Saturday, 15 March 2014


Irish news reports suggest that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is not dead but is in fact living a secret life in British Occupied Ireland and will in fact celebrate Saint Patrick's Day in Ireland. The  photo above was taken in Ireland where is believed to be on active service with CIRA { Continuity Irish Republican Army } losing a considerable amount of weight in the process. He is believed to be very angry about the Provisionals giving all his weapons awayto the British, for a Process, that is currently going nowhere.
The previous reports of his death were a hoax. It is claimed that Muammar Gaddafi, who led his country for 42 years, had his leg amputated after a bombing by NATO fighter jets. After this,  he went to a neighboring country for treatment and returned to full health, He then went to Ireland by ship and is currently living undercover. The videos showing his last moments before his death were fake.
However the controversy surrounding his death was stirred when Muammar Gaddafi’s wife, Safiya demanded that the UN reveals where her husband and son Mutasim are buried and also demanded an investigation into how her husband was tortured.
Muammar Gaddafi was last seen alive on 20 October 2011 hiding in his hometown of Sirte. His convoy of 50 vehicles and 250 men were avoiding NATO airstrikes. He was injured by a grenade and attacked by an angry mob of NATO mercenaries. His dead body was said to be later found battered and bruised in a canal. Whatever the facts of it, Muammar Gaddafi is an adopted Son of Ireland and will always be alive in Spirit as true friend and warrior who came to Ireland's aid, in her hour of need.

THE WEARING OF THE GREEN Continuity Freedom Fighters

From Rebels to Revolutionaries: a brief history of the founding of the Fenians and the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in Ireland and the United States, March 17, 1858
by Peter Vronsky Main Menu Peter Vronsky Main Page Peter Vronsky Books

JAMES STEPHENS: co-founder in Dublin of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (I.R.B.) - The Fenians

Founded in 1858 by former Young Irelander rebels James Stephens in Dublin and John O’Mahony in New York City, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in Ireland and the Fenian Brotherhood (FB) in the United States was a predecessor to the twentieth-century IRA. In fact the Fenian insurgents who invaded Canada in 1866 called themselves the Irish Republican Army (IRA)—the first known usage of that appellation.[1] Eventually the IRB became known as the “Fenians” even back home in Ireland and in England.[2] Their goal was the creation of an independent democratically liberal republican Ireland free of the British Crown, a nationalist ambition shaped by a seven century-long conflicted yet symbiotic relationship between the Irish and English peoples which is beyond the scope of all the bandwidth of the entire internet to describe satisfactorily.[3]

JOHN O'MAHONY: co-founder in New York City of the Fenian Brotherhood.

After the bloody Irish Rebellion of 1798, for the next fifty years the main thrust of political dissent in Ireland was channelled into peaceful legislative and constitutional reform. The Catholic Daniel O’Connell spearheaded two great political movements one after the other—the emancipation of Catholics and the repeal of the Act of Union. O’Connell’s strategy involved rallying thousands of Irish Catholics in ‘monster meetings’—the largest estimated at 750,000 strong at Royal Hill in August 1843. These huge demonstrations were disciplined and well behaved, which perhaps was even more terrifying to the authorities of that era than small unruly uprisings. In 1828 despite proscriptions on the election of Catholics to Parliament, O’Connell was elected and in 1829, Parliament lifted the remaining legislative vestiges of the Penal Actswith the passage of the Emancipation Act. Now O’Connell would turn his attention to promoting the repeal of the Act of Union through the same strategy and tactics, but this time attempting to bring Protestants into his movement as well.

Parallel to O’Connell’s legislative movement in the wake of the failure of the 1798 Rebellion, there arose a new network of radical secret societies in the tradition of the Defenders: the Ribbonmen. Historians have often dismissed Ribbonism as a “post-United Irishmen-pre-famine” continuation of the Whiteboys and Defenders tradition—a type of peasant self-defence association bordering on a mafia. Tom Garvin suggests that Ribbonism was something more:

These societies developed into regional networks and tended to become politicized, some of them eventually becoming affiliated to quite elaborate all-Ireland organizations. Some were also attracted to politics of a nationalist and quasi-revolutionary kind to further their activities….they served as prototypes for the far better-known separatist Fenian movement of the I860s.[4]

Perhaps more important than what historians think, is what the Fenians might have thought. Garvin quotes Michael Davitt, one of the Fenian founders who attributed the movement’s lineage through a line from Defenderism to Ribbonism. According to Davitt, late Ribbonism was an international proto-political movement which migrated with Irish labourers to Britain and the United States, while Matthew Barlow has described their presence and activities in Canada.[5]

Interest in O’Connell’s popular legislative movement was stopped dead by an unprecedented calamity of holocaust proportions—the Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1849. It impacted most on Catholic peasants who depended upon the potato for subsistence and drove at least 1.5 million predominately Catholic refugees to immigrate and killed another eight hundred thousand to one million by starvation and disease. In 1841 the population of Ireland was 8.2 million. At the current rate of growth it should have reached 9 million easily by 1851. But the census in 1851 showed a surviving population of only 6.5 million.[6]

The famine and the British government’s mismanagement of it to the extent that some characterize it as an act of blatant genocide, radicalized some of O’Connell’s followers into reviving the United Irishmen call for self-determination and Catholic and Protestant unity under an Irish identity through armed rebellion. The Young Ireland movement broke away from O’Connell’s legislative movement and began to hesitatingly argue for armed insurrection and the establishment of an independent Ireland.

On July 29, 1848 the Young Irelanders made a half-hearted attempt to launch their uprising. It ended up being confined to a remote farmhouse in Ballingarry belonging to a widow by the name of Mary McCormack. There a small mob of rebels besieged a smaller party of Irish constables for several hours. When the siege was relieved by the arrival of police reinforcements, two of the besiegers had been killed and several wounded. The Young Ireland Revolt of 1848 or the Battle of Widow McCormack’s Cabbage Patch, depending upon from which political spectrum one observes the event, was over as soon as it began. But several of the Young Ireland fugitives who participated in the incident would become instrumental in the founding of the Fenians ten years later by making the 1848 Rebellion more important as a symbol in the future than anything it might have achieved in its own time.

The Young Irelander James Stephens was twenty-four when he managed to escape from Ireland and arrive in Paris as a refugee. Only fragments are known about Stephen’s pre-Fenian life. His educational background is unknown but it was said he was employed on the Waterford and Limerick Railway as a civil engineer.[7] His most recent biographer, Marta Ramón was unable to find any surviving employment records from the railway but has established that before 1848 he was employed as a clerk at an auction house and bookseller.[8] Once safely in Paris, Stephens eked out a miserable living as a language teacher and freelance journalist, translating English press into French, while at the same time rising to prominence in the Irish exile community as a pamphleteer on Irish independence and a Young Ireland spokesman.

Stephens was joined in Paris by thirty-two year old John O’Mahony, another fugitive of the 1848 revolt. O’Mahony studied at Trinity College in Dublin, although he never took his degree. He was part of O’Connell’s Repeal movement before seceding to the Young Irelanders in 1845. In Paris, Stephens and O’Mahony lodged together and would form a partnership—although sometimes strained—that would last until O’Mahony’s death in 1877.

In Paris, Stephens and O’Mahony were caught up in Louis Napoleon’s overthrow of the Second Republic in December 1851 and are alleged to have participated in the street fighting in the failed defence of the republic. It was in this period of his exile that James Stephens was transformed from rebel to professional revolutionary.

Paris in this period was ground-zero of a myriad of revolutionary secret societies, some domestic, others in exile from other regions. Their quasi-Masonic pyramidal insulated cell-like structure would resemble later that of the IRB and Fenian “circles.” It was alleged that Stephens and O’Mahony were initiated into one of these secret societies: Louis Auguste Blanqui’s revolutionary Society of the Seasons, being the most often cited candidate.[9]

Stephens himself denied membership in any of the European societies but did write

Once I resolved that armed revolution was the only course for Ireland, I commenced a particular study of Continental secret societies, and in particular those which had ramifications in Italy….I proposed, however, not so much to make a slavish imitation of any known secret society as a selection of the good qualities of each, and fuse them into that which I was then about creating.[10]

The Carbonari of course would be the society that had the most “ramification” in Italy and its organizational structure would be similar to the one Stephens would lead in Ireland. If Stephens was not an initiate of any society, he did have links with members of these societies. In Paris, Stephens was tutored in Italian by General Guglielmo Pepe, the Carbonari deputy of Daniel Manin—the 1848 Venetian revolutionary. Stephens was also associated with Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui—the brother of Louis-August of the Society of Seasons.[11]

John Rutherford in his Secret History of the Fenian Conspiracy published in 1877, claims that Stephens and O’Mahony were agents of the Russian secret service recruited to create chaos in the British Empire during the Crimean War. According to Rutherford, O’Mahony was specifically to organize an American branch of an Irish terrorist organization while Stephens was to organize the Irish branch.[12] Such a claim certainly might not be all that outlandish in the Cold War second half of the 20th Century. The timing of O’Mahony’s departure from Paris in December 1853 and his arrival in the USA in January 1854 coincides with the escalation of the Crimean War.

O’Mahony established himself in New York City and with several other prominent Irish exiles formed the Emmet Monument Association (EMA)—a veiled reference to his epitaph speech about no memorials being raised in his name until Ireland is free. The EMA’s objective was to raise a guerrilla army in the United States and send it into action in Ireland while England was bogged down in the Crimean conflict. At meetings in the Russian Consulate in New York and at its Embassy in Washington, the EMA was promised financial and material support by the Russians. But in the end, the support apparently never materialized.[13] That probably was the extent of the Russians’ hand in the founding of the IRB. The founders of the EMA could barely get along with each other let alone serve as agents of the Russian secret service.

In June 1855, Joseph Danieffe, a young tailor’s cutter in New York and a member of the EMA was given the mission of organizing a branch in Ireland and told that an armed expedition would follow him to Ireland in September.[14] Upon his arrival in Ireland, Danieffe proceeded to link-up with the various revolutionaries of the ’48 and ’49 rebellions and recruited them into the EMA with stories of the wealth of available support from the Irish in the US. But by September the promised expedition had not arrived and Danieffe hearing no further information from the EMA concluded that his mission was over and prepared to return to New York. In New York, the EMA was collapsing under the weight of internal conflicts among its leaders and intrigues with other rival nationalist movements—all competing in their attempts to raise financing among the Irish diaspora for their respective causes. Danieffe was persuaded to remain in Ireland for awhile longer until things get sorted out.

James Stephens in the meantime by the middle of 1855 abandoned Paris and began his journey back to Ireland via England. He arrived in Ireland sometime in January 1856. Again, it is unclear what his precise objective was—revolutionary or literary. Stephens and his followers claim he came to Ireland to organize the very revolutionary movement he would come to lead. But there is more evidence that what in fact drove Stephens at the time was the relentless poverty he was mired in as a refugee in Paris. He might have returned home in search of better literary and journalistic opportunities.[15] Whatever his purpose, Stephens began a famous ‘3000 mile’ trek through Ireland calling on old contacts in the revolutionary movement and making new ones. Back in New York, in the wake of the EMA’s collapse, the scholarly O’Mahony settled down into a literary project of his own—the translation of Geoffrey Keating’s History of Ireland from Gaelic into English.[16]

The consolidation of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and its American counterpart the Fenian Brotherhood is frequently linked to the massive public national campaign among the Irish in the USA in 1861 to raise money to repatriate to Ireland the body of a minor 1848 uprising exile who died in San Francisco—Terence McManus. The funding drive for the internment of McManus in his native soil was said to have re-wakened the nationalist fervour of millions of Irish Americans who generously contributed to the fund. [17] When McManus’ body arrived in Ireland it is said to have done the same there—the funeral procession it was claimed was seven miles long.[18] The McManus funeral is sometime cited as the cementing of what were said to be two independent movements—the IRB in Ireland and the Fenians in the USA.

This above described twinning of the IRB and the Fenians, however, was actually triggered four years earlier in 1857 by another funeral, that of an even more obscure veteran of the just as an obscure ‘49 uprising: Philip Gray. What troubled many of the Irish militants—including Stephens—was that the Irish press had entirely ignored Gray’s passing and mention of the rebellions. An attempt was made to raise money for a monument for Gray to memorialize the cause, but without press coverage of his death, this was unlikely to be a successful endeavour. This might have been the elusive ‘big-bang’ in the history of the Fenian movement. In March 1857 Stephens wrote to his fellow Paris exile O’Mahony in the United States broaching the idea of a launching a Gray monument fund there.[19] Stephens asked O’Mahony to raise funding on “your side of the water.”[20] The Gray Fund went nowhere but Stephens and O’Mahony established now an operative link. The remnants of the EMA in New York recognized in Stephens a viable contact in Ireland of much more mature revolutionary pedigree than the young tailor’s cutter Joseph Danieffe.

In December 1857 an emissary from New York brought Stephens letters from O’Mahony and other prominent US Irish militants offering financial support and an army if he would organize its reception and deployment in Ireland. In January 1858 Stephens sent for Danieffe and after reading to him the letters from New York (their text has not survived) he took command of Danieffe, ordering him to immediately return to New York bearing his reply.[21]

Stephens’ conditions were financially modest—three monthly instalments of £80 to £100 and absolute unquestioned authority over the operation—he demanded to be “perfectly unshackled; in other words, a provisional dictator. On this point I can conscientiously concede nothing. That I should not be hampered by wavering or imbecile it will be well to make out this in proper form, with the signature of every influential Irishmen of our union.”

In return Stephens promised to organize “at least 10,000 of whom 1,500 shall have firearms and the remainder pikes.” He concluded with the suggestion that the Americans send “500 men unarmed to England, there to meet an agent who should furnish each of them with an Enfield rifle.” Danieffe was to return with their reply and the money. The letter was dated “Paris, January 1866” perhaps some veiled message to O’Mahony referring to their shared time there in exile.[22]

Three months later Danieffe returned from New York.

On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1858 he delivered to Stephens in Dublin the minimum £80 he had demanded and a document dated February 28 and signed by O’Mahony and fifteen other prominent Irish militants in the USA stating

We the undersigned members of the Irish Revolutionary committee, hereby appoint and constitute James Stephens, of the city of Dublin, Chief Executive of the Irish Revolutionary movement and give him on our own and our comrades’ behalf supreme control and absolute authority over that movement in Ireland.[23]

That evening, in Stephens’ Lombard Street lodgings a small group of Irish militants came over, read the letter and swore an oath founding the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood which was later renamed as the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).[24] The next morning they departed in separate directions each to organize an IRB cell—or “circle” as they would be called.

In New York City in the meantime, O’Mahony who had came across the term in Keating’s History of Ireland when translating it into English, named his American branch of the IRB, the “Fenian Brotherhood (FB)” somewhere between January and April 1859.[26]

The American Fenian Brotherhood took its name from pre-Christian Third Century A.D. Gaelic warrior clans, the Fiana, orFianna Eirionn. The Fians, Fiana, or Fenians according to one source “employed their time alternately in war, the chase, and the cultivation of poetry.” Their tradition also encompasses Scotland where their mythical chief—Finn or Fionn MacCumhal [Fion Mac Coohal], (the Fingal of Macpherson) is alleged to have died in A.D. 283.[27] The legendary origins of the Fianna were already being hotly debated in the 1860s as evidenced by a letter-writer to the Irish Canadian in 1866 who protested, “there were Fenians in Ireland before Trean Mor, the grandfather of Fion was born.”[28] In a more recent and less mythological dimension, the roots of Fenianism go back to groups like the Whiteboys and Defenders: peasant self-defence associations similar to the early Sicilian rural mafia and to their further transformation in the ‘post-United Irishmen-pre-famine’ Ribbonmen period into a transnational Irish nationalist underground.[29]

Whether the Fenians were nationalists, rebels, patriots, assassins, insurgents, bandits, irregulars, freedom fighters, pirates, murderers, martyrs, tribal militia, national revolutionaries, guerrillas or terrorists, depends much upon their historical chronology and an observer’s point-of-view. The Fenians were the first modern transcontinental national insurgent group in the western world with operational cells in Ireland, England, Canada, United States, South America, New Zealand and Australia and a banking centre in Paris. They organized themselves into cells called ‘circles.’ A Fenian circle was like a regiment: a colonel, the ‘centre’ or ‘A’ recruited nine ‘B’s or captains, who recruited ‘C’s or sergeants who each chose nine ‘D’s—the rank and file privates. Outside of the United States in the British Empire, Fenian circles operated clandestinely. A chain of secrecy worked its way upwards: the ‘A’ was known only to his ‘B’s, the ‘B’s only to their ‘C’s and so forth. Senior leaders in a city, territory or state were called ‘head centres.’[30] In Toronto and Montreal they infiltrated the leadership of a local militant Irish Catholic anti-Orange Order self-defence movement, the Hibernian Benevolent Society (HBS).[31]

Steam power gave the Fenians an unprecedented trans-Atlantic mobility; the telegraph linked them together at near internet speed (albeit without its bandwidth); cheap newsprint and steam driven printing presses gave them a mass-media voice; industrialism, an ocean of patriotic small wage earners to fund their cause; and the ascent of global capitalism offered a modern banking system to raise and distribute operational funds across oceans and continents, while the American Civil War would mobilize, arm and militarize tens of thousands of Irish-American patriots.[32]

While the early Fenians were not as bloodthirsty as today’s international terrorists, and as some of their many defenders point out, they were liberal-democratic-nationalist revolutionaries who strongly opposed clerical interference, and in the early stages of their history before resorting to kidnapping and dynamite bombings, believed in the concept of ‘open and manly warfare’[33] it can be nonetheless said that in the perception of authorities, the majority of the press and the public, the Fenians were regarded in their time in the way al-Qaida is perceived today.

The Fenians were broadly seen in the mid-Victorian era as a fanatical religious terrorist movement representing a radical fundamentalist Catholicism linked to a Papacy with political ambitions at its conspiratorial centre in Rome. Very similar to the way Muslim immigrant communities are suspected of sympathizing with and supporting and harbouring fanatical Islamic terrorists today, the Irish-Catholic immigrant community dramatically enlarged in Canada by famine migration in the preceding years, was suspected in the 1860s of Fenian allegiances. The clandestine relationship between the Catholic HBS in Canada and Fenians did not help although in the end, no Canadian Fenian circles are known to have participated in the June 1866 attack into Canada. Their presence in Canada contributed to the paranoia of a ‘fifth column’ but it never manifested itself in reality once the invasion occurred. The broader truth, however, was that Fenianism went beyond the question of religious sectarianism: of the 58 Fenians captured on the Niagara Frontier in 1866 and confined to the Toronto gaol, a full third were Protestants (19 Protestants with one prisoner claiming no religious affiliation.)[35] Fenianism was a nationalist republican movement and not a Catholic one.

Nonetheless, even when fighting in conventional uniformed formations the Fenians were classified as illegal combatants, piratical insurgents fighting a ‘dirty war.’ Familiar to international terrorism today but entirely new in the emerging telegraph networked world of the mid-nineteenth century was the Fenians’ global reach, their quasi-independent franchise cell-like structure, their operational reliance on long distance encrypted communications, use of public and press wire announcements, rallies and ‘fairs’, the launching of deceptive feints and disinformation, auxiliary cultural, educational and recreational programs, organizations and publications, use of long-term sustained intelligence gathering, deployment of “sleepers”, public and clandestine fund raising, the use of sophisticated financial instruments in the international banking system, and the complexity of the repercussions their acts had on international relations and the dimension of the alarm and fear they raised in the British Empire. The Fenians were the great perceived modern transnational internal threat in the British Empire in the second half of the nineteenth century until supplanted by first the fear of international anarchism followed by that of Imperial German spies. Despite these structural similarities to current terrorist movements, however, there is nothing in this thesis describing the conduct of the Fenian invaders in 1866 towards the civilian population in Canada or towards its officials, combatants and prisoners-of-war and wounded that could be characterized other than gallant and civilized; at least as gallant as an expropriating, foraging insurgent army can afford to be in battle.[36]


[1] William D’Arcy, The Fenian Movement in the United States: 1858-1886, Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1947. pp. 229-230; M.W. Burns, “To the Officers and Soldiers of the Irish Republican Army in Buffalo”, June 14, 1866 in Captain Macdonald, p. 93

[2] In academic literature the IRB movement is sometimes referred to as “fenian” without capitalization while the capitalized “Fenians” refers exclusively to the U.S.-based movement.

[3] See: R.F. Foster, Modern Ireland 1600-1972, London: Penguin Books, 1989; Robert Kee, Ireland: A History, London: Abacus, 1991; Brian Jenkins, Era of Emancipation: British Government of Ireland 1812-1830, Kingston-Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1988; David R. C. Hudson, The Ireland We Made, Akron, OH: University of Akron Press, 2003; Mary Frances Cusack, History of Ireland From AD400 to 1800, (1888), London: Senate Books Edition, 1995; Thomas Pakenham, The Year of Liberty: The Great Irish Rebellion of 1798, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1997; Sean Cronin, Irish Nationalism: A History of its Roots and Ideology, Dublin: Academy Press, 1980; James S. Donnelly, The Great Irish Potato Famine, London: Sutton Publishing, 2001 and D.J. Hickey & J.E. Doherty, A new Dictionary of Irish History: From 1800, Dublin: Gill & MacMillan, 2003; Tom Garvin, “Defenders, Ribbonmen and Others: Underground Political Networks in Pre-Famine Ireland, Past and Present, No. 96 (Aug., 1982), p. 136; Oliver Rafferty, The Church, the State and the Fenian Threat, 1861-75, New York: St Martin's Press, 1999; Mike Cronin and Daryl Adair, The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day, London: Routledge, 2002;Kenneth Moss “St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations and the Formation of Irish-American Identity,1845-1875,” Journal of Social History, Vol. 29, No. 1. (Autumn, 1995), pp. 125-148; Michael Cottrell, “St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Nineteenth-Century Toronto: A Study of Immigrant Adjustment and Elite Control,” Histoire social/Social History, No. 49, 1992. pp. 57-73

[4] Tom Garvin, “Defenders, Ribbonmen and Others: Underground Political Networks in Pre-Famine Ireland, Past and Present, No. 96 (Aug., 1982), p. 136

[5] Michael Davitt, The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland, London & New York: 1904. Quoted in Garvin, p. 136; John Matthew Barlow, Fear and Loathing in Saint-Sylvestre: The Corrigan Murder Case, 1855-58, Master’s Thesis, Simon Fraser University, 1998, pp. 25-38

[6] Kee, p. 201; Foster, pp. 323-324

[7] Anonymous, A Life of James Stephens: Chief Organizer of the Irish Republic, New York: Carleton, 1866. p. 27

[8] Marta Ramón, A Provisional Dictator: James Stephens and the Fenian Movement, Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2007. p. 26

[9] Ramón, p. 59

[10] James Stephens, ‘Personal recollections of ’48, a collection of press cuttings’, 1882-83, Notes on a 3,000 miles’ walk through Ireland, National Library of Ireland. Chapter 1. (Quoted in Ramón.)

[11] Ramón, p. 60

[12] John Rutherford, The Secret History of the Fenian Conspiracy: Its Origins, Objects & Ramifications, Volume 1, London: C. Keegan Paul & Co., 1877. p. 53

[13] Danieffe, pp. vii-ix; D’Arcy, pp. 5-7; Padraic Cummins Kennedy, Political Policing in the Liberal Age: Britain’s Response to the Fenian Movement 1858-1868, PhD dissertation, Saint Louis, Missouri: Washington University, 1996. p. 40

[14] Danieffe, p. 3

[15] Ramón, pp. 68-69

[16] D’Arcy, p. 10

[17] D’Arcy, pp. 18-20

[18] Danieffe, p. 70

[19] Ramón, pp. 70-71

[20] Stephens to O’Mahony, circa. March 1857; Fenian Papers Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., Fenian Collection: www.aladin/

[21] Ramón p. 73; Danieffe, p. 15; R.V. Comerford, The Fenians in Context: Irish Politics and Society 1848-82, Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1985. p. 46

[22] See full text of letter in Appendix in Danieffe, pp. 159-160

[23] Michael Davitt Papers, Trinity College Dublin, MS 9659d/207, quoted in Ramón, p. 75.

[24] Leon Ó Broin, Fenian Fever: An Anglo-American Dilemma, New York: New York University Press, 1971. p. 1

[26] D’Arcy p. 14 n.

[27] W.S. Neidhardt, Fenianism in North America, University Park and London: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1975. p. 7; Alexander Somerville, Narrative of the Fenian Invasion of Canada, Hamilton, ON: Joseph Lyght, 1866 p. iii

[28] Irish Canadian, February 14, 1866. The author, “Oisin” also protested, “the insinuation about excess drinking, in particular, I unqualifiedly pronounce false, and challenge the most inveterate enemy of the Irish race to produce an instance of intoxication referred to in any Irish manuscript relations to the Fenians. Conan Maol, or Bald, was the only man amongst that body who was over-fond of eating; but I never read of him being drunk.”

[29] Tom Garvin, “Defenders, Ribbonmen and Others: Underground Political Networks in Pre-Famine Ireland, Past and Present, No. 96 (Aug., 1982), p. 136; Michael Davitt, The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland, London & New York: 1904, cited in Garvin, p. 136; For transplantation of Ribbonmen to Canada, see: John Matthew Barlow, Fear and Loathing in Saint-Sylvestre: The Corrigan Murder Case, 1855-58, Master’s Thesis, Simon Fraser University, 1998, pp. 25-38

[30] D’Arcy, p. 55 n.

[31] Clarke, Brian P. Piety and Nationalism: Lay Voluntary Associations and the Creation of an Irish-Catholic Community in Toronto, 1850-1895, Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993 for an extensive history of the HBS, also: Stacey, Charles P. “A Fenian Interlude: The Story of Michael Murphy,” Canadian Historical Review, 5 (1934), 133-154; W. S. Neidhardt, Michael Murphy, DCB; D’Arcy, p. 202, n.58, citing Donahoe’s Magazine, December 1879, p. 539; Peter M. Toner, “The ‘Green Ghost’: Canada’s Fenians and the Raids,” Eire-Ireland, vol 16 (1981), p. 29 cites, Phoenix, New York, 24 March 1866; Burton [P.C. Nolan] to McMicken, December 31, 1865, MG26 A, Volume 236, p. 103110-103113 [Reel C1662], Library and Archivies of Canada (LAC)

[32] For example of international money transfers and Fenian bond sales in France, see: Mitchel to O’Mahony, March 10, 1866, in Joseph Denieffe, A Personal Narrative of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood, New York: Gael Publishing, 1906. p. 219; D’Arcy, p.82-84

[33] Mark McGowan to Peter Wronski, e-mail, February 3, 2010; David Wilson to Peter Wronski, e-mail, March 2, 2010

[35] Police Department of the City of Toronto, Description of Fenian Prisoners, 9 June 1866, Department of Justice, Numbered Central Registry Files, RG-13-A2, vol. 15, LAC.

[36] Even the Fenians’ enemy, George T. Denison, came to the same conclusion: Denison, The Fenian Raid, p. 63-64; also quoted in Somerville, p. 114

Friday, 14 March 2014


Éire Nua – A New Democracy

rsfpage“Is amhlaidh atá Gaeil na haimsire seo agus a bhformhór ceannaithe ag Gallaibh. Ní heol dóibh gurab amhlaidh atá, ach is ea. Táid tar éis a díolta féin ar ór agus ar airgead nó ar luach óir agus airgid. Tá an fear saibhir tar éis é féin do dhíol ar mhórán, agus tá an fear daibhir tar éis é féin do dhíol ar bheagán”.
Sin mar a scriobh an Piarsach sa bhliain 1912. Ach ní raibh sé gan dóchas, mar san alt céanna dúirt sé:
“Tá drong bheag de Ghaelaibh nach bhfuil ceannaithe agus is chucu sin atáimid”.
Ní bhfuair Gaeil a saoirse i 1922 ná ó shin. Táid fós faoi cheannas Gall agus tá comharthaí agus torthaí an éigirt sin go follasach in Éirinn an lae inniu.
Le foilsiú an pholasaí seo ÉIRE NUA tá an Barr Bua á sheinm arís agus tá an meirge á ardú. Tá idir anailís agus treoir sa cháipéis seo. Déanaimis staidéar uirthi agus gríosaímis clanna Gael chun misnigh agus chun saohair.
en02A New Beginning
Ireland in its national experience is unique in western Europe. The country’s history as a colony of England has left its mark on Irish political, social, economic and cultural life.
Though the Ireland we have inherited has all kinds of resources and great potential for national achievement, it is far from realising that potential. Ireland is marked by underdevelopment, unemployment, emigration, poverty on a large scale, and a huge national debt. These problems, serious enough in themselves, are magnified by the continuing conflict in the Six Counties, which also has its origins in Ireland’s colonial history.
A realistic assessment of Ireland’s condition in 2000 shows that we have enormous problems, two failed states, and a political system that perpetuates our plight. One great obstacle to changing all that is our lack of hope. Another major obstacle is the slave mentality engendered in many of our people by centuries of conquest.
Yet the ideal of an independent Irish republic — the ideal proclaimed by the leaders of the 1916 Rising 80 years ago — still inspires those who continue the struggle for national unity and freedom. From the wellsprings of that ideal we can draw hope, inspiration and determination to forge a New Ireland — making a new beginning, based on sound principles and a realistic plan, through the Éire Nua programme.
This programme can be our instrument to build a sound future for our nation. The programme embraces all the people of Ireland; it provides for a system in which all creeds and traditions can be represented and all citizens can exercise real power, without any group infringing on the rights of others. The alternative to the forging of a New Ireland is to endure the present affliction — perhaps in the blind hope that our politicians and their EU friends will somehow magically find ways to transform our present debilitated, impoverished and undemocratic society into a nation that is strong, prosperous and democratic. But what makes that a wholly unrealistic expectation is that these politicians, the system they sponsor, and the policies they sustain and operate, are themselves at the core of the problem that confronts us. We know from bitter experience that Ireland has no real future under the direction of such politicians.
The system of partition government in Ireland has been maintained since 1922, and since 1973 under the growing influence of the EU. It is an inescapable fact, on the supreme test of results, that this system has failed. It is time to think of radical change.
The Éire Nua programme provides for a strong provincial and local government in a federation of the four provinces, designed to ensure that every citizen can participate in genuinely democratic self-government, and to guarantee that no group can dominate or exploit another. Under this programme all traditions in Ireland can make a valuable contribution to the nation. The programme and its structures will make it possible to bring together all the positive forces in the country. Éire Nua will provide the basis for implementing progressive social, economic and cultural policies.
Like other peoples, the Irish have their virtues as well as their faults. Irish men and women have made their mark throughout the world in many fields of endeavour. They have contributed in great measure to the development of America, Canada, Australia, and other countries. The Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence inspired whole nations, particularly in Africa and Asia, to throw off the yoke of colonial oppression. In the light of these achievements, and of the spectacular recent advances of national rights and democracy in eastern Europe, it is tragic that the shackles still binding Ireland to its colonial past have prevented us from developing our nationhood.
So we must work to liberate the Irish people and establish a democratic system, based on justice and equal rights — to build Éire Nua: a New Ireland . In that Ireland, Irish people will begin to experience real power in their own communities, with those communities serving as the foundation for a modern, pluralist Irish republic.
The programme is available for wide distribution, study and debate throughout the country and among our exiled children.
Éire Nua – A new Ireland
Irish people have demonstrated a native talent for formulating unusually effective policies for government and social administration. We have seen this, for example, in the Brehon Laws, which were in force in Ireland from the eighth to the sixteenth century, and in the dramatic influence exercised by the emigrant Irish on the constitutions and politics of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Burma, and various African states.
The creative political genius of the Irish has flourished abroad; sadly the same cannot be said for Ireland itself, especially during the years since 1922.
There is an Irish nation which is based on an organised society and distinctive culture, with roots stretching back more than 1,500 years. This Irish nation has long endured invasion and colonisation by a more powerful neighbor. For more than 800 years the Irish people have heroically resisted this aggression and each generation handed on the torch of liberty to the next. Over the centuries the descendants of many of those who came as conquerors were assimilated and were accepted as Irish. Some of the Anglo-Norman families, for instance, became “more Irish than the Irish themselves” and have made an enormous contribution to Irish life, including the struggle for freedom.
Irish Republicanism has its roots in the desire for separation from England and the right of the Irish people to the ownership and control of their own country. Since the 1790s it has developed and evolved on the basis, not merely of separatism, but also of democracy and inclusivity based on the Rights of Man.
In the great Rising of 1798 large numbers of Protestants, Catholics and Dissenters fought side by side as United Irishmen to break the connection with England and establish an Irish Republic. That effort to achieve freedom and equality was brutally suppressed and the Act of Union creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was enacted in 1800. Throughout the nineteenth century it was a deliberate policy of English governments to cultivate loyalty to the Crown as well as bigotry and Orangeism among the mass of the Protestant people. They found allies also among some of the emerging Catholic professional and merchant classes. The unionists of Ulster (nine Counties) were allowed to exercise a veto over the demand of the majority of the Irish people for Home Rule and later for an Irish Republic.
From 1798 on the Republican non-sectarian position was resolutely maintained by men and women of vision and courage. The Irish Republic proclaimed in arms in 1916 was endorsed by a solid majority vote of the Irish people in 1918 and the first Dáil Éireann, embracing all 32 Counties, was established in 1919. England’s response was to declare the Irish parliament illegal and to unleash forces of terror on the Irish people and their institutions.
The Republic guaranteed “religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens . . . cherishing all 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” (1916 Proclamation).
From 1916 to 1921 the Irish Republic was stoutly defended against English forces and a civil administration was organised. Under threat of “immediate and terrible war” and with the compliance of a section of the Republican Movement, Ireland was partitioned and Ulster was divided in 1921-22.
The legal instrument used to achieve this was the Westminster Government of Ireland Act 1920. The two States which exist in Ireland today date from that time. The Six-County State was created by arbitrarily dividing the historic province of Ulster, based on a sectarian head-count, designed to produce a permanent unionist majority within the ‘United Kingdom’ — now “of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. Thus was the Irish Republic proclaimed in 1916 and democratically endorsed in 1918 overthrown and two Partition States established to supplant it.
As we enter the twenty-first century, Ireland is a divided country. Six counties, containing nearly one-third of the total population of Ireland, are under an English administration whose power in Ireland is maintained by heavily armed forces of occupation. These two Partition States have been marked by emigration, poverty and economic imbalance over the decades since 1922. Normal democracy has been impossible in the artificial Six-County State. Political instability and repressive laws, a paramilitary police force, gerrymandering of electoral boundaries and discrimination in employment and housing have all been used to ensure that this part of Ireland remains within the ‘United Kingdom’.
During the many centuries of English rule Ireland was administered as an integral political unit. In 1918, in the last all-Ireland election, the Irish people voted overwhelmingly for the political unity and sovereignty of Ireland. The rejection of unionism by the vast majority of Irish people is again clearly shown in the map, based on the results of the 1997 Six-County local elections.
A new electoral map of the Six Counties
This map gives a visual impression of the very extensive nationalist rejection of union with Britain. Even within unionist majority areas there is a considerable and often strong anti-union vote — in the region of 39 per cent in Belfast and Craigavon and as high as 45 per cent in Armagh.
When this map is placed where it belongs — within a map of the thirty-two counties of Ireland — the unionist enclave is revealed for what it is: a small area in north-eastern Ireland.
Yet from its north-eastern redoubt the unionist minority has exercised for nearly eighty years a sweeping veto over the political will of the overwhelming majority of the Irish people. This anti-democratic faction is underpinned in its power in the north-east by the guarantees of the Westminster government. In the Hillsborough Agreement of 1985 and again in the Belfast Agreement of 1998 this minority veto was guaranteed by the Dublin administration as well, in further violation of Ireland’s 32-County sovereignty.
A failed arrangement
The failure of the Partition arrangement is evident from nearly eighty years of “the nationalist nightmare” in the north-east — occupation, repression, thought control, economic stagnation and emigration and from the British government’s abolition of the Six-County Stormont parliament in 1972. Subsequent solutions, such as the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement and the 1985 Hillsborough Agreement, have underlined the failure of Partition.
The current policy, based on the Belfast Agreement signed at Stormont on April 10, 1998, seeks to make the artificial Six-County State work within the ‘UK’ by an elaborate and convoluted system that has been labelled “power-sharing”. Since this agreement did not address the basic problem of English rule in Ireland it was flawed from the start. It was sold to the electorate as a basis for a permanent peace, which it could not deliver. It was dishonest, in that it was sold to unionists as a deal to consolidate the union with England and simultaneously urged on nationalists as something which would weaken the union and lead to a united Ireland. And the unionist veto was endorsed, allowing 18% of the population of Ireland to dictate the political progress of the other 82% and therefore of the nation as a whole. As in the case of the Treaty of Surrender in 1921 this Agreement was put to the people as a question of war or peace. Accordingly it was not a free vote; also, a majority in the Six Counties was stated to be decisive for all Ireland.
English rule in Ireland is an injustice, an infringement of Irish national sovereignty, which can be ended only by an administration in Westminster which decides to disengage and withdraw from Ireland. Anything less than such a disengagement will only prolong the political instability and lead inevitably to further armed resistance.
The 26-County State has cooperated in the deception of the Belfast Agreement and has thus sought to legitimise foreign rule in Ireland. Some 26-County politicians hanker after a return to membership of the British Commonwealth. In all of this they are aided and abetted by individuals of wealth and influence, and by some people in the media. These same politicians operate a “clientelist” system; public office is achieved and maintained by buying people’s allegiance, trading favours for votes. Corruption in finance, politics and physical planning is rife and the resultant public cynicism has led to a decline in the exercise of the franchise by citizens who feel increasingly powerless.
This culture of corruption is a consequence, not merely of personal dishonesty on the part of certain individuals, but also of the highly centralised nature of the 26-County State, whereby decisions affecting the everyday life of communities are placed in the hands of an elite cadre of politicians and bureaucrats.
Enormous sums of money have been borrowed to perpetuate this system and this has created one of the highest per capita debts in the world. There has also been a deterioration in the Irish public services — health, education and social welfare. Disillusion and frustration with the prevailing conditions have led in some sectors to a near-breakdown of social order, particularly among young people in urban areas. The Irish people deserve better government than this. They deserve leaders who are imbued with sound moral values and who are interested in genuine public service, rather than self-aggrandisement and power for the sake of power. Our long struggle for freedom provides us with endless examples of selfless men and women who dedicated their lives to the welfare of our people.
Cultural and economic consequences
These problems have been compounded by policies of cultural deprivation, with Irish identity and the Irish language deliberately downgraded. The only culture many young Irish people know is a commercialised Anglo-American pop culture, and they are denied access to any real knowledge of Ireland’s long history of struggle for freedom. For years now the people of the 26 Counties have been paying more per capita for the maintenance of the Six-County Border than have the people of Britain. Yet the continued British presence in the North, and British influence in the South, have brought only tragedy and a scandalous waste of resources.
The Partition of Ireland led to a dissipation of scarce resources north and south. There has been no unified long-term capital investment in areas like energy, education, health and industry; there has been great duplication of expenditure. The impact of Partition on areas of Ireland along the British-imposed Border has been particularly injurious.
British systems of government and economic management, inappropriate for a country of our size and economic condition, have been slavishly perpetuated, north and south, since Partition. Other small countries in Europe, some with fewer natural resources than Ireland’s, have made great economic strides in modern times, particularly since WWII, and have achieved high standards of living for their people. The unemployment, poverty and emigration the Irish have experienced would be completely unacceptable in Sweden, Switzerland or Finland; they should also be unacceptable here.
EU membership
Our problems were magnified when both states were led into full membership of the so-called “European Community”. Such membership was unsuited to a country at our early stage of economic development — the result of Ireland’s being a British colony for centuries. No modern nation has managed to bring itself from underdevelopment to full development in circumstances of unrestricted free trade — a situation that in Ireland’s case is compounded by continued foreign occupation.
Under the Act of Union of 1800 Ireland lost half its population and suffered dire poverty and stunted growth. In the early twentieth century Ireland attempted to break entirely with Britain; but under the Partition arrangement the malign influence of British power has persisted for nearly eighty years. This influence persists within the neo-colonial framework of the EU.
Since 1972, when we were promised “markets in Europe and jobs at home”, native manufacturing industries, never designed to withstand competition from heavily bankrolled multinational European industries, have been shut down. EU agricultural policy has resulted in elimination of family farms, with detrimental social consequences for rural communities.
Agricultural policy is almost totally dictated by Brussels. It has favoured the wealthier farmers and has even ordered Irish citizens to take some of their land out of production. So many have now left the land that schools and post offices are being closed down and some rural parishes even have difficulty in fielding a sporting team. This has all undermined people’s idea of self-sufficiency, and the resultant movement to urban areas has increased the culture of dependency, creating new problems in the towns and cities.
Sinn Féin Poblachtach regards the European Union, as it has developed and continues to develop, as a modern form of imperialism.
It serves the interests, above all, of big business and the super-rich. Corruption is rampant there also as we saw in 1999 when the whole EU Commission had to resign. It is undemocratic in its institutions and it is overcentralising; in this it runs counter to the Republican aims of increasing the democratic power of citizens and decentralising decision-making to manageable units where all citizens can participate in a meaningful way.
It is sometimes remarked that the EU has promoted progressive policies in Ireland, like equal pay for equal work and protection of the environment. These are steps which any Irish administration could have taken at any time. Our standards should be even higher than those imposed by Brussels.
The Celtic Tiger economy has served to provide more jobs, but those who benefit most from it are those who are already rich. In recent years the gap between rich and poor has widened. There is more social exclusion and rates of real poverty and illiteracy are actually getting worse. A crisis in housing our people is with us.
Whatever economic improvements we have witnessed have been brought about by the transfer of structural and other funds by the EU and by the driving force in economic development which is based on encouraging multinational companies to locate in Ireland. This is not the solid foundation on which to build a national economy.
Too many people have been left on the margins of society and a sub-culture of poverty has been generated. Economic development based on inward investment by multinational companies means that there is no indigenous input and there are no roots in the communities. The factors which sustain such an economy are totally beyond the control of the Irish people.
(The Sinn Féin Poblachtach perspective on social and economic questions is presented in our policy document SAOL NUA.)
Sinn Féin Poblachtach recognises the enormous influence of modern technology, especially mass communications which have made the world smaller. We also recognise the interdependence of peoples and our duty to play a positive role in international affairs. But an over-emphasis on economic development, based on a rapacious exploitation of the world’s finite resources and measured by growth in GNP, is inadequate. Recent United Nations Human Development Reports on Ireland have shown just how deficient such an approach is, resulting in social exclusion, poverty and illiteracy, which in turn denies many thousands of people the rights of full citizenship and leads to escalating crime.
Both states in Ireland boast of increasing the number of police and building new prisons. The suicide rate has been growing at an alarming rate. These are hardly the signs of a healthy community.
Ireland, with its historic experience of English colonisation and exploitation, has much in common with former European colonies in the Third World. We can best serve the interests of our own people and of humankind by maintaining a principled non-aligned stance in international affairs, avoiding military alliances and promoting the cancellation of Third World debt. Our democratic and egalitarian principles and our own long struggle for national independence should lead us to promote human rights and the liberation of people everywhere.
A new beginning
The following proposals indicate ways to remedy Ireland’s weakened and wasted conditions and gradually bring the nation to its full health. These proposals aim to abolish the failed, undemocratic system of Partition rule, and to replace this with a democratic system based on the unity and sovereignty of the Irish people, as well as on their right as free citizens to equal treatment and equal opportunity. After decades of armed conflict and political turmoil — and given the clear failure of the British-model systems now in operation to provide adequate and improving standards of living — there is an obligation on all Irish people to work together to find a new, constructive way forward. Our nation is made up of diverse traditions, each of which can make a valuable and positive contribution to the community as a whole.
The structures which we propose are designed to embrace and include all the people of Ireland, on the basis of “cherishing all the children of the nation equally”. Dáil Uladh and the regional and local structures in Ulster will ensure that both unionists and nationalists can have access to power — real power.
A federal structure involves a sharing of sovereignty, and Dáil Uladh would have more power than the old Stormont ever had. Similarly in the other three provinces, all communities and citizens would have access to real power.
What we seek to establish is a pluralist participative democracy with appropriate structures at every level in society. When the malign influence of Westminster rule is removed at last a New Ireland can be fashioned by the Irish people themselves, of all persuasions. A federal system, with strong regional and local government, will make it possible for unionists and nationalists to co-operate in the common interest, pooling the talents of all and working together to build a new and prosperous Ireland.
As we enter the twenty-first century it is finally time for the Irish people to apply their undoubted creative genius, and the talent for government that they have so often demonstrated abroad, to the needs of the Irish nation at home.
Proposed Governmental Structures
The object of Sinn Féin Poblachtach is to establish a new society in Ireland: Éire Nua. To achieve that, the structures of undemocratic partition rule must be abolished; they must be replaced with entirely new structures based on the unity of the Irish people as a whole. The new system would embody two main features:
  1. a new constitution;
  2. a new government structure.
A new constitution
The new constitution would provide for;
a.  Charter of Rights, to secure for citizens effective control of their conditions of living, subject to the common good;
b.  structure of government designed to provide the maximum distribution of authority at provincial and subsidiary level;
c.  the right of Ireland to join international organisations — eg the United Nations, the World Health Organisation — so long as such organisations do not subvert Irish sovereignty or neutrality.
Draft Charter of Rights
A Charter of Rights would be formulated, along these lines:
We the people of Ireland are resolved to establish political sovereignty, to secure human justice and social progress in this island, to achieve a better life for all, and henceforth to live in peace with one another. And so we declare our adherence to the following principles:
  • Article 1. Every citizen is born free and equal and shares the same inherent human dignity. Everyone is entitled to the rights of citizenship without distinction as to race, sex religion, philosophical conviction, language or political outlook.
  • Article 2. Every citizen has the right to life, liberty, and security of person. No-one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest of detention.
  • Article 3. Every citizen has the right to freedom of conscience, to free choice and practice of religion, and to the free and open teaching of ethical and political beliefs. This includes the rights to freedom of assembly, the right to peaceable association, the right to petition, and the right to freedom of expression and communication.
  • Article 4. Every citizen has the right to participate in the government of the country, and to equal access to its public service.
  • Article 5. The basis of government is the will of the people. This is expressed in direct participatory democracy and free elections by secret ballot. The right of every citizen to follow his or her conscience, and to express his or her personal opinion, stands against any demographically contrived attempt at repression.
  • Article 6. Every citizen has the right to education according to personal ability, the right to work, and the right to a standard of living worthy of a free human being. This right extends to food, housing and medical care, and to security against unemployment, illness, and disability.
  • Article 7. Every citizen has the right to marry and found a family. Mothers, children, the aged and infirm deserve the nation’s particular care and attention.
  • Article 8. Every citizen has the right to equal pay for equal work, and the right to join a trade union for the protection of workers’ collective interests, and these rights must be acknowledged by all employers.
  • Article 9In the exercise of their rights, citizens shall be subject only to such constraints as may be necessary to ensure recognition and respect for the rights of others and the welfare of the larger community.
It is intended that the European Convention on Human Rights, promulgated on November 4, 1950 in twenty-one countries, be made part of the internal domestic law of the New Ireland.
Governmental structures
The system outlined here envisions a federation of the four provinces of Ireland under the co-ordination of a national parliament, with powers devolved through regional administrative councils to local bodies, so that at all levels citizens may have an effective voice in their own governance.
Dáil Éireann
The New Ireland will have a national parliament, to which all citizens of the thirty-two counties will give common allegiance, and which will embody the unity and sovereignty of the nation as a whole. This parliament — a true Dáil Éireann — will have the responsibility of protecting the nation’s interests at home and abroad. All its actions will be governed by a constitution freely adopted by the majority of the people of the country.
Provincial government
Decentralised local government will be fundamental to the new system.
The four traditional provinces — Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connacht — have emerged as definite regions within the island of Ireland, with distinctive characteristics. Irish people in any region will be found to have a natural affinity — in culture, sport and economic interest — with those of their own province and county.
Uniting the historic province of Ulster will help eliminate the sectarian divisions of the past and realise the full potential for development of separated counties — especially Donegal, Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan, and Monaghan. The people of the long-neglected province of Connacht will find power to escape from their isolation. The people of the provinces of Leinster and Munster will be able to pursue policies that will secure them a more equitable and balanced form of development.
Regional boards
Regional boards will plan and oversee the economic, social and cultural development of areas within their jurisdiction. They will be served by secretariats employing modern means of administration while ensuring attention to and care for the problems of all the people of the region.
District councils
District councils will give people a direct voice in their own local governance, ensuring that their public representatives are more closely accountable to the electorate.
Community councils
Community councils will give people the opportunity to improve conditions at parish level.
It is proposed that – to signify the beginning of a new era and the unity of the country around its geographic centre – Athlone be made the capital city of the New Ireland.
National or federal parliament
The national parliament, Dáil Éireann — which will also be a federal parliament in that it will be drawn from the federation of Ireland’s four constituent provinces — will consist of a single chamber of about a hundred deputies, elected 50 per cent by direct universal suffrage according to the proportional representation system and 50 per cent in equal numbers from each provincial parliament. Each deputy (TD) would represent about 25,000 voters. The precise figure would be based on the ratio between the density of population of an electoral district and its geographical area.
Dáil Éireann will be representative of the whole of Ireland and elected by the suffrage of all its citizens. It will be the supreme national authority, acting in trust for the people. Its primary duty would be to uphold the Constitution and Charter of Rights adopted by the Irish people.
The national parliament, Dáil Éireann, will have the following special responsibilities:
a.  defending the nation, physically and politically;
b.  upholding the interests of the Irish people, and representing their concern for other people, in any international forum;
c.  formulating Irish foreign policy, maintaining Irish neutrality and independence from all power blocs, including the EU, and seeking to secure a nuclear-free world; and
d.  protecting and promoting Irish culture, language and literature.
Functions of the national parliament:
  1. the national parliament will control all powers and functions essential to the good of the nation;
  2. the national parliament will elect a President, who will serve as both Prime Minister and head of state;
  3. the national parliament will elect a Government, consisting of a limited number of ministers nominated by the President;
  4. the national parliament will secure the independence of the Supreme Court and of the judicial system as guardian of the Constitution;
  5. the national parliament will initiate national legislation, through any of the following agencies:
    1. its own deputies,2. the central Government,3. a provincial parliament, or4. an initiative;
  6. The national parliament will adopt national legislation, either
      a.  directly, through its own deputies, or
      c.   by initiative in specified cases;
7.   The national parliament will oversee collection of the federal revenue.
Provincial parliaments or assemblies
Assemblies or parliaments will be established for each of the four provinces. The representatives will be elected by the people of each province according to a system of proportional representation.
The functions of the provincial parliament will be:
  • to co-ordinate activity and development in the various regions in the province, with particular care for the unique character of the Gaeltacht areas;
  • to initiate and promote legislation for the social, economic and cultural development of the people within the region, with the right to initiative; and
  • to co-ordinate the development and expansion of third-level education;
  • to collect provincial revenue.
Regional boards
Regional boards will be established to promote and co-ordinate the economic, social and cultural affairs of clearly defined regions. The regional development board would be a single chamber consisting of:
     a.  representatives of district councils within the region concerned, elected according to a system of proportional representation, and
     b.  expert representatives appointed by the provincial parliament.
The regional board would have the following responsibilities:
a.  to assess and co-ordinate the work of district councils in their regions;
  b.  to provide for hospitalisation and care of the young, aged and infirm;
c.  to supervise regional planning;
   d.  to plan for economic growth;
   e.  to provide for cultural development.
The following regions are suggested:
  • Connacht — two regions: North Connacht, consisting of Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo and the Boyle and Ballaghaderreen county electoral areas of Roscommon; and South Connacht, consisting of Galway, the remainder of Roscommon and the Claremorris/Ballinrobe area of Mayo plus the Gaeltacht are of Tuar Mhic Eide in South Mayo.
  • Munster — four regions: Cork city and environs, South Munster, consisting of Kerry and North and West Cork; East Munster, consisting, consisting of South Tipperary, Waterford and East Cork; and North Munster, consisting of North Tipperary, Limerick and Clare.
  • Leinster — four regions: Midlands, consisting of Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly; East Leinster, consisting of South Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow; Greater Dublin; and South Leinster, consisting of Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny.
  • Ulster — four regions: East Ulster, consisting of Antrim, East Derry, East Tyrone, North Armagh, and North and East Down; South Ulster, consisting of Cavan, Monaghan, part of Fermanagh, South Down, South Armagh and North Louth; Greater Belfast; and West Ulster, consisting of Donegal, Derry City and the Faughan and Limavady districts of County Derry, the Strabane and Omagh districts of County Tyrone, and most of County Fermanagh.
  • All Gaeltacht districts would constitute a Gaeltacht Region.
Each region will be served by a fully staffed secretariat.
District councils
A district council will consist of a single chamber elected by the people of a clearly defined area covering a population of 10,000 to 40,000 people.
District councils will have the following areas of responsibility:
  • the welfare and security of the community and the application of the law in a humane and just manner;
  • primary and secondary education;
  • job creation, regulations governing employment and standards of work, trading practices, etc;
  • local planning and environmental development;
  • agriculture, fishing, and small industry;
  • health centres, youth and recreational development;
  • housing and control of rented accommodation;
  • social welfare and social services.
Each district council will have a secretariat, where all services would be provided under the same roof.
Community councils
Community councils will be voluntary bodies, representing close-knit communities based on parishes or other suitable centres, such as a district electoral area. To ensure the welfare of their people and the good of their communities, community councils will have the right of audience at all district council meetings.
PLEASE NOTE: The above proposals are not definitive; they can and inevitably will be modified. Sinn Féin Poblachtach would in fact welcome constructive criticism of these proposals.