Considering the constitutional future of Republicanism in Ireland…

Last year I wrote a post on the 12th which has several times since been taken out of context… You can see it here. In it I argued, simply enough as I thought, that the 12th of July belongs to all of us. By which I meant that as much as Orangemen should be permitted to march, non Orange citizens are entitled to their non Orange day too

In the meantime, this was the year a senior Orangeman had to remind patriotic Irishmen and Irishwomen that the third colour in the tricolour is Orange.

The intended symbolism of the flag may have become ‘misplaced’ in recent times, but the term res publica from which the modern term republicanism arises, also means public affair or space. The openness and right of access to public space for safe demonstration or protest is a key right in any democracy, or indeed republic.

In that regard, as I noted last year…

…it might pay all (Republican as well as Unionist) to remember they and their tradition cannot not completely own any date on the calendar. So to all, a happy and safe 12th of July whatever you’re doing and whatever it means to you…

Given recent history, political tolerance remains a tall order in some places more than others. In Ardoyne the current peace settlement is a tough sell for constitutional republicans like Gerry Kelly than in the more settled and broader republican heartland of west Belfast. The annual riots there are just one end of problematic political wedge.

But if the peace is to hold and deepen in the longer term, republicanism must develop a realistic road map to the future and one that is every bit as conditioned to sustaining a long peace as it once steeled itself for a long war.

Over the summer, call it a virtual summer school if you like, I’ll be looking for considered blog essays (between 1500-2000 words) that begin to probe what a vibrant Republican political future might need, and what paths it might usefully chart. It’s similar to what we did with our Lisbon essay series, only each one I hope will be longer, and not as many.

The idea is not to solve the problem of what a Republican future might look like, but to begin turning over the hard packed down clay to see what lies beneath… I’ll kick off early next week with a consideration of the influence of conflict from the foundation year of the Northern Irish state onward.

If you are interested and you think you would like to contribute, ping me an email at: editor@sluggerotoole.com

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  • Zig70

    I’ve been forced to take 2days of work, I’ve prematurely run out of cement and not sure if I’ll get to buy more so not feeling any warmth to orangemen imposing on my life. The Irish should understand that the orange on the tricolor is also an imposition. It’s a poor choice to reflect those of british culture in the north that would actually stay if a UI happened and the best thing we can do is show a willingness to change it. The north would be joining the South and I’d expect it, after a period of transition, to be like the south. Don’t want extra cost from federal rubbish.

  • Morpheus

    “By which I meant that as much as Orangemen should be permitted to march, non Orange citizens are entitled to their non Orange day too”

    Well 5000 dissident republicans are set to parade on the streets of Belfast next month so they just might get their non Orange day sooner rather than later I wonder how that will be received? Will Loyalism ‘just stay in their homes because it will only take 5 minutes to pass’ or will they ‘travel to be offended’?

    Back to the topic, interesting idea Mick – I will have a stab at where I think nationalism/republicanism (genuine question – is there a difference?) should focus their efforts.

    But suffice to say for now, if I were MMG then step 1 is to ask the SOS what criteria she needs to see in order for a border poll to be conducted as it is extremely vague in the GFA. Does she need to see a particular statistic in the elections? The census? The polls? A combination?

  • Mick Fealty

    I should that’s worth reasoning out Morph.. I have a sense that if we get enough for an ebook Id try to garner the best of the comments as well as the original essays…

  • boondock

    ”The north would be joining the South and I’d expect it, after a period of transition, to be like the south. Don’t want extra cost from federal rubbish.”

    To be honest zig if a UI ever happens it will almost certainly retain the joke that is Stormont with quite a degree of autonomy for 6/9 county Ulster.

    Mick when you get all these essays together could you e-mail them to SF seeing as they seem to have no real ideas of their own.

  • Mick Fealty

    Id be hoping for some input from.that direction. And when it comes to the esaay comment Ill be doning my extreme moderators ball busting hardhat on to deal with *any*distractions or manplaying..

  • Zig70

    Boondock, do you expect any appetite from the south to pay to maintain a stormont and the implication of two other provincial seats? That also misses taking into consideration the view from the south of crazy nordies who couldn’t agree anything anyway. Getting rid of stormont and the huge over administration would be a great thing but I’d like to know what happened in other cases like east germany to all the government jobs. It’s not like regions joining hasn’t happened before. Similar to Germany, I don’t foresee any third state and a new socialist republic is the biggest laugh on this rightwing island.

  • Pasty

    I would agree with you there Mick, I don’t agree with the OO Bigoted outdated sectarian rules but I do think if people ignored them then they would eventually dwindle in numbers, after all the OO members in the lodges concerned with this parade are not the moral standing that would have been allowed membership in past years – a case of accepting who they can get.

    As for the actual allowing of parades everyone has a right, and that includes Republicans and Nationalists who live in Ligoneill and may want to parade down the Crumlin Road in the next year or two in order to take part in the Easter Rising celebrations and it will be interesting then to see if the Unionist politicians and community leaders will be so open to other traditions.

    Maybe Nigel Dodds could actually provide an answer to whether he supports the rights of Republicans in Ligoneill village to walk through the Unionist part of the road to get to Ardoyne and “Feed” into the main Republican parades ? or any of the other DUP/UUP elected representatives what is their view ?

    It has to noted that Ian Og Paisley has consistently objected to Republican parades in Ballymena, yet just look at some of the statements from the DUP on that issue it is all about Unionisms right NO ONE else’s.

  • boondock

    I gues the South would consider the costs of a regional assembly a small price to pay to keep the crazy Nordies semi removed from Dublin. I dont think there wiould be any need for other provincial seats as obvioulsy Ulster is a slightly special case. I mention 6/9 county option as certainly Donegal (dont know enough about Cavan and Monaghan) have no love affair with Dublin and feel pretty neglected by the government although whether they would want to swap one shower of eejits for another I am not sure.

  • Neil

    I don’t think so. First order of business would be cutting back on expenses I would imagine, so these 6 counties would have 56 elected TDs. Unionists would be wooed by all parties and could quite possibly hold the balance of power. SF in the North would be reduced to approx 17 TDs.

  • Zig70

    Might be a good place to start with a few history lessons on where it has happened before. I’d be more interested in the human element of reunification rather than anything about legal constitutional settlements.

  • Mick Fealty

    Part of my reasoning for launching this initiative is to help extend tge time frames in which people seek to act. So that happens on Tuesday week can been seen in it terms of its longer term effects, and vice versa.

    I’m assuming here that tying a longer term vision and ashort termc action would be empowering.

  • John Ó Néill

    Piece on issues of class and religion that have contributed to perceptions of republican ideology: Trucileers, a battalion of armed Catholics and economic illiteracy… (it will make more sense in 2000 words).

  • boondock

    Neil not sure how many TD’s Northern Ireland would get in such a Dail but currently Northern Ireland has 28% of the population of the island. Obviously for a UI to materialise the Unionist percentage would need to be a lot less than it is now and would maybe drop further post unification so I think you would be left with a figure around 10% would that hold the balance of power not sure but certainly still able to have a strong voice, certainly compared to Wesrtminster with none of the local parties having any influence.

  • Son of Strongbow

    What’s the sound of one hand clapping?

  • JR

    I would like to have a stab at that, not sure if i’m up to it but would like to have a go.

  • Mick Fealty

    Happy to take pitches lads/lasses… I’m aiming for a limited number of essays for the book, but am also happy to take guest blogs…

  • “republicanism must develop a realistic road map to the future and one that is every bit as conditioned to sustaining a long peace as it once steeled itself for a long war.”

    Mick, are you referring to the militant school of Irish republicanism or are you including the republicanism of the likes of the SDLP?

    Dissident republicans are continuing on the path blazed by the Provo grouping, though on a much smaller scale, whereas the latter have set aside the use of violence to effect constitutional change for the time being but are pursuing cultural attrition instead, alongside more conventional political activity.

    None of this is beneficial to res publica/the public interest.

  • DoppiaVu

    Yellow card??? You’re kidding me, right??

  • Mick Fealty

    Nev,

    See my earlier reply re reasoning out differences above…

  • Mick Fealty

    DV, not me. Will look into it when I get back to base…

  • tacapall

    The whole concept of republicanism in Ireland has to evolve into the 21st century as I believe republicanism was hijacked by religious fundamentalists like De Valera but at the same time it must retrace its roots back to the Emmet, Tone and McCracken ideology of what republicanism was really about, simply that Ireland is not the property of England and Irish people have the right to decide their own destiny and decide their own laws. Questions like the link with Britain must be re evaluated like can we have a link without the Queen being our head of state, can we be a member of the commonwealth without the baggage of the monarchy, can Ireland and Britain come to an agreement about security issues, economic co-operation, a union that is voluntary rather than imposed. The world we live in today is dominated by Bankers and big business, global corporations that care nothing about people except their ability to profit from an individuals success or their hardships. The idea that some people are born with privilege, that those same people have an automatic right to deny our elected politicians the right to pass laws or enact legislation that would threaten their privileged way of life cannot and is not the best way for our people both here and Britain to evolve, it is a path that will lead to more inequality, more repression and more draconian laws that will serve the interests of the privileged few while feeding off the backs of the masses, the underclass, the uneducated, subjects that are able to be sacrificed at the whim of a few.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi tacapall, when I dipped into this thread and just caught “that those same people have an automatic right to deny our elected politicians the right to pass laws or enact legislation that would threaten their privileged way of life cannot and is not the best way for our people both here and Britain to evolve, it is a path that will lead to more inequality, more repression and more draconian laws that will serve the interests of the privileged few while feeding off the backs of the masses, the underclass, the uneducated, subjects that are able to be sacrificed at the whim of a few.” I thought you were talking about the DUP and the Petition of Concern.

    You don’t have to wear a crown to use (in this case newly acquired) privilege to make the world spin to your personal advantage. Take the crown out of the equation you still have to contend with the really hard men, the ” Bankers and big business, global corporations” who are the real enemy. These things are not actually dependant on the continuity of the crown.

  • tacapall

    “You don’t have to wear a crown to use (in this case newly acquired) privilege to make the world spin to your personal advantage. Take the crown out of the equation you still have to contend with the really hard men, the ” Bankers and big business, global corporations” who are the real enemy. These things are not actually dependant on the continuity of the crown.”

    Yes Seaan I agree with what you say but at the end of the day it is the monarchy that is the undemocratic foundation of that upper class British establishment, those privileged few who allow those bankers and global corporations that occupy part of London and give them free reign to plunder the world or sacrificing the subjects in the name of democracy but in reality for profit, it is the monarchy that fools the masses with fairy tales and illusion that this is not so and has the privilege to disregard what the masses want in order to keep the status quo. We can refuse to re-elect corrupt politicians or they can be punished for wrongdoing but I dont think we would ever see a member of the royal family being brought before a crown court for any misdemeanor.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks for the great clarification, tacapall. My own beef is about the big lie that our own little hell began with, the Dutch invasion and its unending aftermath, as celebrated today everywhere!

    Have you read my friend Éamonn Ó Ciardha’s excellent “Ireland and the jacobite Cause”? Both he, and earlier Ó Buchalla show just how an earlier Irish Jacobitism fed into the liberal Republican “Jacobinism” of the United Irishmen of Emmet, Tone and McCracken through the Defenders. This is not so strange as it sounds – the later Stuarts were very liberal and “advanced” in outlook, and much of the enlightenment thought that went into the United Men had already run through Jacobite Salons.

    Georges Sorel tells me that everything political is powered by some form of myth, so the idea of faery tale and illusion fail to scare me off, but I agree with you on great swathes of what you’re saying. To me, as for you I think, the core issue is honesty and accountability, which I fear Republican or Democratic structures seem to have as much difficulty developing as the older monarchies or the modern banana republic. And I have no understanding of how we can actually hold Tweedledee accountable simply by electing his brother Tweedledum in his place, which is how Democracy actually seems to work just about everywhere. We (you and I) can refuse to elect the B*****s but everyone else just does it again and again! And we end up with the block vote certainty of DUP/SF “One party in two fiefdoms” rule here on the Hill.

    But it would be wonderful if it (voting them out and getting decent politicians in their place) actually worked in practice. anywhere….. but perhaps someday!

  • tacapall

    “Have you read my friend Éamonn Ó Ciardha’s excellent “Ireland and the jacobite Cause”? Both he, and earlier Ó Buchalla show just how an earlier Irish Jacobitism fed into the liberal Republican “Jacobinism” of the United Irishmen of Emmet, Tone and McCracken through the Defenders. This is not so strange as it sounds – the later Stuarts were very liberal and “advanced” in outlook, and much of the enlightenment thought that went into the United Men had already run through Jacobite Salons”

    Hi Seaan, no that’s not a book I have read yet and thanks for the recommendation I will endeavour to hunt that book down. £32.50 is a bit too much for me like so I will try the library, Out of stock in paperback on Amazon.

    I believe its going to take a few generations for any movement towards a meeting of minds regarding the Orange and Green we just have such a small gene pool regarding choice when it comes to individuals we can actually vote for in an elections in this part of Ireland, there just does not seem to be common cause, its all for one and none for the other or half hearted attempts to come up with a solutions that suit just one side.

    Politics now is too close to investors and global corporations, titles, patronages, planning permissions, new laws even royal prerogatives can all be bought by the right kind of people for the right price. Politicians are mere puppets for big business and the bankers, willing and able to rob, shaft and even sacrifice their electorate for a few dollars more. The world is not fair and democracy has now become just a byword for death and destruction, control and corruption by those who invest in human slavery. I agree you or I can never change things but that will never stop me believing that someday it will, like all dynasties come to an end.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi tacapall, yes, I know the current price is a bit steep. Mine was a review copy (hb). Only Irish and Local studies in Armagh have a shelf copy, or the Linen Hall Library or QUB, so you may have to request it as an interloan. Some English libraries have it, and that really says everything about anything that’s going to be outside the boring old box in our own padded cell with marches!!!! Good luck!

    “But that will never stop me believing that someday it will, like all dynasties come to an end.” Me too! I’ve just been looking at Marcuse’s “One Dimentional Man”, an old blast from the opotomistic sixties, like my dog eared hardback from, my student days, a pre-Coalisland march copy! It says everything about how the narrowing of cues creates a situation where we end up with what we have got. But I still hope, and every time I talk to a politician who still believes in something, I hope taht we are seeding a more open minded future.

  • Mick, hope this series lifts itself above the parochial above. Just starting with nationalism, or post-nationalist, proposition now that Westminster has been replaced with Brussels, the Bank of England with the ECB. That is before you get to Republicanism… for starters.

  • Could be some interesting pieces I suppose but I would be more interested in hearing from contributors from ROI than NI.

    I know N.Irish Republicans would argue that they, unlike someone in Killarney or Tralee, have to actually to face and deal with Unionists-loyalists-prods-Rangers supporters on a daily basis but still, if Irish Republicanism is to progress then some sort of more innovative and creative thinking needs to emerge.

    Simply because they are removed from the communalist trenches that there northern brethren have dug themselves into, I think that might be easier for folk in the ROI:

  • tacapall

    Dissenter does the same people who own the Bank of England not also own the ECB ? Will those same owners still have a tax haven in London ? Is Inner city London controlled by those European politicians and will this passing of power from Westminster to Brussels include the power to advise the Queen to send us all off to war at the behest of a foreign parliament ? Does it also mean that the Queen of England not longer has a right to claim ownership to a part of Ireland ?

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s got to be contributions from both sides I think, if we are to start moving on… They won’t necessarily come consecutively in the series, but I’d hope to have a good mix by the end…

  • DoppiaVu

    hi Mick. Still waiting for a response on my yellow card.

  • DV,

    If you look at the commenting and moderation policies at the foot of the page, you might note that no explanation for cards will necessarily be given. Mick did say that he didn’t award the yellow and would look into it when he returned to base. I know of at least two other cases where a card mysteriously was awarded due to a hiccough in the software.

  • Mick Fealty

    Man playing… Please wait till people write something before telling us what they’re going to write… Standards will I hope be set at a higher level than normal, I hope… Both in the comments and in the blog essays themselves…

  • DoppiaVu

    absolutely support the man-playing rule…but I think that applying it to a throwaway sarcastic remark is going a bit far. Still, your site, your rules, and thanks for the response.