Sunday, 10 November 2013

CHOOSING GREEN : Protestant Republicans



Choosing the Green? Second Generation Irish and the Cause of Ireland

ChoosingthegreenBrian Dooley
Beyond the Pale
2004
(Review originally published in the Irish World)
As recently as the 1970s, it was argued that the Irish in Britain were unique, because of the fact that their children assimilated totally into the British population within a generation. If nothing else this book is a spectacular refutation of that assumption.
Choosing the Green looks at the second generation Irish (mainly in Britain but also elsewhere), through their relationship to the Republican tradition.
Author Brian Dooley acknowledges there are other ways of looking at those of Irish descent. He says of writers such as Pete McCarthy “What is remarkable… …is how little impact the Troubles in Northern Ireland appear to have had on their definitions of Irishness.”
Dooley also examines others for whom attitudes to the conflict were decisive. Arguably, this range of opinion is not that that different from the spectrum among the Irish-born. Nevertheless, Dooley is right to apply a political perspective.
The second generation dilemma, how far to identify with Ireland, and how far with Britain, surely derives much of its urgency from the political relationship between the two countries.

Dooley produces an impressive list to demonstrate that second-generation people have helped to define the course of that relationship.
It’s well-known, of course that James Connolly was born in Scotland, but how many people know that Tom Clarke, first signatory of the 1916 Proclamation, was born on the Isle of Wight.
They were far from the only second-generation people involved in the 1916 Rising. Dooley records the presence of Volunteer units from London, Liverpool, Glasgow, and elsewhere. Many of the men involved went on to play an important part in the War of Independence.
For example Sean Nunan of Brixton accompanied Michael Collins during the famous incident when he sneaked into the Brunswick Street.
Dooley also looks at later periods. Interestingly, he notes that two second-generation IRA chiefs of staff, French-born Sean McBride and English-born Seán MacStiofáin, both opposed launching major bombing offensives in England. Only when each man was ousted did the campaigns of the 1930s and 1970s begin. In MacStiofáin’s case, it is tempting to link his stance to the fact that he grew up during the Blitz.
MacStiofáin, born John Stevenson to an English father in Leytonstone, is the object of a remark quoted by Dooley, which captures mach of the suspicion surrounding the Irish identity of the second generation.
“Beware the enthusiast from the margins of an identity who moves to the centre to redefine that identity,” wrote Kevin Myers in the Irish Times the day after MacStiofáin’s funeral.” At it’s most extravagant the phenomenon of the outsider seizing the centre is seen in the Austrian Adolf Hitler… the Corsican Napoleon Bonaparte… The Catholic Georgian Joseph Stalin…”
The irony, of course is that Myers’ remark could equally be applied to those in Ireland who see themselves as on the margins of British identity, as much to the Irish-born Duke of Wellington, who said “being born in a stable does not make one a horse,” as to Napoleon.
It is perhaps inevitable that identities are defined at the margins. Dooley shows this process at work. He looks at second-generation republicans from the Fenians of the nineteenth century, down to Diarmuid O’Neill, the IRA member shot dead in controversial circumstances in 1996.
He also looks at the second generation people who joined the British Army, as well as those who were victims of the conflict, such as those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings, or the children of the Maguire family, the youngest of whom was only thirteen he was arrested and wrongfully convicted.
A work which covers so much ground inevitably cannot be comprehensive. There is certainly scope for more detailed material about republican activity in Britain during the War of Independence, for example.
Nevertheless, for a relatively short and readable book, Choosing the Green is packed with information. This is a credit to the author given that he apparently he wrote the book during his spare time.
It deserves attention from anyone interested in the history of the Irish in Britain and particularly the second generation. Their story is one which has not been told too often after all.
As Dooley writes: “Irish communities in London or Glasgow did not keep the memory of local republicans alive the way they did in Tralee or Clonakilty. No one published a pamphlet on the London-Irish Fighting Story, and the contribution of British-born volunteers was very quickly consigned to obscurity.” Choosing the Green will undoubtedly help to fill that void.

Faoi / About

Welcome to the national website of Republican SINN FÉIN Poblachtach, the oldest political organisation in Ireland.
SINN FÉIN Poblachtach (Republican SINN FÉIN), the last remaining true Republican political organisation founded in 1905.  Reformed in 1986 out of the walkout of the 86 Ard-Fheis by the true Republican leadership, who saw the failure of the new Provisional leaderships’s decision to enter into a partitonist assembly of the 26 County Southern Free State. This one day would lead to a larger erosion of Republican principles, to the acceptance of entering a new Stormont and an acceptance of British Partition. Republican Sinn Féin uphold the right of the Irish people to oppose continued British occupation in Ireland.
We are dealing with state sponsored censorship and are continually demonized in the media, but despite this a committed membership has seen the organization thrive in areas where the Republican message has been put forward in a genuine manner.  Our objective is a New Ireland — Éire Nua.
PRINCIPLES
Protestors hold a republican Sinn Fein bRepublican Sinn Féin believes that the historic Irish nation is a distinct, coherent unit and is entitled to exercise its own independence. Because of the history of our own country we identify with national liberation struggles around the world.
We believe, in the words of one of the 18-Century founders of Irish Republicanism, Wolfe Tone, in the urgent need to “break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils”. We stand for the complete overthrow of British rule in Ireland.
We recognise the danger of the growing European Union becoming a world superpower in its own right. As it grows stronger it will assert itself and become involved in what Jack Deleors described as the “resource wars” of the 21st Century. We do not believe that Ireland, with its history of being a colonial possession, should involve itself in the oppression of other nations that the growing EU will eventually mean. There is also the danger that, instead of finally winning its freedom and independence, Ireland will find itself swapping British domination for European domination.
Republican Sinn Féin is internationalist. We have a sense that we all have a common identity as human beings, as members of the great family of peoples. We wish to play our role in this wider world community on the basis of equality and respect for the rights of others. In particular, we would wish to eliminate the kinds of international trade and international debt that impoverish the peoples of the Third World. We advocate neutrality in respect to military alliances and power blocs and we feel a sense of solidarity with all peoples who are struggling for freedom and justice.
We believe in the establishment of a reign of social justice based on Irish Republican Socialist principles in accordance with the Democratic Programme and the 1916 Proclamation.
We stand for the complete separation of Church and State.
We believe in the central importance of the Irish language to the Irish identity.
Republican Sinn Féin is abstentionist. We do not recognise the legitimacy of the Six or 26-County States in Ireland, both of which were created by acts of the British parliament in Westminster as a denial of the wishes of the Irish people. Therefore, we do not give voluntary recognition to either jurisdiction.
DETERMINATION
11Republican Sinn Féin is determined to push ahead and achieve its goals. It rejects the New Stormont Agreement because that Agreement strengthens British rule in Ireland. Because of this determination it has borne the brunt of State and other harassment. This harassment has included physical attacks on its members by supporters of the Stormont Agreement and a campaign by the Six and 26-County police, as well as in Britain and the US, of arrests of scores of its members and supporters, raids on their homes and arranging for members to be sacked from their jobs. Republican Sinn Féin is prepared to continue to work through such pressure because of the necessity that we do so. Such pressure does not alter the very serious objections we have to the Stormont Agreement or our belief that it is a bad deal for the Irish people.
Republican Sinn Féin has opposed full membership of the EU from the outset as a highly centralised political and economic power-bloc where decisions about our lives are taken in completely undemocratic institutions. Our struggle has been to manage our own affairs and our programme is for maximum power at the base. That is real democracy and the very opposite of EU imperialism.
Under the EU our resources (eg fish) are being taken. The EU bureaucrats are doing well on their large salaries and so are the big farmers. But the plan is to wipe out the small farmers and restructure industry so that the EU centre can prosper at our expense.
In agriculture far from the promised guaranteed level, milk, cattle and sheep prices are down. New standards for milk collection are being brought in to force the small farmer out. We can expect these processes to increase further.  Irish neutrality is under sustained threat.
In these and in other matters, Republcan Sinn Féin will not hesitate to take issues into the streets or wherever may be necessary to ensure the interests of the people they serve.
HISTORY
Formed in 1905 . . . We are the oldest political organisation in the country . . . Organised throughout the 32 Counties . . . We have continuously rejected the failed political entities of the Six and 26 Counties in existence since the British partitioned our country . . .
ORGANISATION
office05Republican Sinn Féin’s head office, Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill (Dáithí Ó Conaill House), is located at 223 Parnell St, Dublin 1 (Tel. 8729747; Fax. 8729757).  Republican Sinn Féin is organised throughout the 32 Counties of Ireland with cumainn (branches) in England and Scotland and supporters in North America and Australia.
Our Belfast office is 229 Falls Road, Belfast, BT12 6FB (Tel. 90319004; Fax. 90319863).
It has a newspaper Saoirse – Irish Freedom, The Voice of the Republican Mo600254_609757829045879_1477491218_nvement, which is published every month, in print and on the Internet.
Republican Sinn Féin is barred from contesting local government elections in the Six Counties because of the political test oath imposed by Margaret Thatchers British government in 1989.  RSF does however contest local elections in the 26 Counties.
JUSTICE
EU - Brits 2
The sad face of 21st Century Ireland locked between the old imperialism of British rule and the new imperialism of EU rule.
Republican Sinn Féin campaigns for a just settlement to the conflict in Ireland. It is our belief that a key ingredient missing from the Stormont Agreement is justice for all the Irish people. The “solution”, so-called, leaves the people in the 26 Counties stranded in a neo-colonial State, which by nature is heavily centralised (it is only now seeming to go contrary to its centralist nature at the behest of its European masters in order to receive maximum grant aid), with a political system contaminated beyond repair by an ethos of cronyism. In the Six Counties a new assembly is being set up; a successor to the old Stormont parliament which was overthrown by the peoples struggle in 1972. The added prop to the new British assembly, which was missing from the old parliament, is the active participation of nationalist parties. This agreement, if it runs its course, promises many more decades of working class alienation and institutionalisd sectarianism. The sooner it falls, the better.
Éire Nua, d’Aois Nua
Republican Sinn Féin’s proposal for a just settlement in Ireland is ÉIRE NUA (New Ireland) – A four province federal Ireland, with a self-governing parliament in each of the four provinces: the nine-county Ulster, Connacht, Munster and Leinster. Each of these parliaments would deal with the governing of their province as part of the objective of the creation of an Ireland of self-governing communities in which people will control their own affairs.
This involves the total re-structuring of local government in this island, not only in administration but also in the nature and functions of local authorities themselves. This re-structuring would be on four levels in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity of function:
VOLUNTARY COMMUNITY COUNCILS for every 1,500-6,000 people in urban and rural areas with the right of audience at all District Council meetings.
DISTRICT COUNCILS: This basic unit of statutory government would serve the needs of communities of 10,000-40,000 (depending on local variations) and would have charge of public services to individuals and families in the sphere of social welfare, education, labour guidance, trading and employment practics, housing, planning permission, agriculture and fishing, small industry development etc.
REGIONAL COUNCILS: These would concern themselves with (a) public services with a high technological content, eg hospitals, major roads, telcommunications and third level education; (b) collection of local revenue and (c) economic, physical and educational planning.
PROVINCIAL ASSEMBLIES: The provincial legislature would allocate funds to the Regional Councils and co-ordinate regional plans.
Each district would have a local government office where the citizens could conduct all their normal business — housing, agricultural, grants and information on the social services — all under one roof in a local town within an hour’s drive of each and every citizen. In this way the citizens, with proper training at school, could do all their own business rather than be “beholden” to politicians. Within a special Gaeltacht Region, there would be a local office (as above) in each Gaeltacht district.
There would be a National Parliament, which Republican Sinn Féin proposes placing in Athlone — the geographic centre of Ireland. The National Parliament would deal with Foreign Affairs and Defence.
The motive behind the Federal proposal is to be fair to all sections of the country. The Republican struggle is against the domination of Ireland by the British State. The people who are currently described as Unionist are a part of the Irish nation. Their concerns about domination by Dublin in a unitary State of all Ireland should be listened to, and are in fact shared by the so-called ‘peripheral’ regions in the 26-County area.
CEANNAIREACHT/ LEADERSHIP
President: Des Dalton
Vice-President: Cáit Trainor
Life-Vice President:  Joe O’Neill
General Secretaries: Líta Ní Chathmhaoil, Josephine Hayden
Treasurers: Diarmuid Mac Dubhghlais, John O’Connor
Publicity Officer: Geraldine McNamara
A new leadership is elected every year at the organisations annual Ard-Fheis (National Conference).
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