“Britain has committed to the false idea that you don’t need strong international bodies to secure lasting cooperation and prosperity.”

One of the things I’ve picked up about Fianna Fáil (under Micheal Martin, if not previous leaders of the party) is how they like to use commemorations for individuals from the party’s past to sow ideas about the present and future.

So yesterday in a speech in Cork to remember Seán Moylan, an IRA volunteer from the 1920s and former FF minister in the 1950s, the party leader concluded with this peppery warning about Brexit…

By any measure this is a challenging moment in our history. We have come through a deep recession and we must address a broad sense of a country which has become more divided and more unfair. On top of this we face rising threats from an international situation which could cause deep, long-term damage.

These threats cannot be tackled by sitting back and hoping everything will turn out all right. We desperately need a new urgency and ambition in our government.

In the five months since the UK’s Brexit vote the only things which are clear are that their policy is a shambles and that it is already causing real damage on this island. Brexit is not something which is happening in two years, it is happening now.

Brexit is already undermining Irish businesses and communities which have for decades worked on the basis that our countries shared a commitment to working constructively with other European countries.

Britain has taken the route of a backward-looking nationalism, suspicious of outsiders and ”

The republican constitution drafted by Eamon de Valera at the darkest moment in modern history committed this country to the idea of democratic values, international cooperation and respect for international law.

The founding generation of this state committed us to a European future which has delivered us progress which would have been impossible if we had remained a provincial economy of one neighbour.

We are not going to join the English in their desire to repeal the 20th century. We will not join them in their right-wing ideology of trade rules with no social dimension and no enforceable laws.

We stand for a progressive approach which demands that rights be protected, that there be investment in social needs and that we have the opportunity to have our voice heard in the international community.

What we need now is an urgent national plan for mitigating the impact of the hard Brexit which is already underway and for opening up new markets.

Given how much the UK market is worth for agri-food exports, rural communities are facing the hardest impact. The unprecedented decline in Sterling may soon be followed by new barriers to trade. We can’t stand by and let this slow-motion crash happen.

That is why we are calling for the EU to agree and part-fund a new programme to help sectors badly hit by Brexit and to give them an exemption from normal state aid rules until they have been given a chance to find more secure markets or to develop new products.

We also have to stop the talk and start acting to protect the fabric of our rural communities. The worst of the last government’s agenda on attacking rural schools has been stopped – but what they need now is a long-term agenda for how they are to develop and how their role as the heartbeat of the community is to be protected.

Rural Ireland also needs a guarantee that it will have fair access to the social and economic services which are essential for communities and businesses to thrive. Whether it’s the closure of post offices, reduction of infrastructure funding or poor broadband coverage, rural Ireland is facing official policy which is making a tough situation much, much worse.

We must also as a nation understand that the hard-line populism developing in other countries is a threat to us as well. Those who try to push politics to the extreme, who always have a conspiracy or an enemy on which to blame problems and who claim there are easy answers to even the hardest problems – these are people who do nothing constructive and cause immense damage.

It is much harder to argue from the constructive centre – limiting yourself to what is possible rather. But this is the only way to deliver a politics which focuses on tackling problems rather than exploiting them. Practical patriotism – ambitious for our country and putting people ahead of ideology – that is the spirit which helped build our country and it is the spirit which is needs now.

It is our duty as a democratic republic – one of the oldest in the world – to speak up for our values. It is our duty to be true to the progressive republican idealism of Seán Moylan and the rest of his generation which did so much for us.

  • the rich get richer

    The EU is corrupt and elitist . It is not strong and has the good of only the elite and those that corruptly influence it as its present day raison d’être .

    It needs to be binned and lets start again .

  • ted hagan

    ‘We are not going to join the English in their desire to repeal the 20th century.’
    Yes; so easy to slip from ‘British’ into ‘English’. Much more emotive when it comes to ‘backward-looking nationalism’..

  • mickfealty

    Don’t disagree Ted. But it is at least precise in terms of where the decision was made. Wales’s 82k didn’t add a lot to the 1,921,410 majority in England.

  • mickfealty

    So there’s a plan then? I thought the plan was to repatriate all the money so we could spend it on ourselves: https://youtu.be/h_MzHFiu-6Y

  • Kevin Breslin

    Elitist … Sorry I didn’t think the likes of Farage and his colleagues were homeless bums on the streets before the EU came around?

    What’s the brilliant non-elitist country in Europe outside the EU…

    Switzerland, Liechtenstein … the Banker’s Paradises?
    Norway … the land of Oil Speculators?
    Iceland … a country who had their corrupt so-called anti-austerity prime minister arrested?
    Monaco or San Marino, … Tax havens
    Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus. Azerbaijan … Rich oligarchical states.
    Turkey … under Edrogen and his military coups?

    Pretty much everyone else is an EU candidate country (bar arguably the Vatican City State, which is in the Eurozone anyway), so they cannot exactly be that happy on the outside?

    Show me the great beacon of the “non-elites”?

    Show me where in Europe not being in the EU is helping out working class people?

    In the EU you have MEPs who’ve been evicted from their homes and have been put in concentration camps … but apparently governments designed in Oxbridge political societies often funded by unelected lords backing them up and a chief of state with endless hereditary privileges is “less elitist”

    You know what, I’ve seen the alternative “the rich gets richer” seems to want and its one where professional agitators like Nigel Farage are paid by states to be multimillionaires.

    Any one can be a self-proclaimed hero of the working classes if they have a rich enough upbringing to become a failed stockbroker overseas and then have a chip on their shoulder ever since.

    I’m sorry the EU didn’t spoon feed Farage to be a competent stockbroker, but I guess he didn’t work hard enough to be an “elite” in his field.

    Maybe we can get a new type of Eurosceptic, one who puts people before their ego.

    Just for once I would like to see those who complain about elites offer something better than complaints, conspiracy theories and being the enablers of right wing Thatcherite policy makers.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Apparently every country outside the EU is a socialist utopia. Look at Switzerland … no corruption there, or Russia … land of equal opportunity … or Belarus … fantastic democracy … or the People’s Republic of Monaco for example.

    Lexiteers initial plan was to hope the Tories would implode and Corbyn would fix everything. It didn’t happen.

    Lexiteers second plan was to hope the Tories would be more generous than those people in Brussels. It didn’t happen.

    Lexiteers third plan was the hope that the people would independently rise up and overthrow the state spurned on by those complaining about the quote unquote elites. It didn’t happen.

    Rather than some sort of Pacifist Activist Meritocracy it’s more like Passive Aggressive Mediocrity.

    Indeed I think all they’ve done is help make it more elitist to become part of the international community, raising the ladder from independent businesses and co-operatives to do business on the continent.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Fair play to Fianna Fáil.

    I suppose you can never be independent if you cannot confess to screwing up.

    It is much harder to argue from the constructive centre – limiting yourself to what is possible rather. But this is the only way to deliver a politics which focuses on tackling problems rather than exploiting them. Practical patriotism – ambitious for our country and putting people ahead of ideology – that is the spirit which helped build our country and it is the spirit which is needs now.

    Which reminds me of those evil EU Bureaucrats in Brussels actually being British parliamentarians 80-90% of the time, looking for a CAP funded scapegoat.


    Again… it’s this “Independence” thingy… grow up and take responsibility.

    UKIP are too immature to be a real independence party, and the DUP can be bought up and sold for sandals it seems.


  • the rich get richer

    If our own politicians are already too far removed from the lives of ordinary people , how much farther are those in the guilded offices of Strasbourg and Brussels .

    Its plain that the people of Britain did not see these people making choices for the benefits of ordinary Britons . The cat is out of the bag .

    Hopefully the plain (in the complementary sense) people of other European countries will also decide to caste aside the yoke of the elites of Strasbourg and Brussels.

  • NATO, UN Security Council, World Bank, IMF, WTO (own seat once Brexit is complete), Commonwealth….. No, the UK is not internationalist at all, and has nothing to do with international bodies, or cooperation, or all that. No contribution or place at all.

  • Kevin Breslin

    They still have big issues with productivity and will have with civic connectivity.

    The UK has a seat in the WTO, but the way some Brexiters like Daniel Hannon bang on about it, you would think they were getting a throne rather than be just one in over a hundred, on par with say Lebanon or Belize or Gabon.

  • Declan Doyle

    Fair play to Martin for pulling most of his speech directky from Gerry Adams and Martin McGunness most recent pronouncements on this issue. In terms of rural Ireland it is hard to take Martin serious when it was himself as minister in the Bertie/Cowen government which drove this country off a cluff and it was his party who initiated the policies which created the rot now afflicting our rural communities. Today, whilst Martin eulogises a non terrorist? terrorist ?heroic Republican? Nationalist? He hurls insults at the English for being, eh…nationalist. He is also criticising the actions of a government he helped to create and one which he currently supports !!
    So, while his speech writers have the sense to follow the lead of the Shinners for the substative and rational part; Martin incredibly cannot hear himself contradict himself every time he opens his mouth.
    Its actually quite funny in a pathetic sort of way.
    He is correct about asking Europe to adapt the rules, wonder who gave him that idea? Oh Yes indeed, it was the Shinners again !!

  • “Practical patriotism – ambitious for our country and putting people ahead of ideology”

    The green card has long been Fianna Fáil’s last refuge.

  • Declan Doyle

    Do not mistake Michael Martins anti Englush rant as an example of Irush sentiment towards the English. The man is a disgrace and currently the most dangerous person in Irish politics.

  • Declan Doyle

    His anti English rant is a disgrace, Martin is obviously trying to emulate Trump and his mask has slipped here. Better watch out, either he is losing his mind or he is deliberately setting out to damage the country and then blame it on his coalitiin partners FG.

  • Declan Doyle

    They can do that by changing their home governments.

  • Hugh Davison

    Do you know the difference between a loan and a subsidy?

  • Croiteir

    Was that part of the speech the anti-English rant?

  • grumpy oul man

    I doubt you would find many Irishmen or women who would say the English are their enemy.
    but not a bad rant even taking the lack of any actual facts into account.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well when the UK economy struggles the Irish will be the first to bail them out.

  • Kevin Breslin