What role a monarch in a 32 county Ireland?

Thanks to Boland’s Ghost for pointing us in the direction of Gay Mitchell’s latest kite flying exercise, when he asks if there would be a role for a monarch in a 32 county Republic. It is, as Boland notes, a role back from the position held by Collins in treaty negotiations, since the Irish Republican project has never had more than a derisory response from the island’s original republicans (ie Ulster’s Presbyterians), it may be the least it can do to at least picque their interest.

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  • Garibaldy

    Kathy,

    Nobody here gives a fiddler’s for what the diaspora wants.

  • Hidden Gem

    I think Gay Mitchell was right to raise this issue. Clearly the question surrounding the possibility of a monarch having a role in a 32 county Ireland is based on ideas of mutual respect and compromise? There will of course be those who wholeheartedly support the idea as well as those who wholeheartedly refute the idea with equal measure. However, IMO, I think the key principle for such a discussion to take place is one of compromise. Rigid, non-budging views will show themselves for what they are. We don’t need is a “Never, Never Never!” kind of debate. A constructive debate would benefit everyone, in more ways than one.

    Given that all members of the Commonwealth don’t acknowledge the British monarch as head of state…., and given that the majority of members are republics…, and given that though all members recognise Queen Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth…, and given that the role is not a hereditary position…, and given that there is no assumption that the next British monarch will necessarily inherit this title…; given all of this, is there not room for considering a future 32 county Irish Republic joining the Commonwealth? Irish Republicans would achieve the reunification of Ireland and Unionists would be able to maintain their British links too.

  • Greenflag

    Gerry O Sullivan,

    ‘of how we need to realign our thinking and our approach to our own national identity. And this is what Mitchell was doing when he made his speech.’

    All Mitchell was doing was giving FF plenty of ammunition to beat off any challenge from FG at the General Election . Bertie will be pleased 🙂 John Bruton never recovered from his gaffe at the time of Prince Charle’s visit .

    The vast majority of Irish people are post monarchical in political outlook . The monarch’s religion or lack of religion is immaterial .

  • lib2016

    “..is there not room for considering…joining the Commonwealth?”

    Most Irish people simply don’t care and the only Irish nationalists I’ve heard expressing strong feelings about this are a few athletes who would see an opportunity of joining in the Commonwealth Games.

    You are pushing at an open door. The Irish President is in favour and surely there would be other influential people who would be prepared to give their backing.

    This would be a much more realistic policy for Fine Gael than Gay Mitchel’s daft suggestion about the Royal family. Are there any unionists who would be prepared to welcome Irish moves towards joining the Commonwealth now?

    The problem when this has been brought up by nationalists in the past is that nobody seems interested. Rather than making it a big ‘political’ move it might be better presented as a sporting gesture – at least you’d have the athletes onside right away.

  • Greenflag

    All Mitchell was doing was giving FF plenty of ammunition to beat off any challenge from FG at the General Election .

    Hardly. Elections in the Republic tend to be fought on substantive issues like health, education, crime, the economy, childcare, infrastructure, etc.

  • Hidden Gem

    lib2016

    Most Irish people simply don’t care and the only Irish nationalists I’ve heard expressing strong feelings about this are a few athletes…

    …You are pushing at an open door. The Irish President is in favour…

    I am not advocating that a 32 County Irish Republic should join the Commonwealth but merely asking the question which is, IMO, what Gay Mitchel was doing. IPjnr has dismissed the idea with his “we’re not interested” comment and I’ve heard ”UI or nothing” comments from some Republicans, It seems to me to be an idea that is not without merit, requiring both sides to comprise whilst at the same time allowing both sides to have that which is dear to them. Just out of interest, when did the Irish President voice her support for such an idea?

  • Harry

    A monarch for ireland and joining the commonwealth are anathema to very many, perhaps the vast majority, of the irish. Our troubles really began when we started pledging fielty to british overlords thinking it was merely ceremonial and of no real consequence. The british state must get off this island – 85% of the people have a right to demand that, and whatever media manipulation to try to make things otherwise will be strongly resisted. We owe it to our mental health to finally end this shit, once and for all.

    That said, many ways of securing connections between unionists and britain can no doubt be found without violating the rest of the irish people’s freedom.

  • Nick J

    Harry – ‘That said, many ways of securing connections between unionists and britain can no doubt be found without violating the rest of the irish people’s freedom’

    Such as what. What ‘connections’ would you allow unionists to have with the mainland? Connections that would pursuade them that, yes, a UI is in my interests and I am sure that my identity will be valued and respected because of X,Y and Z. (and connections that obviously would not interfere/violate the rest of the island of course.)

    I truly am interested in what you would allow/disallow in your minds UI?

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    Garibaldy…nobody cares? What sort of denial are you living in. Depends on how you count us…but they say there are about 80 million Irish dispora around the world. The Irish gov’t caters to us…they come to America on St. Patricks Day to spend the few days touching base with American Irish. There is a great irish marketing tool to market to the Irish Disporia…those who have Irish blood and have us come and prop up your economy in tourism. If it wasn’t for those of us all around the world who want to see where we are from…do you really think many would come to your country for vacation. And we can’t forget how the Irish gov’t caters to business…and always tries to find a link with an Irish person on the board or what ever….it’s time the Irish in Ireland realize they aren’t the only ones calling the shots…Oh…speaking of shots…least we forget the Irish liquor industry and how it markets to the world dispora and yes…shots….who do you think funded your war of independance from britain all these years…the disporia. So it doesn’t really matter whether you care or not-the realities are…we matter…and we have a say.

  • Harry

    I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions.

  • kensei

    “nobody cares? What sort of denial are you living in.”

    Oh we acknowledge and listen to your opinion, but if you want substantive say in the decision, bloody well move back here then. If a fraction of a percent of the 80 million dispora claimed Irish citzenship and moved back North, we could have a UI fairly sharpish, no?

  • kensei

    “Such as what. What ‘connections’ would you allow unionists to have with the mainland? Connections that would pursuade them that, yes, a UI is in my interests and I am sure that my identity will be valued and respected because of X,Y and Z. (and connections that obviously would not interfere/violate the rest of the island of course.)

    I truly am interested in what you would allow/disallow in your minds U”

    I think anything that substantially effects the internal running of the state would be out.

    Stuff that would be ok would be things like:

    Special Ambassador or service from the UK to unionism.
    Full or Partial payment for Irish students wishing to attend UK Universities – perhaps scholarships and other links
    Arrangements allowing UK citzens resident to vote in Irish elections similar to what is already in place
    Protections for Ulster Scots / Unionist /British culture similar to what is in place for the Gaeltacht now
    Perhaps allowing the British Army to recruit here in some fashion
    Lifting of the requirement of Irish for government jobs
    East-West Ministeral council
    Joining Commonwealth
    Bank holiday for twelfth or Armistice Day
    Regular or semi-regular visits from Head of States
    Constitutional protections

    But it’s not a matter of allow or deny and dictating. It’s a matter of what we would both find acceptable. What would you like to see.

  • Rory

    Clearly the question surrounding the possibility of a monarch having a role in a 32 county Ireland is based on ideas of mutual respect and compromise?

    Terrific! Hidden Gem. The weather is a bit gloomy here and the women folk are all in a tizzy and I was feeling quite blue meself. But that really made me laugh out loud. A monarchy as the guarantor of mutual respect and compromise. I bet Charles Stuart wished he’d thought about that.

    Hee hee! I can just see Louis XVI bowing before the peasantry as a measure of his mutual respect and the idea of our own present day Charlie over here down the Stoat ‘n’ Spaghetti Hoops with a cheery, “‘Allo darlin’, fancy a Bacardi Breezer then?” to the cleaning lady is just too much to bear. Man, you should be at Edinburgh.

  • Greenflag

    Gerry O”Sulivan

    ‘ Elections in the Republic tend to be fought on substantive issues like health, education, crime, the economy, childcare, infrastructure, etc. ‘

    That’s right but in a close election ‘gaffes’ like Mitchell’s will be dragged up to haunt the FG candidates on the hustings . All it will take is maybe 2% of the electorate to be swayed one way or the other .

    Anyway why do we Irish need to question our identity ? We’re Irish -end of story – regardless of religious or ethnic background . If Unionists have a problem with that it’s because they are not Irish . As Unionists insist they are British I’ll take them at their word .

    As for connections with Britain? Britain is a major export market for Irish products (20 % approx) and ROI is Britain’s fourth biggest export market . There are millions of people with family connections across the Irish Sea even excluding Unionists. There are tens of thousands of Brits working and living in the Republic . I’d say we have more than enough connections .

    I’ve no objection to closer cooperation between the UK and ROI in areas such as education, health and even defence . But history has shown us that direct British interference in Ireland in the past led mostly to division , war , and political , economic and religious oppression .

    Given the ‘Unionist ‘ political position in Ireland over the past 80 years and the local history of NI in that time – a fair repartition is the only solution that can allow the greatest number of people on the island live in the State of their first preference .

  • Greenflag

    Kathy_C ,

    Nobody in Ireland denies the contribution made by Irish emigrants in winning Irish independence . It can be truly said that without economic and political support from the USA the Irish Free State would never have come into existence and would not have survived.

    That said the harsh fact of political life here is that the Irish diaspora don’t have any votes . A few years ago there was a lot of talk about Irish emigrants being given the vote but all of that now appears to have been forgotten ?

    Presumably politicians in Ireland do not want any votes coming from the emigrant population on the basis that SF would win most of them ?

    There is of course the no taxation no representation argument . I’d like to see ‘representation’ from the Irish ‘diaspora’ at least in the Irish Senate .

  • Greenflag

    ‘The problem when this has been brought up by nationalists in the past is that nobody seems interested.’

    Ireland would be the wealthiest member by far on a per capita GDP or GNP basis in the Commonwealth.

    Broadening educational, sporting, cultural and trade connections would seem to be the main benefits of belonging to the Commonwealth. But the fact that ROI is not in the Commonwealth has not restricted the development of these world wide connections in recent decades anyway ?

    So other than ‘sentimental ‘ reasons and the Commonwealth Games what reason is there for rejoining ?

    To make Unionists ‘feel’ better about a UI ?

    Ridiculous -Nothing that any Irish Government can or will do will make Unionists feel any better about a 32 county UI .

    We Irish need to understand and accept that fact of political life and move on to the more important issue of how to include as many Irish people as possible on this island in post repartition Irish Republic .

  • Hidden Gem

    Harry

    “A monarch for ireland and joining the commonwealth are anathema to very many, perhaps the vast majority, of the irish.”

    I would not dispute this point at all, but do you think it would remain so if it brought about the lasting, peaceful, reunification of a 32 county republic?

    “…many ways of securing connections between unionists and britain can no doubt be found without violating the rest of the irish people’s freedom.”
    Such as? Unionist don’t seem to like any suggestions.

    Rory

    I fail to see the point of you satire. The Head of the Commonwealth is NOT necessarily a hereditary role. Unlike the roles held by Charles I or Louis XVI, it isn’t a position held by divine right. Present day Charlie won’t automatically replace his mother in this role. Am I right to conclude that your objection is based against the idea of a “British” monarch? Would you still disapprove if the head of the Commonwealth was Canadian or Indian?

    …A monarchy as the guarantor of mutual respect and compromise.
    I agree. But I have to ask myself, if it really meant the reunification of a 32 county Irish republic, I’m not so sure I would rule it out. I mean, the Commonwealth is all but symbolic in nearly everyway. It’s a nice idea if you’re an athlete but otherwise…, what is it really? And, like I say, if it meant the reunification of Ireland….

  • Harry

    If it’s so symbolic then the unionists won’t miss it. I would be totally opposed to either a monarchy or membership of the commonwealth on mental health grounds – the irish must be totally free of british influence or they will never be able to fully empower themselves. From true freedom will come the ability to interact with the british on an equal footing, not through fundamentally compromising our freedom at the outset (to their advantage and our detriment).

  • Rory

    Am I right to conclude that your objection is based against the idea of a “British” monarch?

    Good God no, Hidden Gem. I am not at all biased in this matter I would send them all to the guillotine whatever flavour they were. I’m an equal opportunities regicide I am, ask anyone.

  • kensei

    “I fail to see the point of you satire. The Head of the Commonwealth is NOT necessarily a hereditary role. Unlike the roles held by Charles I or Louis XVI, it isn’t a position held by divine right. Present day Charlie won’t automatically replace his mother in this role. ”

    This is one of them technically true things. What you are saying is technically true, but would anyone care to take a guess what will happen?

  • Hidden Gem

    “If it’s so symbolic then the unionists won’t miss it.”

    The monarchy is so important to many Unionists, (though I noted with interest contributions elsewhere on Slugger by British Republicans.) I may hold a different view but if that rocks their boat then so be it. I understand that Nationalists will opposed to either a monarchy or membership of the commonwealth but I think there is room to run with the idea…?

    Unionist compromise: 32 County Irish Republic.
    Unionst win: Irish membership of the Commonwealth

    Nationalist compromise: Irish membership of the Commonwealth
    Nationalist win: 32 County Irish Republic.

    Is it just me or does each side appear to win / loose in equal measure?

  • IJP

    Kensei

    The Republic is not overly sectarian because it has no real sectarian divide. An all-island State would have, and it would be over 80% Nationalist. Nationalist historical myths, Nationalist cultural assumptions, Nationalist codes of governance (including the corruption, blind eye to terrorism and general “ach sure it’ll be fine” mentality) will prevail. Hardly appealing to non-Nationalists…

    Britain has a constitution, a specific bill of rights (unlike Ireland), and a much more fundamental historical democratic tradition. Yet that doesn’t persuade you that your rights are protected within it (and I can well understand why not). So why would Northern Prods be persuaded by the much less established, less tested Irish model, the implementation of which includes all the above? Just because it’s written down?!

    The answer may well be that you can find a new model which works for both Unionists and your average resident of the current Republic. But it may well be that you can’t.

    Which is again why we should be answering the question I posed: not “How do we get the constitutional outcome I happen to want” or “How do we resolve the national question (the way I want)?”, but “How do we make this place stable, prosperous and fair?”

    I have to leave open the very real possibility that that question is more easily answered in the context of an all-island State.

    But likewise, you have to leave open the very real possibility that it isn’t.

    That’s what the Agreement and the consent principle were all about. It’s just a shame those engaged in implementing it never noticed.

    To end on a major point of agreement – yes, if “Irish” people are so proud of “Ireland”, they should come and live here…!

  • Harry

    Unionists wishes will not dominate our cultural life any longer. We will ‘win’ what is rightfully ours and several hundred years of struggle will not result in a small number of unionists threatening us to accept what is against our well-being as a nation.

  • kensei

    “The Republic is not overly sectarian because it has no real sectarian divide. An all-island State would have, and it would be over 80% Nationalist. Nationalist historical myths, Nationalist cultural assumptions, Nationalist codes of governance (including the corruption, blind eye to terrorism and general “ach sure it’ll be fine” mentality) will prevail. Hardly appealing to non-Nationalists…”

    The Republic has, and always has Protestants, mainly of whom have contributed significantly to public life and the nation. The Republic now also has a large number of immigrants who have their own unique needs and interests. You are overestimating the importance or significance of Unionism and how its interest differ from other groups.

    As for your other points, corruption is by no means an Irish or Nationalist disease (I believe there is a few threads on the UUP at the moment) and I look forward to have a group of people who rigorously oppose it, as a state, Ireland has opposed terrorism or non state forces often to extremism and “ach sure” point lacks any kind of rigour that I’m not even going to answer it.

    As for myths and symbols, parity of esteem means that Nationalists symbols will be relatively more prevalent due to the larger number of Nationalists. This does not mean that Unionism or anyone else gets crushed – I see a system where various parts of the country keep a local flavour – be it Gaeltacht, Ulster Scots bits of the North, or a Polish or Chinese bit of Dublin. All those identies are protected by the Constitution, and helped by the Governement.

    “Britain has a constitution, a specific bill of rights (unlike Ireland), and a much more fundamental historical democratic tradition.”

    Britain has an unwritten Constitution which is worthless, a Bill of Rights that doesn’t include many modern ones and can be revoked at any time by a simple Act of Parliament (this is truly horrifying) and Ireland has a traditon of democracy from the foundation of the state. And a spirit backed up by not being allowe dit for so long, of course.

    “Yet that doesn’t persuade you that your rights are protected within it (and I can well understand why not). So why would Northern Prods be persuaded by the much less established, less tested Irish model, the implementation of which includes all the above? Just because it’s written down?!”

    Yes. Because it is written down and the courts will persue it. In a UI, I would like Irishmen to be as proud and protective of their Constitution as Americans.

    “Which is again why we should be answering the question I posed: not “How do we get the constitutional outcome I happen to want” or “How do we resolve the national question (the way I want)?”, but “How do we make this place stable, prosperous and fair?””

    I asked the question. I came up with “Get a UI as quick as possible, so we have the power to do things.”

    “I have to leave open the very real possibility that that question is more easily answered in the context of an all-island State.

    But likewise, you have to leave open the very real possibility that it isn’t.”

    I don’t, any more than I have to leave open the possibility that Monarchy is superior than an elected head of state. The idea that handing control of your destiny to another nation is a good idea is beyond my capacity.

    “That’s what the Agreement and the consent principle were all about. It’s just a shame those engaged in implementing it never noticed.”

    It wasn’t. The Agreement and consent principle was about giving everyone some stake in this place and in convincing Unionists they had secured the Union and Nationalists they had secured the route to the UI. It’s a fudge.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    Greenflag and kensei….Have you ever heard of the statement and I’ll have to paraphrase it to get by the censors…”Money talks….doggy do do walks….” That said. I know that the disporia don’t vote in the republic of Ireland. I also know that the disporia wouldn’t travel to Ireland and support alot of your businesses IF the queen of england or any of her bunch had ANY role in Ireland whether cermonial or via the commenwealth. So, the Irish disporia money doesn’t WANT the queen and family to have a role in Ireland…ergo…it won’t happen whether we ‘vote’ or not…..And where did you EVER get that the majority of the disporia would back sinn fein? Ireland and that is the gov’t and businesses don’t want to bite the hand that feeds it.

  • Rory

    What ‘connections’ would you allow unionists to have with the mainland?

    Whatever is necessaty – Ryanair; Easyjet; Stena -and of course for the fitness freaks – swimming. (But remember to tuck that EU passport in your togs in order to establish your bona fides as a European citizen).

  • Hidden Gem

    IJP

    “That’s what the Agreement and the consent principle were all about. It’s just a shame those engaged in implementing it never noticed.”

    To be fair to Mark Durkan, I have heard him speak many times about the principle of consent. The SDLP have made it clear that the same safeguards that exist for Nationalism under the GFA will also exist and remain for Unionism under a U.I. I wonder if unionists are reassured by such a commitment. The equality issue seems to be ringing through here…

  • IJP

    Hidden Gem

    Mark Durkan has never spoken about the principle of consent. He has talked about a United Ireland by consent.

    To accept the principle of consent means accepting fundamentally that your preferred option (in his case, a UI) may come about – but also that it may *not*.

    What has he to say about the latter possibility?

  • IJP

    Kensei

    The idea that handing control of your destiny to another nation is a good idea is beyond my capacity.

    Yes, and it is beyond many Unionists’ capacity.

    And one side will get its way – and the other won’t… and the one that doesn’t might be yours.

    That’s the crux. It’s a pity no one wants to deal with it.

    (As for the courts enforcing all this stuff – sorry, I simply don’t buy it. Firstly, they’ll be enforcing things mainly alien to the British part of the population. Secondly, they’ll be enforcing them within the framework of Nationalist Ireland’s world view. Just because something is written down, doesn’t mean people agree what it means – Good Friday 1998 for a start…)

  • Hidden Gem

    IJP

    I wouldn’t want to become labled as a defender of Mark Durkan and/or the SDLP but I can recall him talking on several BBC selcted-audience face the panel shows where he was discussing the mutual assurances for all that are enshrined in the agreement.

    I take your point that he has spoken about a UI being brought about by consent but I do believe the SDLP are of the opinion that, as an international agreement, assurances given for Nationalists therein will stand for unionists too. Furthermore, I believe that moderate Nationalism accepts that a UI may not come about anytime soon but I think it is considered as an “objective” view that in time, Unionism may well filter out completely. Whether this is right or wrong is another matter but the point is that, for moderate nationalists at least, democratic means are acknowledged as the only way to secure their political aspirations. For MN, this has always been the case.

  • IJP

    Fair points, Hidden Gem.

    My point, I think, stands that people have not come to terms with the reality of the consent principle.

    I’m not saying it’s easy!

  • kensei

    “Yes, and it is beyond many Unionists’ capacity.

    And one side will get its way – and the other won’t… and the one that doesn’t might be yours.”

    Or there is a third option. internal forces will rip this place apart, and the repartitionists here will get their wish.

    I simply can’t see anyway this place will last another 50 years.

    “That’s the crux. It’s a pity no one wants to deal with it.”

    I’m dealing with it. I am trying to get my side to win.

    “As for the courts enforcing all this stuff – sorry, I simply don’t buy it. Firstly, they’ll be enforcing things mainly alien to the British part of the population.”

    I’m glad you admit that rights and democracy are alien to Britain! Also – inconceivable that a community with so many judges and Lawyers won’t be part of that system.

    “Secondly, they’ll be enforcing them within the framework of Nationalist Ireland’s world view. Just because something is written down, doesn’t mean people agree what it means – Good Friday 1998 for a start…”

    No, they will be enforcing a new, negotiated Constitution. You have capable and legalistic leaders. Get them to tie it down tight.

    And of course, there are European courts above that. This is a spurious argument. Objecting to it ont he grounds you would be discriminated in a UI is not credible thes edays.

  • Kilian

    Lets not concern ourselves with the incest between our early governments and the Catholic church, for we are all too well aware that modern Ireland is now like a solo mum trying to care for her bastard children from an abusive marriage.
    But she is doing well, and our youth are finally free from the sadomasochism of Catholicism.
    Soon I hope to be free from the despotism and nepotism of recent politics too.

    In times of extreme ardure, bad marriages are made, and no-one could blame the governments for listening to that powerful church, when it was the church which provided much needed nourishment to the people down through the ages.

    But lets get over our ancestors and live in the here and now….We claim our self determination as a republic now,and no-one must have the power, symbolic or otherwise, to raise themselves above or beyond us and declare otherwise. We live with our mistakes, in the full knowledge that they belong to us, and us alone. We decide as a people our future, and we excercise our righ to do so in the legislation our elected reps pass. Our elected President provides our seperation of powers with a real role.

    What role for a monarchy in a UI ?

    None that I see, unless we are willing to up the stakes considerably on the symbolism of ‘symbolism’.

    Previous contributors are critiqued for misunderstanding the British mindset, although they made nothing other than an attempt to describe the modern Irish attitude to a Monarchy.

    What is, exactly, a Constitutional Monarchy?

    It seems to me a classic case of giving something silly a sensible sounding name in an attempt to convince the unwary that the concept has integrity.

    What is, exactly, a Symbolic Role?

    Does the Queen (and God bless the current postholder, a wonderful person indeed)symbolically, or actually, sign legislation into Law?

    And if she refused to sign, would it still become law?

    And if in her wordly wisdom, she decided to dissolve Parliament, would Parliament dissolve?

    Are her powers symbolic, because she CANNOT excercise them, or chooses not to?

    Somewhat rhetorical, I’ll agree, but this “symbolism” concept needs to be teased out a bit more I think.