Monthly Archives: February 2011

Election Mania: notes from the asylum 6

As the last counts continue in the General Election, it is a black mark against the mainstream media in Ireland that across the board it is assiduously pushing the Fine Gael-Labour coalition as the only option. This  illustrates a deeply entrenched, internalised, unethical and unprofessional approach on the part of ‘professional’ journalists.

The fact is that there are at least four options available. Fine Gael can form a coalition government with Labour, or with independents, or with Fianna Fail, or can form a minority government with the agreed support of Fianna Fail and like-minded independents. If stability is a key requirement, then the coalition of two parties which share the same broad ideology is available, against the potential instability of a coalition of a left-wing party, which Labour claims to be, and a right-wing party which Fine Gael is.

There is anecdotal evidence of Labour Party workers at a Dublin count centre supporting the idea that Labour would lead the opposition and work toward leading a government at the next opportunity. A strong statement from Jimmy Kelly, Regional Secretary of the Unite trade union, echoes this line, with sound reasoning.

Should Labour insist that it will lead the opposition, that would force Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to hold talks, and to find the basis of agreement on which a stable government could be formed. The fact is that about 55% of voters gave their first preference to right-wing parties and independents.That says something, but this fact does not register as being of any consequence with the media.

Should Fine Gael and Fianna Fail not reach agreement then another General Election would be required if Labour held firm and explained the dichotomy of Labour being required to provide stable government, but Fine Gael and Fianna Fail not being so required. In those circumstances, Fine Gael would not wish to take the chance of going to the country again, and so a Fine Gael-Fianna Fail coalition of one sort or the other would have to be a runner.

Regarding international perception and confidence, neither the EU or the IMF, or the international bond market could lack confidence in such an arrangement – to adopt any other position would lack any logic.

It is difficult to imagine, given the ‘shapes’ that its spokespeople are throwing, that the Labour leadership will respect the mandate that the party and other left-wing parties and independents have been given to create real change in politics in the manner that Unite leader Jimmy Kelly describes.

Whichever way it goes with respect to forming a government, there is one  project that must be undertaken – it is vital that a proper examination of the deeply anti-democratic nature of media coverage across the printed press and broadcast media takes place, post-election, and that the findings are acted on. There is work here for academics, and we have no shortage of qualified people to do that work.

If a media hegemony was identified in any country outside Ireland, the Irish media would react indignantly. The parable of the Mote and the Beam comes to mind, a parable that has to do with hypocrisy and censoriousness. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Election Mania: notes from the asylum 5

There they go again! ‘We must have stable government’ says the political class – more specifically the Labour leadership and the bourgeois press.  ‘We need a broad-based government to send a message to our partners in the EU and the international financiers’, they say.

What they mean of course is that Labour must do its ‘duty’ – again. It must, for the Labour leadership, get into power. For the bourgeois press, Labour must prop up the hegemonic right-wing political system, or the sky might fall.

We have had stable government for 14 years, with a minority Fianna Fail government relying either on small parties or a number of compliant independents, so stable that the government was able to bankrupt the country in broad daylight with the assistance of the small parties and independents without any significant protest from them until Black November when the IMF and EU were gifted our sovereignty by that government.

And what of Labour’s claim that its presence in government will make it more ‘broad-based’? A glance at the profile of the Labour TDs elected this time will reveal very few TDs from the working class, self-employed manual workers, small farmers, the unemployed, working mothers, carers, people with disabilities. Oh, but Labour lawyer-TDs, and Labour economist-TDs, and Labour academic-TDs, will, they say, ‘represent’ those people. The truth is that a ‘Labour’ party that does not have a healthy cohort drawn from the working and lower middle class among its parliamentary representatives is just another bourgeois party.

A Fine Gael – Labour coalition would have upwards of 115 seats in the Dail, leaving about 50 seats to the opposition. Such an imbalance, far from being just ‘stable’, would amount to a parliamentary dictatorship, free of the possibility of dismissal from power, and capable of governing without the need for accountability.

It makes no sense to read the voters’ intentions in this election as an endorsement for this sort of ridiculous coalition of Left and Right, particularly when it is obvious that there could be a very stable government formed between Fine Gael and the remaining rump of Fianna Fail, thus really ending Civil War politics. The two parties are in complete ideological agreement, are two sides of the same coin.

A proper reading of the voters’ intentions is to be gauged by the massive increase in support for left-wing parties, which in the mind of the electorate includes the Labour Party, Sinn Fein, The United Left Alliance and leftist independents. Matched by a significant decline in the number of centre-right and right-wing TDs coming out of this election, this is not just an urban phenomenon but is spread around the country.

The appropriate response of the Right to the wishes of the electorate is a coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, and some in those two parties may already be discussing this option. That would leave us with a powerful opposition, the first left-wing opposition in the history of the State.

This election has been revolutionary in its outcome. It cannot be, for the convenience of a few, turned into a counter-revolution. The next election will be even more important. It will likely take place in 2015 in the run-up to the centenary of 2016, the most appropriate moment to finally create the sort of Republic envisaged by the revolutionaries of 1916. It would be a travesty if the Labour Party, so central to that revolution, should, by its actions in going into government with Fine Gael, ensure that a rejuvenated Fianna Fail and a burgeoning Sinn Fein have their hands on those levers, to the exclusion of the Labour Party.

Labour – listen to the voters. Their intent is clear, that Civil War politics must end, and that we should finally have a democracy mature enough to take seriously the Left as well as the Right. It is called democratic choice!

Election Mania: notes from the asylum 4

On his ‘Tonight’ programme on TV3, Vincent Browne has taken the parties of the Left to task for their failure to tap into the mood for change among the electorate and asked various representative of those parties – ‘Why?’.  None of them has given the glaringly obvious answer.

In a multi-party democracy those who control media coverage control the propaganda war. These ‘controllers’ include senior editors and producers, and senior journalists and ‘elite’ commentators. But more than that, control is influenced by the ethos of the media outlet, whether a TV or radio station, or a newspaper or magazine.

In the Republic of Ireland there is no organ of the mainstream national media – TV, radio or printed press – that meets the test for diversity or pluralism as those terms apply to balanced coverage of various political ideologies. Not only do we not have any significant organ of the media that could be described as left of centre, counterbalancing the conservative ethos of the Irish Times, Irish Independent and Irish Examiner, and RTE, TV3 and other national and local broadcasters, but within those organs there is evidence of a strong bias towards maintaining the ‘status quo’ and treating parties and individuals who are outside the mainstream dismissively, and even contemptuously.

Press ownership by wealthy individuals and companies, and by the State in the case of RTE, is one reason for this attitude on the part of the employees of media producers. They are, naturally, mindful of who they work for and to and of the need to hold onto their positions. But the real problem is an attitudinal one, a failure on the part of very many producers/editors and journalists to apply the central principles of fairness and accuracy to their coverage of politics and public policy options.

Understanding who producers/editors and journalists are with regard to social class, training, cultural influences and social peer and workplace pressure is a valid way of understanding why there is a uniformity across the media in the treatment of any political movement which diverges from the status quo. It is reasonable to say that the vast bulk of political coverage in the media is far more reflective of the views of those living in the leafy suburbs of South Dublin, than of the mass of people who live in housing estates, in rural towns and villages, or in remote communities.

Two examples will back that up – the narrow selection of ‘expert’ political commentators, and the skewed selection of discussion panels on popular current affairs programmes on radio and TV, invariably drawn from the ‘political class’ – politicians, professionals, business men and women, academics. The research is simple to do, and using a sociological approach the outcome inevitably demonstrates that the influential voices are almost invariably establishment voices with minor and usually inconsequential variations.

Since it is mainly through the media that we get information and ideas – but also ways of thinking and seeing the world we inhabit – it is vital for the citizens and for democracy itself  that a full range of information is accessible, that different political ideas are respectfully debated and analysed, and that the cosy bourgeois consensus in the media is ended.

In the absence of journalists moderating themselves by ensuring that the principles of fairness and accuracy are observed, and indeed pressurising their employers to allow themselves as professionals to do so, then it falls to society, if its members really do believe in deomocracy, to apply that pressure from outside.

Those Left-wing parties who failed to identify this to Vincent Browne and the TV audience as the major problem they face in seeking to end the hegemony of the Right in Irish politics, need to urgently begin to address the matter in a unified way in public, to apply the sort of pressure that they are capable of doing both inside parliament and on the streets, and even to consider the viability of alternatives to the corrupted media in Ireland. A failure by the Left to challenge media hegemony now means repetitious failure of the Left in the future. This organised challenge must be the first item on the Left’s agenda, post-election.

Election Mania: notes from the asylum 3

The outcome of the election won’t be known until the weekend, but if the last Red C poll is reasonably accurate in forecasting the likely support for parties and independents some observations are valid.

With 40% support, Fine Gael could get close to 80 seats in the Dail which would allow that party to govern with the support of a number of independents, or with the Greens and fewer independents. If that were to happen we would have a government with a first preference support of, perhaps, only 42% of the electorate who cast a ballot.

Another possible outcome would be for a minority Fine Gael government with the support of Fianna Fail in a ‘Tallaght 2’ type situation. Despite protestations that Fine Gael would not enter into coalition with Fianna Fail, Fine Gael could opt for this ‘hands off’ relationship in order to achieve power on its own so as to pursue its policy objectives, undiluted.

The third scenario would see Fine Gael and Labour in an agreed government, but with Fine Gael holding the whip hand in terms of policy and the allocation of ministerial portfolios. On that note, it is pitiful to observe a panic-stricken Labour leadership virtually pleading with their Fine Gael counterparts for seats at the government table, and explicitly pleading with the electorate to rescue them from the opposition benches.

Labour has been badly served by its strategists, by a loutish, hectoring Joan Burton, by a lethargic Pat Rabbitte, by a grumpy, jaded Ruairi Quinn, by its foolish attempts to distance itself from the left in the mistaken belief that that was necessary to hold on to middle-class votes. Even more so, it was badly served by the absence of a recognisably distinct ideology – a set of values and beliefs, and by its consistent distancing of the party from its key founder James Connolly and his model of a republic that should be Labour’s strongest selling point. Fine Gael is talking  about creating a ‘new’ republic – what is certain, given Fine Gael’s record and ideology, is that it won’t be the Irish Republic of the Proclamation.

Should Labour succeed in entering coalition, the new government would likely command 100-110 seats, with a much-reduced opposition of roughly half that number – not a recipe for government being held to account. The opposition would, almost certainly, be led by Fianna Fail, which would use that opportunity to rebuild the party. In that case, Labour would revert to being the buffer between the two rightist parties, with Fianna Fail selling itself as back-to-its-roots radical, and challenging Labour as the voice of the working man and woman. From that, it is back to square-one for another 10 or 20 years.

Labour’s duty is to look to the next election, not this one, as the route to achieving power on behalf of all of the people. To do otherwise would be an indelible mark of failure. There is a very slight chance that Labour will opt for leading a strong opposition, but little grounds for optimism on that score. Perhaps electoral fortune will force that on the party, to the benefit of the citizens and the republic.

Election Mania: notes from the asylum 2

With just two days to go before polling in General Election 2011, the latest opinion poll shows Fine Gael on the cusp of achieving power, possibly needing the support of  Independents but not necessarily the Labour Party.

For Fine Gael, such an outcome would have been unimaginable a month ago and would represent an historic breakthrough. It would lead to great satisfaction within the Party, and no doubt jubilation. But it would isolate the Party in power, making it fully responsible for all of the potential failures of policy, of dealing with the legacy of Fianna Fail’s grotesque betrayal of the people and the State, and of handling all of the upsets that will happen, both nationally and internationally. For instance, uncertainty in the Middle East and North Africa will lead to great turbulence in oil markets, and price instability, and will affect economies around the World – few of them in as precarious a state as Ireland’s.

For Irish citizens, particularly those who are struggling financially, or suffering the effects of health or education cuts, etc., the elevation of Fine Gael to single party government will be a far from pleasant experience. Fine Gael, without anything approaching  the grassroots base that Fianna Fail has had traditionally, will be relatively uninhibited in pursuing its Thatcherite approach to budgetary and fiscal matters. Blinded by its commitment to being ‘good Europeans’ and its membership of the Christian Democratic bloc in the EU, Fine Gael is unlikely to force essential changes to the EU/IMF plan. As for Fine Gael’s  much-vaunted 5-point plan, it is the stuff of smoke and mirrors and won’t work, certainly not in the short-term.

For the Labour Party, to be excluded from government would be evidence of a failure of strategy and of leadership. Certain that  the Party would have its hands on the levers of power, it would now find itself consigned to opposition. That would be a source of great disappointment to party members and supporters, but should not be. Provided that Labour emerges as the opposition party with the greatest number of deputies, Eamon Gilmore would lead the opposition, a first for Labour, and with a strong cohort of other left-wing parties and individuals. Facing across the chamber a right-wing party grappling with known and yet-to-be-known  problems and catastrophes, Labour would be in an ideal position to enhance its credibility with the voters while developing a policy platform for an election that would most likely come far sooner than might be expected.

Should Fine Gael win government and Labour win leadership of the opposition and use that opportunity wisely, then the future might open up in an unexpected way. With the centenary of the 1913 Lockout just two years hence, Labour will be forced to re-evaluate its core values, its history, its constituency, and its duty to inform and educate citizens about the value of progressive policies and politics. Given that the centenary of the Irish Revolution, in which the labour movement led by James Connolly played a fundamental part, will occur just three years after the centenary of the Lockout, transformative shifts in attitudes on the part of the citizens towards politics and the preferred nature of the Republic become very possible.

Far from being despondent, should that scenario play out, left-leaning citizens, particularly those who believe in the Irish Republic as opposed to the corrupted and socially skewed ‘Republic’ of Ireland, might rejoice. With a re-focussed Labour leading a left-wing opposition in the circumstance described, the project of finally completing the Revolution of Easter 1916 and establishing the progressive Irish Republic becomes even more attainable. Now, that would not be a bad outcome to a less than satisfactory election!

The Illusion of Democracy

We are led to believe that we live in a modern democracy, that our multi-party system is far superior to the dictatorship of single party systems in communist states like China, Cuba, the old Soviet Bloc – or fascist states like Franco’s Spain or Salazar’s Portugal. We are led to believe that the system we have is in the best traditions of modern European democracy with the citizen  exercising ultimate control over policy and the system. But it just doesn’t stack up.

In almost every European state citizens regularly move left-wing and right-wing parties into and out of power, and the skies don’t fall. In Ireland, on the other hand, we move seamlessly from one conservative-led government to another conservative-led government, and have done so for 90 years without exception. In a situation where both main conservative parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, are ideologically inseparable this amounts, effectively, to a single party system.

We are unique in Europe of never having, to date, the real possibility of electing a left-wing government, and that won’t change this time out. We must be a conservative people, as we are constantly told – to justify this hegemony of the right. But that is not true. We do not carry some genetic trait that determines our political leanings.

Our DNA is stamped with rebelliousness stretching back into pre-history and includes being among the first people in Europe to embrace with an attempted revolution the ideals of enlightenment republicanism in 1798. We created the first revolution in Europe in the 20th century, in 1916. Our feminist movement at that time was the most advanced in the world. James Connolly, who commanded the revolutionary forces in Dublin in 1916, was an internationally renowned socialist philosopher and agitator. The model of the Irish Republic in the Proclamation is essentially Connolly’s radical socialist Workers’ Republic.

Something changed. That ‘something’ was a classic counter-revolution in the 1920s with the creation of a conservative coalition of the Catholic church, a reactionary governing party Cumann na nGaedheal with quasi-fascist traits, and a right-wing main-stream press. Progressive men and women were silenced, often labelled as subversive and/or communist, or forced into exile.

Little has changed since then, other than the overt extremism of the dictatorship of the right. As Catholic church power to influence public opinion diminished in recent decades it was replaced by a commentariat in the printed press and on radio and television, themselves formed by the conservative culture in which they grew, and serving their own bourgeois class interests – with very few honourable exceptions. The political, economic and social status quo suits media owners, managers and journalists perfectly, it suits the main political parties, it suits the professional class of which journalists and commentators are members, and it suits the business class, but it does not suit society.

We are also unique in Europe in the distinct lack of diversity in the media across the political spectrum. Fix that major flaw, make available to Irish citizens a broad range of views in a fair and reasoned way and a proper Public Sphere can flourish. And with an effective Public Sphere in which real reasoned debate on ideas among all citizens is possible the spiral of silence is broken, the hegemony of the right is ended and genuine democracy can flourish. That, even more than tinkering with political institutions, is the immediate challenge.

Election Mania: notes from the asylum

With five days to go to polling in the general election, momentum appears to be with the Fine Gael party which may attain power without the need for Labour in coalition. That is a daunting prospect both for Fine Gael and for Irish people who are struggling to survive the economic disaster that has been visited on them – those dependent on social welfare, on inadequate incomes or who are burdened with excessive levels of debt including mortgage debt, on those out of work and students waiting to take their place beside them in the dole queue or, more likely, the emigrant ship.

The upside for Fine Gael in taking power on its own or with a number of independents is having a free hand to introduce its policies without the need for compromise, but this brings with it the significant downside of having sole responsibility for the failure of those policies, and there will be failures. Despite its PR literature, Fine Gael is not a centre-right but rather a right-wing party. Its roots are an interesting reminder. Born in 1933 out of the remnants of the regressive and repressive Cumann na nGaedheal party which joined forces with the  quasi-fascist National Guard – better known as the Blueshirts, Fine Gael has always been on the right of the Irish political landscape. Broadly speaking it is a ‘law and order’ party with a strong impulse towards ‘Thatcherite’ economic policy and a marked subservience towards the ‘European project’.

The upside for Irish politics is that Labour would be placed in opposition, which it would lead for the first time in that party’s existence, but would be under pressure from other opposition parties of the left – Sinn Fein and the  ULA, and leftist independents. That would force Labour to rediscover the core values of the party and to re-engage with its principal founder, James Connolly, with his socialist republican analysis and ideas, and with the values of the Irish Republic of 1916. This would become even more necessary with the attempt by a greatly diminished ‘new’ Fianna Fail to reconnect with its early radicalism so as to challenge Labour and Sinn Fein in the subsequent election.

Ultimately this scenario, while creating additional short-term suffering for those currently experiencing hardship, would lead Ireland away from the Tweedledumb-Tweedledumber politics of the past 80 years and towards a politics that spans from left to right – the norm in western parliamentary democracies. In the run-up to the centenary of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic this would be a boon for the citizens.

In the project of creating the enlightened, progressive Irish Republic it is not this election that matters, as much as the one to follow. Wishing for short-term right-wing success this time out is not as crazy as it seems!

Atlantean Irish in the Wider World

Ireland is virtually alone in the EU, with the exception of the Baltic States and Luxembourg, in not having an imperialist past, but rather, like the Baltic States, having experienced centuries of domination by an imperialist neighbour.

Since the first moves in the 1960s to apply for membership of what was then the European Economic Community, there has always been principled opposition in Ireland to immersing the nation in what was seen as a pan-European imperialist project and aligning itself with those countries which have wreaked a trail of destruction on nations and peoples around the world. It was believed by many opponents of the proposed Irish membership of the EEC that our proper place in the world was as part of that global collective of those victims of European imperialism known as the non-aligned movement.

The non-aligned movement is an organisation of 118 member states, and 18 states with ‘observer’ status. It was created as a ‘third way’, an alternative to alignment with either the West or the Soviet Union in that power-play that was the ‘Cold War’. It is largely made up of nations and peoples that are former colonies of European imperialist nations.

There is a set of requirements for membership of the organisation, which are:

  • Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  • Recognition of the movements for national independence.
  • Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations, large and small.
  • Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
  • Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
  • Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Promotion of mutual interests and co-operation.
  • Respect for justice and international obligations.

‘The purpose of the organisation as stated in the Havana Declaration of 1979 is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics.” (Source – Wikipedia)

Contained in that Declaration are many of the issues that now confront Ireland, and which were identified by opponents to EEC membership from the 1960s on, but rubbished by the proponents of membership. Joining the non-aligned movement would see Ireland reclaim its independence and sovereignty, including its fiscal sovereignty with the reintroduction of its own currency and the consequent power to revalue that currency when conditions demanded that should be done in the interest of the nation – the nation being all of the people and not a wealthy minority.

What of the other members of the non-aligned movement and how would Ireland sit among them? It is a simple task to identify regimes with which we would have serious issues, but the same is the case with some member states of the EU. On the other side, there are very many members of the NAM that share significant elements of history with us (domination and colonialism by European states, and the difficulties of working through the post-colonial period). Many of the member states have had their borders artificially constructed or manipulated by the imperialists, and we share that experience. Like them, we have experienced the deliberate colonialist policies of destruction of our language and culture and the fostering of sectarian divisions with all of the long-term problems that have arisen as a result.

And what of the argument that by leaving the EU we would materially damage Ireland’s economy and therefore its capacity to maintain its independence? The quick answer to that is evidenced by the assault on our fiscal independence, and therefore our sovereignty, by the larger member states of the EU to protect their own banks, bond holders, etc. But the positive answer is to look at the trading opportunities – both material and intellectual – that would be available in a body of nations that not only includes super-economies such as India, China, Brazil, but also includes over half of the world’s population, about 80% of the world’s oil resources, and the vast bulk and variety of other precious metals and minerals – on which the EU is almost totally dependent.

Other beneficial considerations of our re-alignment would include the proper control and management of our very valuable fisheries, and of our (to be nationalised) oil and gas resources through a fair partnership with other non-aligned nations who have the technical expertise and equipment available. The opening up of global markets for value-added agricultural produce in a world which is experiencing food shortages is another enormous potential benefit.

Despite the damage done to Ireland which has come to a climax with the EU-IMF intervention in Black November 2010, there is little doubt that we are capable of successfully taking a different fork in the road that is the nation’s journey. There is much to gain from this new approach – not just in terms of independence and sovereignty and pride, or in terms of our economy and society, but more crucially there is a moral component to it in terms of our attitude to war and injustice and exploitation – all hallmarks of European and US policy towards the rest of the non-NATO world.

We are not Europeans as we have allowed  ourselves to be misled into thinking. As Bob Quinn suggests, we are the Atlantean Irish, with our gaze directed not just at Europe, but at the world at large. We have the twenty-twenty vision of a people at the periphery, once we remove the EU blindfold. Why would we limit the scope of our ambitions by aligning ourselves with imperialists with so much blood on their hands, and an ambition to expand their activities, when we can take our place among the non-aligned nations of the world as equals – nations who, unlike Europe and the US, and even ourselves, hold the Irish in some considerable regard.

It is time to open a real debate on our future, to stop limiting ourselves by surrendering to the demands of a union of unequal states, but instead to open our minds to the possibility that we can change ourselves and the world for the better. Time, as James Connolly wished, to build a sovereign republic that will act as a beacon of hope to the oppressed people of the world. We are most certainly capable of doing that.

Republic Day

Re-proclaiming our Republic on April 24th

We are free citizens of an independent state conceived by both the Revolution of 1916 and the issuing of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The anniversary of these events, April 24th, has always been ignored by the Irish State which has abjectly failed to complete the task of building the progressive, modern republic that was promised in the Proclamation.

The evidence of this failure lies all around us – one of the most unequal societies in Europe, a shambles of a health system, an education system handed over to the control of religious organisations, the systematic cover up by church and state of rampant child abuse, business and political corruption and collusion resulting in massive costs to ordinary citizens, the handing over of national assets to private multi-national corporations, divisions deliberately fostered between public and private workers, urban and rural people, between social classes – and the list goes on, and on.

The French have Bastille Day, the British have Armistice Day, the US has Independence Day. India, inspired in its quest for independence by our 1916 revolution and War of Independence, celebrates its Republic Day as the most important date in its calendar.  The Irish State has consistently avoided designating the anniversary of the 1916 Revolution and the issuing of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic as a day of remembrance, understanding and celebration of that momentous event, and of the selfless heroism and integrity of the women and men involved in that strike for freedom.

We cannot rely on the State. It is for citizens to reclaim the Republic and to reinvest it with the spirit of paragraph four of the Proclamation.

“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 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.”

(Proclamation of the Irish Republic, April 24th 1916)

By working to establish Republic Day as our National Day we will bring the progressive, enlightened Irish Republic to life again.

This project has been initiated by ordinary citizens acting in common and independent of any political party or organisation.

Text of The Proclamation of the Irish Republic




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:


  • P. H. PEARSE

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