to build. That is because the socialist tradition of which I am a part thinks that we are social beings, that we are constituted by unchosen traditions such as language, relationships and religions that are part of an inheritance.

We are not defined as individual choosers or as acquisitive individuals motivated entirely by self-interest, narrowly defined.

In contrast our sociability leads to a culture built around reciprocity, mutuality and collective democratic decision and these were the forms of the early labour movement and is what we often refer to as a culture.

This forms the basis of what EP Thomson called a moral economy. There is a part of the left that rejects this and views the very idea of a person is a socially constructed entity who can only be emancipated by a heroic liberalism of individual self-definition.

This argument can only be resolved politically and is something we can look forward to renewing after we have left the EU.

In the meantime there is enough common interest on the issues of class and democracy to co-operate in pursuing that outcome of Brexit and the restoration of democratic sovereignty.

The cultural crisis of Brexit is the distance between the liberal assumptions of the rulers and enduring ethics of the moral economy held by the ruled. Brexit is a class issue.

The immediate task before us is to leave the EU and to break the constraints on democracy that it represents while articulating a political and economic programme that can fill the spaces it leaves behind.

An industrial policy that favours workers and neglected regions. A reform of banking to restore assets to abandoned places. A democracy, locational and vocational, that can resist the domination of the rich and the educationally qualified.

No deal is the real deal and the left should unite in pursuit of that end. You might call it government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Other articles by Glasman;