Britain out of Ireland
Britain out of Ireland



The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) has said it is supporting a ‘border poll’ on unity as part of a new campaign for a United Ireland outside of the EU. The following is an extract from its new policy document, ‘Britain out of Ireland - Ireland out of the EU’.


Demographics in the north of Ireland are changing.

Conceived by Britain in 1921 as a gerrymandered state with built in Unionist majority; generational based political shifts in the six counties have presented a scenario wherein for the first time ever, progressive sentiment may tip the balance of public opinion in favour of ending partition itself.

Since its inception, the Irish Republican Socialist Party have challenged and rejected the right of the six-county state to exist in any form, this remains our position today.

In 1998, we opposed the Good Friday Agreement, it’s so called ‘principle of consent’ and the triple lock system which saw the sectarian state known as ‘Northern Ireland’ consolidated as a quasi-legitimate entity.

Our outlook in this regard remains constant and standing on the platform of anti-imperialism, we remain committed to the dismantling of the British state in Ireland, be that by the utilisation of ‘constitutional methods’ or outside the confines of the GFA if needs be.


Central to the project of revolutionary change however lies a duty to recognise political and social reality as it exists at every juncture of historical development.

The IRSP have traditionally held a sceptical attitude towards electoral solutions to the British imposed border in Ireland and unlike the parties of mainstream nationalism, we do NOT recognise the Good Friday Agreement’s ‘principle of consent’ which in reality amounts to a reactionary veto on progress towards Irish National Liberation, nor do we believe that there can be any parliamentary road to Socialism.

In the event of any failure to end partition via so called ‘constitutional’ means, Republican Socialists would be under no more compulsion to recognise the Unionist Veto than we are today, holding that it was founded upon the fraudulent coercion of the Irish people who under a state of duress were compelled to accept the unconstitutional division of Ireland in 1921.

Such a corrupt constitutional set up never has and never will receive recognition from the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

However, the demographic and subsequent political shifts currently being witnessed in the north are occurring at a pace unpredicted by any political party when the Good Friday Agreement was conceived. It is our belief that rising progressive sentiment (particularly amongst our youth) which today seeks an end to partition in our lifetime can conceivably be harnessed to significantly weaken, discredit and eventually play a part in dismantling the sectarian northern state itself.

The fact that this momentum may express itself via the Good Friday Agreement1 (that is via a ‘border poll’ or unity referendum) presents no ideological or principled difficulty for the IRSP. Progressive popular opinion is of greater revolutionary importance than the past or current programs of any political party and for Republican Socialists to ignore the sentiments of a progressive section of the Irish working class would represent no less than arrogant posturing on our behalf. We have no intention of retreating into such an intellectual morass.

Since our inception ours has been a party that has rejected abstentionism for its own sake, favouring critical engagement with established political institutions, when and where to do so would weaken the power of the state and advance the Irish revolutionary position. Such were the teachings of our founding members James Connolly and Seamus Costello in whose tradition we today stand.

It is the considered opinion of the IRSP that in the current environment, there is more to be gained in actively calling for and campaigning around a ‘border poll’ for an end to the sectarian state than there is to be lost.

Similar initiatives in Scotland and Catalonia have introduced thousands of previously apolitical youths to the concepts and merits of radical politics there, bringing them onto the streets and into the ways of progressive activism, arguably changing the political landscapes and future fortunes of those nations forever.

Thus far, no movement on the left has added their weight to calls for a border poll here, leaving centrist nationalist parties like the SDLP and Sinn Fein free to promote their own concept of a United Ireland; united under the flag of the European Union and so subsequently (and unavoidably) bereft of Socialist principles or values. Such a setup is anathema to Republican Socialism and or even basic principles of Irish independence.

In such a dynamic, it is the duty of the left to intervene, not least to point out the inherent contradictions in a pro-EU/pro-independence position, but to harness and mobilise those who wish to challenge in a non-violent fashion, the ongoing partition of Ireland, while rejecting the constricted and pro-capitalist values of the EU.

The IRSP understand that the prospect of an immediate and successful outcome in a border poll is not assured, however it is our belief that the mobilising of significant numbers around such an initiative (along with the popular public debate which will undoubtedly follow) may with time set off a popular momentum for Irish unity which cannot be reversed.

We feel that such a prospect, however remote in the immediate term, is vastly more desirable and credible than a return to sporadic armed actions, which in the current environment can offer nothing but a return to suffering for Republicans and the Irish working class in general.

In recognition of the above principles, the IRSP takes this opportunity to call for (at the earliest opportunity) a ‘border poll’ on the issue of partition in Ireland, and declare our intention to campaign pro-actively and from a revolutionary socialist platform for a progressive result, namely an end to partition in Ireland.

Urgent Appeal

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