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Lessons of the Past

“PEACE, that is the key word”

Although the issue of coronavirus remains rightfully the all encompassing news story with a unshakable position as the most prominent scoop of the news bulletin, however as this ruinous disease remains at the forefront of the minds of the general population it is easy to forget that the country must also be run, the pulse of government must be firmly placed on the heart of the nation. Throughout all political forums, whether they be Dáil Eireann, Stormont, Facebook or Twitter along with coronavirus, the eternal struggle of the Irish unity question has been raised foremost by many of the young people active on these sites and indeed many influential titans of the political world.

 It has become apparent that the Unionist majority which the apartheid regime of Northern Ireland Stormont has lost the control of the Irish citizens living north of the border with the republic, the border being a symptom of what many would refer to as the illegal partitioning of a sovereign state, as of the government of Ireland Act 1920 passed directly from the houses of parliament in Westminster as a method of appeasement to the unionist population concerned at the rise in support for an Ireland free of the century spanning domineering oppressive force of the British Empire. Stormont itself acted as much as a symbol as it was as a parliament with the imposing statue of unionist demagogue and former party leader Sir Edward Carson towering above those who enter the parliament of Northern Ireland which is supposed to be representative of all of her people, Nationalist, Unionist, Catholic, Protestant irrespective of creed or politics. This was made apparent by the open hostility of many of the early Prime Minister of the North such as James Craig and Basil Brooke who both openly called for the discrimination of employers against Catholic workers. Open discrimination in the housing market and a glaringly obvious systematic system of voter suppression through the deliberate gerrymandering of electoral districts robbed the nationalists of Northern Ireland of a significant legitimate parliamentary presence. 

In response to this many civil rights protests sprung up across the North demanding equal rights for the Catholic citizens of this state. Instead of being met with compassion and debate they were met with hails of bullets and violent abuse of peaceful protestors. Should this not have sparked outrage from the international community at large you may ask how was the condemnation of the world not fall onto the shoulders of Britain? The simple answer was in the beginning there was a general sense of apathy and following this desperation bore violence and unmitigated brutality. Although many simply wanted to defend their loved ones and communities the Troubles turned into a depraved, barbaric bloodbath on both sides as paramilitaries both loyalist and republican alike sunk to irredeemable lows massacring civilians both in political style executions, random acts of violence or indiscriminate mass killings costing the lives of so many innocents. An appalling manifestation of nationalism and unionism an affront to the ordinary citizens of Northern Ireland. The campaigns of the Provisional IRA no doubt did most harm to the cause of Irish unity forever tarnishing and staining the green, white and orange with a corrupting crimson red. It is however not in the ranks of those most violent men in the divisive, nationalistic and hateful rhetoric of extreme fundamental wings of these parties in which the solution is found. 

The state of Northern Ireland is rotten to her core the Good Friday Agreement has put given her an aesthetic change, yet it is but that, a change on the surface level, grievous sectarianism has reached boiling point under the surface as the implementation of an Irish sea border has stoked unionist fears. Yet if the hard-learned lessons of recent history have thought us anything it is that this fear can not be met with a similarly all-encompassing and devouring fear which like a poison seeps into our logic and humanity causing the most malicious atrocities. Only through the carefully constructed links between Ireland and the North can facilitate a peaceful transition from partitioned island to empowered republic. PEACE, that is the key word, the new Irish Republic must be founded on decency, morals, understanding, community, respect and equality for all regardless of background this may only be achieved through calm discourse and debate. The new Irish Republic must not be founded on the blood persecution and sorrow which fuelled and sustained the old Imperial Regime which came before it. Such bitterness will envelop and infect our new state irreparably rot the promising and unifying foundations on which it should be built. This state shall not be founded on bloodshed but on carefully built diplomatic ties between both governments and communities. There is no doubt this strategy is a time consuming one yet we’ve waited 800 years for a free Ireland rid of her colonial oppressors, so if it means that this new Ireland shall be formed of a peaceful enduring bond it is surely worth the wait. It is true this approach is best embodied by some parties more than others on either side of the border yet peace is a goal which requires universal and total support, this issue is not for but one political party, this is the way forward, the way to a united Ireland, the way and will of the Irish people. 
By Darragh Sinnott

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