The following oration was read by Francie Mackey, national chairperson of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, at an event last weekend to remember IRA Volunteer Patsy Duffy in Derry.
A chairde, if a Republican commemoration needed to be told that the nonsense of a Border Poll as a vehicle towards a sovereign republic was exactly that, then the recent ruling of the British Supreme Court concerning a Scottish Independence referendum is conclusive proof of it.
Have we to explain to them again, when they accepted the British pre-condition that the entry fee into negotiations was the prior recognition of the legitimacy of Westminster’s claim to sovereignty in the Six Counties, those negotiations would be catastrophic for the Republican position?
Have we to sit down with them with a history book and demonstrate to them that the error they made was the same error as Michael Collins and the resulting outcome could only be a continuation of partition?
British sovereignty in the Six Counties remains absolute and the Good Friday Agreement fully endorses this.
At a recent event held in Dublin an array of constitutional nationalists spoke triumphantly of the prospect of what they termed a united Ireland being on the cusp of attainment. The vagueness of what constitutes a so-called united Ireland was only matched by their inability to map out a strategic route to it but, as with all populist rhetoric detail is an indifferent bystander.
From the republican perspective, and our current status, there is strategic merit in allowing this populist view to run its course and take its place in administration. So long as this flawed voice can portray itself as anti-establishment or a so-called new alternative to the status quo it will harness the attention of the up-coming generation.
The reality of who influences government policy will soon become apparent as the United Ireland rhetoric will slowly recede, the promises of social housing will give way to corporate interests and the honouring of our patriot dead will not be identified with the struggle for sovereignty but for the outworking of a British peace in our country.
They have championed this as the end days of partition and British rule in Ireland. So too did Michael Collins. And this may well be the strategic placement for Irish Republicanism. We have neither the strength nor the political influence to prevent these events from running their course but we can plan for what we know is inevitable. From the outset we lay down the challenge to their claims of intent and historical succession.
The 1918 Sinn Féin Manifesto pledged the following:
1. By withdrawing the Irish Representation from the British Parliament and by denying the right and opposing the will of the British Government or any other foreign Government to legislate for Ireland.
2. By making use of any and every means available to render impotent the power of England to hold Ireland in subjection by military force or otherwise.
3. By the establishment of a constituent assembly comprising persons chosen by Irish constituencies as the supreme national authority to speak and act in the name of the Irish people, and to develop Ireland’s social, political and industrial life, for the welfare of the whole people of Ireland.
In the name of Volunteer Patsy Duffy and all those who made the supreme sacrifice for a sovereign Ireland, we challenge you to re-issue this manifesto and outline in concise detail how you propose to implement it?