Sunday, April 24, 2016

100 Years Ago Today

So here we are, 24th April 2016, 100-years to the day that the Irish Republic was declared by Pearse outside the GPO in Dublin, 100-years since the spark that lit the flame of Irish freedom and independence was struck.

I should be brimming with pride. I had imagined that I would have attended one of the many commemorations or even a protest to mark the occasion, but I didn’t. Instead I stayed at home and the only thing I’ll be doing is filling out the census form later on. I just don’t feel that there is anything to celebrate, but I didn’t always feel this way.

This banner was painted by me and my wife Cindy for the Irish National Congress (INC). It is based on an original print by former INC Cathaoirleach Robert Ballagh

The mid-section turns up everywhere on the web and elsewhere, it is often mistakenly described as the Ballagh print, However the Ballagh print does not have flames painted in to the 1916.

Here it is making its debut outside the British Embassy for an INC protest on Easter Monday, 24th April 2000, 84 years to the day that the Men and Women of 1916 declared "the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible", the INC protested outside the British Embassy in Dublin at the continued usurpation of that right by the British government. (My wife, Cindy, is holding the banner on the left, I'm out of picture on the right and Robert Ballagh is pictured front & right.) 

My father, Cathal McCarthy, reads the Proclamation to those assembled as the then INC Cathaoirleach, Mary Lou McDonald, (partially pictured on the far left holding a letter to the British ambassador) got cold feet on the day; she did however hand in a letter of protest to the Embassy protesting Britain's suspension of the institutions under the Good Friday Agreement on behalf of the INC.

So what’s changed? Why am I so disillusioned? Is it the fact that our country is still partitioned? No, that’s not it. Is the fact that we've just elected a bunch of squabbling ninnies that are unable to form a government? No, although I can’t imagine that our 1916 heroes would be too impressed with them, or the bank bail-outs, or the homelessness crisis, or Irish Water. In fact, if they travelled forward in time to today I think they would ask “where’s the Republic?” before travelling back to cancel the Rising.

What has me so disillusioned is our membership of the European Union (EU) and its goal of becoming a Federal State; 65% of our legislation is already imported from the EU.  

When we first looked to join in 1963 it was called the European Economic Community (EEC) and there were only 6 member states. Our application to join was blocked by then French President, General Charles de Gaulle, because he didn't want Britain to join and believed that Ireland’s membership would help facilitate Britain’s membership. He blocked our next application to join in 1967. Then in 1969 his successor, George Pompidou, said that France would not to stand in the way of Irish and British membership. 

We applied again and had a referendum in 1972 (the 3rd amendment to out Constitution), which approved membership. 70% of the electorate turned out to vote, with 83% (1,041,890) of the them voting “yes” and 17% (211,891) voting “No“.

Ireland’s economy benefited from membership of the EEC, of that there can be little doubt. A lot has changed since then and the EEC has become much bigger and is now the EU.

In 2004 the EU attempted to introduce an EU Constitution to become a federal state, it was signed by 25 of the member states but the Dutch and French peoples had referendums and rejected it in 2005. It was repackaged as the Lisbon Treaty and the governments of all the other member states signed up to it without consulting their people; Ireland was the only country to hold a referendum (because we have a robust Constitution that demanded we have one) and we rejected it in 2008. 

The EU elite was not one bit happy, so Ireland was given a legally non-binding exemption from aspects of the treaty and we were asked to vote again in 2009, this time we voted “yes” to approve the 28th Amendment to our Constitution (most of our referendums are held because of EU treaties) to allow our government to ratify the treaty – feckin ejits!

Today the EU is a shambles and some of the member states seem to be losing the plot completely, Germany in particular (what is it about Germans and electing lunatics); Mad Merkel and her mass-immigration policy has set her country (and the rest of the European continent) on course for self-destruction. 

The British are holding a referendum in June to decide if they should continue with their membership of the EU, I hope they vote to exit and I hope we follow suit; that would be a fitting way to honour our heroes’ of 1916 – voting to regain our independence.

I wasn't alive in 1966 when we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Rising, but I get the impression that while we weren't as well off as we are today, as a people we had more freedom in the real sense of the word. In 1916 we fought to be free of British elites, today we are in thrall to EU elites; what are celebrating for?

Solemn commemoration is more appropriate, read, remember and reclaim our Proclamation of 1916:


IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:



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