The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Belfast Agreement Postpones Cure For British Problem
Liam O Comain • 14.11.03

Allegedly, in an internet site from a Loyalist source a few years ago I was referred too within a threatening context as "a veteran terrorist as well as being the f****** theoretician of dissenting republicans". Apparently because of my opposition to the Belfast Agreement via letter writing and articles in certain political papers and magazines, as well as on the internet.

Now a veteran republican I well may be but I would not claim to be the guru of republican dissenterism nor a terrorist. However I adhere firmly to the concept of a united Ireland and I believe that their is a possible alternative to the Belfast Agreement which will bring and end to the centuries old conflict and ensure a future of peace which, as I am a republican socialist, could be the basis for a futuresocialist republic.

Before I refer to this possible alternative I would like to approach it via the following path...

Historians often refer to the concept of 'the Irish problem' as if we Irish are responsible for the political mess that our island home experiences at present and for hundreds of years. In fact the mess arises from the British military and administrative presence and therefore the truth is that it is 'a British problem'.

This being the case then Britain must clean it up not by the creation and implementation of expedient concoctions but by a bold decision to break the connection between the two islands.

If we have learned anything from the establishment of two political entities based upon the Anglo- Irish Treaty (an earlier expedient concoction) of the last century and the Belfast Agreement, which many hold to be a more sophisticated form of the former is, that in the words of Patrick Pearse: 'Ireland unfree shall never be at peace...'.

Sadly religious sectarianism is a part of the 'British problem' for it was a handy device to help continual British occupation by dividing the people along religious lines. This of course was helped by the fact that in the main the Protestant section of our people were from the Planters or their descendents. They never felt a part as invading people and this sense was manipulated negatively by the British administration. Of course there were exceptions i.e. Wolfe Tone, Thomas Davis, and many others who gave their allegiance to the land of their birth and worked for the welfare of all its people.

In fact so successful have the British been in using the old divide and conquer strategy in the past and at present that the core authors behind the Belfast Agreement have come to accept the British position that our problem is an Irish one. Thus the pleading by national representatives hoping that that section of our people who support unionism will jump into their boat. But that will never happen while the consent principle as present defined alongside the British presence remains a reality. Both must be removed!

The harnessing in this country and throughout the world of all those who favour Irish unity and self- determination especially as the British presence is contrary to the vision of the founders and the principles of the United Nations is the way forward. The purpose would be to exert pressurise upon Britain to announce its departure from the north within an agreed time- frame.

The proposed alternative must be implemented under the auspices of the United Nations and guarantees should be given to those of the Protestant community that civil and religious liberty will be sacrosanct; that traditions which they hold dear and which have derived from their ancestors will be acknowledged under international guarantee and national law.

But most important that under a new and radical form of government administration that the political representatives of that section of our people equally share in the power of National Government. Thus the alternative offered is a 'Power Sharing Government at National Level'.

In turn what we require from our Protestant neighbours is that they face the reality of a new order. For although mainly the descendants of those who were settled here in order to keep Ireland subdued and 'British' is it not time for them to acknowledge that they are as Irish as the walls of Derry... that no longer is there 'Gael, Norman, or Scot, etc.- only the indomitable Irish'. Irish by birth and by allegiance.

Which after all is what their kin who left for what is now the United States during the religious persecutions after the Boyne acknowledges- proud of their origins but out and out Americans. Also as traditionally expressed upholders of civil liberties they are being asked to support the principle of democracy which is the base of the former. The difference being that in agreeing to the implementation of majority aspiration they will share equally in the powers of national government.

To conclude, the contributions of Protestants to Irish life, nationalism/republicanism, and culture, is immense, therefore I am convinced that their presence and contribution is a necessary part of a restored 32 county Republic. In no way do I see them as the enemy but I do believe that they are a collective victim and that the author of their victim hood is Britain. In fact we are all victims of the problem which is a British problem, a problem which Britain can remove through courage and good will or sustained international pressure. And in its removal the problem should be replaced with a National Power- Sharing Government. That is a possible alternative to the Belfast Agreement! Yes, I acknowledge problems to be faced in its implementation but that is inevetable because of our fallibility as humans and our history. The problem I repeat is Britain's, however, and the ball is firmly in their court.






Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

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

14 November 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Belfast Agreement Postpones Cure for British Problem
Liam O Comain


Further Problems at Maghaberry Gaol
Martin Mulholland


Luis Eduardo Garcia Interviewed

Anthony McIntyre


Choosing Sides in Iraq
Mick Hall


The Taboo of Racism So Subtle
Davy Carlin


Left Unity Meeting


Thessaloniki Prisoners On Hunger Strike
Anarchist Prisoner Support


Death Fast in 4th Year
DHKP-C Prisoners’ Organisation


10 November 2003


Address to Ard-Fheis 2003
Ruairí Ó Bradaigh


British Anti-Insurgency

Liam O Comain


From A Belfast Granny
Kathleen O Halloran


Planes, Trains and Big Wains!
Eamon Sweeney


The Most Important Election Ever, Again
Anthony McIntyre


What Went Wrong in the New South Africa?
Andrew Nowicki




The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices