Whither Nationalism

Whither Nationalism?

There’s brouhaha in the S.D.L.P. over Declan O’Loan’s call for nationalist unity. The question the S. D.L. P. must first answer— Is the S. D. L. P. constitutionalist or Republican? To answer that the party will have to look at its historic roots. Daniel O’ Connell was the first constitutional nationalist and in his speech— In Favour of the Repeal of the Union—he said this: –

“Let’s have a government at College Green beside a statue of King William where we will be obedient to the Queen joined to England by the golden link of the Crown”

In the same speech he repudiates French Republicanism.

This vision would have been shared by Butt Parnell and Redmond and if any of these nationalist leaders had been offered by Westminster what O ‘Connell had in mind it would have been grabbed with both hands.

To step into the 21st century Mark Durkan writing on Irish unity claims that the S. D. L. P. is the party of true Republicans and that a United Ireland will be an all Ireland Republic with a place for Unionists. Alasdair Mc Donald says the same thing as Mark Durkan. I have already looked at this constitutional absurdity in the article —Does the Constitution really matter? If the party is one of true Republicans and if there is to be Nationalist unity then logically the S. D. L. P. and Sinn Fein should merge with Gerry Adams as leader but it seems there are those in the party who retain a subconscious memory o f O’Connell’s vision and for those a merger with Sinn Fein would be anathema. That may be the root cause of the S. D. L. P. brouhaha.

IN my published writing my thesis is that the Irish Problem is a constitutional problem and the constitutional problem is sectarian in nature. If there is a merger between the catholic parties the S. D. L. P. and Sinn Fein and if there is unionist unity as the protestant Orange Order is now demanding the sectarian constitutional dichotomy in Ireland will be total. There is now a smug acceptance that the
G.F.A. has made everything in Ireland rosy but it is clear to those who see the sickness of sectarianism is in need of eradication that the sectarian G.F.A. copper fastens a sectarian border and institutionalizes a dysfunctional sectarian assembly at Stormont.

MY thesis gives a way out of this sectarian mess. The way out can be found in a
Synthesis of Unionism And Nationalism in the published The National Government
of Ireland Act. This synthesis would express a Federal Kingdom of the Sovereign
Nation of Ireland and Great Britain or vice versa with a reformed Crown as Head Of
State. This scenario for Ireland is akin to O’Connell’s statement given previously. The
Government of Ireland partitioned the island only the National Government of Ireland
Act can unite it

The Thesis rejects all political parties as sectarian. There is need for a new non-
sectarian party— Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein—. To form such a non- sectarian
party would require a voluntary coalition of the political centre in Northern Ireland
made up of the S. D. L. P. and the C. P. U. U. P. and Alliance to oppose the mandatory sectarian coalition of Sinn Fein/D.U.P. Such a party should
take a s its motto: –

IN a Federal Kingdom the people in a United Ireland have nothing to lose but their chains of sectarianism

A respondent to a previous article to Slugger asked what would happen to the Irish President, the Irish flag and to Ireland’s neutrality in a Federal Kingdom? An elected Irish person in the role of Secretary of State for All Ireland would replace the Irish President. The Secretary of State for all Ireland could have an office in Dublin Castle. A new Irish flag would have to come into existence as a composite of the Irish tricolour and the Irish Saltire. This new Irish Flag could be defined in the Act as the National Royal flag of Ireland and a symbol of the Federal Kingdom. Ireland’s neutrality is fine in principle and could be written into the Act.

I put this thesis in a private letter to Sir Reg Empey Lady Sylvia Hermon and Mark Durkan. In a written reply Sir Reg wrote he had read the thesis with interest and Lady Sylvia was enthusiastic about the thesis. Mark referred me to a document he had written on Irish Unity, which stated that the S. D. L. P. is true Republican so there was no joy there. If the S.D.L.P. are true Republicans and are 1916 people they should merge with Sinn Fein. Those who aren’t should rethink Daniel O Connell and reflect on the thesis o f a United Ireland in a Federal Kingdom under a reformed Crown. That is O’Connell in 21st century terms

Michael Gillespie