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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
The Raison D'etre Of 'Dissenting Republicans'
Liam O Comain • October 25, 2003

During the so called Civil War in Ireland at the beginning of the twenties of the last century those who opposed the Anglo- Irish Treaty were called 'irregulars'.The equivalent today - 'dissenting republicans'. So as a response to what appears to be a darling phrase of Martin McGuinness I present the raison detre of our position. Which includes our reason for opposing the Belfast Agreement. Please bear with me.

What Patrick Pearse and his fellow republicans accomplished in Easter Week, 1916, was momentus and truly revolutionary because they did not say that it was their desire to have a republic, or that they sought a republic, they in fact proclaimed a Republic!

A Republic proclaimed and endorsed two years later (1918) by the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland.For in that general election Sinn Fein asked the Irish people to copperfasten the Republic proclaimed in 1916 by supporting their candidates with the pledge that with the return of a majority they would ensure that the Republic proclaimed in Easter Week (Poblacht na hEireann) would manifest itself to the nations of the world.

Thus what the result of the 1918 election in Ireland mandated was the establishment of a National Parliament and arising from this assembly was the expressed national will of the Irish people i.e. the 'Declaration of Independence' from the centuries long military and administrative occupation by a foreign entity, namely Britain.

The people had spoken! In fact the nearest number of candidates to Sinn Fein (with approximately 73 elected) were the Irish Unionists with approximately 26 candidates elected. But inspite of the overwhelming support by our nation for the implementation of the principles of the 1916 Proclamation the so-called 'mother of democracies' rejected the will of the people of Ireland and attacked the new 32 county Republic.

The Republic was defended by representatives of the people who had mandated it into existence and during this period known as 'The War of Independence' the Irish people suffered immensely from the forces of perhaps the most vile and destructive colonial empire that the world has ever seen.In fact the 'Black and Tans' are forever etched on the national consciousness.

Now when we look at the nineteenth century infamous Act of Union imposed on this country by Britain and consider the consent freely given by the Irish nation to the Republican Parliament (Dail Eireann) established in 1919 surely that Republic warrants our allegiance. Inspite of the fact that superior forces drove it underground and refused to let it function. The Act of Union, however undemocratic, had an existence in time as had the Proclamation of The Republic and the Declaration of Independence: the former the expression of political skulduggery and the latter the expression of national sovereignty.

And it is this National Sovereignty that we as a people today must defend against the Belfast Agreement; as the people of an earlier generation defended the Republic during the so called Civil War. The latter war was a tragedy and should never have taken place. Its birth however illustrates what can happen when a people break ranks and abandons principle under the threat of force of arms and the snake- like cunning of the British establishment. The result was the so-called Anglo Irish Treaty of the last century.

As history records the republican delegates who attended the Treaty negotiations were not a united body for British threats and propaganda had ensured division within their ranks. Thus in due course Collins and others signed the Treaty: a treaty which was illegal because of the aforementioned British threats and duress but primarily from the fact that Michael Collins and company had not the power to sign on behalf of the Republic. For how can one person or group sign away a Republic democratically endorsed by the great majority of the people?

Now it is this great expression of national sovereignty, a reality fed by the blood of our people, that pseudo nationalists wish to be replaced by the Belfast Agreement As in the last century they tried to replace it with the so called Anglo Irish Treaty. It is absurd for anyone to try and equate the momentous happening of the establishment of an Irish Republic with the expedient concoction of the Treaty and the Belfast Agreement.

Of course The Republic at present is buried beneath the continuing British militarily and administratively occupation. That is the presence of British military forces in the 6 counties and the two political statelets which they imposed to govern the island.That reality does not invalidate however the reality of Poblacht na hEireann which is the expressed will of the Irish people exercised by national ballot.

No partitionist elections or referendums invalidates it. It still lives and in due course it will function.That is the raison detre of Irish revolutionary republicanism. We are revolutionary because our task is to resurrect the Republic... what nobler or revolutionary act could one imagine.And it does does not necessarily imply the use of violence in pursuit of its ressurection.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

27 October 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Pulling the Guns Over Their Eyes
Anthony McIntyre


Time for the Media to Take a Different Spin

Brendan O Neill


Die Hard. Die Harder!
Kathleen O Halloran


The Sound of Silence
Sean Smyth


The Raison d'Erte of 'Dissenting Republicans'
Liam O Comain


Figures of Dissent
Liam O Ruairc


The Occupation Runs Out of Gas
Stan Goff


The Letters Page has been updated.


24 October 2003


Lies, The Lying Liars Who Tell Them and the Law of Unintended Consequences
Tom Luby


One More for the Road...And Another. Come Back Tony & Bertie, the Crack's 90

Anthony McIntyre


On the One Road
Mick Hall


Conduct Unbecoming
Kathleen O Halloran


A Political Nightmare
Eamon Sweeney


Ireland: Repression, Violence, Segregation - The Realities of the Sectarian State
Paul Mallon


When the Drugs Don't Work
Sean Fleming


Last Week, It Happened Again. In Bolivia.
Michael Youlton




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