by Sean Bresnahan, PRO 1916 Societies
Following the conclusion of yet another pseudo negotiation at Stormont, its purpose as ever to prop up British rule in the North, it is clear the status quo in Ireland is incapable of securing forward political progress. New thinking is required. Partition has failed both the long-suffering people of the Six Counties and their compatriots to the South, who likewise endure a reactionary policy spectrum imposed by external actors. The private deal concocted by the Sinn Fein-DUP coalition, overseen by London and Dublin, will do nothing to change that.
As is already the case in the 26-Counties, ordinary men and women in the North are faced with tightening austerity measures, the lynchpin of the agreement brokered. The rich are to profit at the expense of working people, with the slashing of corporation tax to be funded by massive cuts to welfare, impacting on thousands of already struggling families. The British government, backed by Dublin, Sinn Fein and the DUP, has successfully stamped its long-running austerity agenda all over the deal.
On top of that, once again Britain refuses to admit its ‘Dirty War’, with ‘national security’ the instrument to avoid full disclosure. That some agreed to move forward on this basis - effectively losing out on both sides of the negotiation - is a clear demonstration of who holds sway in Ireland. It should likewise be noted the Sinn Fein project of drawing power away from Westminster, supposedly towards regional decision-making processes, stands in ruin, the handing back of key powers to London exposing the same as facade.
All of this makes clear the deal in question has been framed to uphold partitionist government, fulfilling the needs of the British state and its occupation system, with the people barely an afterthought. Ireland can achieve so much more and needs a new beginning. As such, the 1916 Societies, through our flagship One Ireland One Vote initiative, seek a credible alternative to endless negotiation and agreements which ignore the people.
We call instead for a truly democratic engagement, for an inclusive, all-Ireland referendum on Irish Unity, where the people determine their own future, without external impediment. The failed British-run process must go, to be replaced with a project the people control themselves.