The State, and loyalty withheld

The constitution of this State (Bunreacht na hÉireann) demands two things of citizens in Article 9.3 thus – ‘Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all citizens’.

The authors of this dreadful constitution have tried to conflate two very different things, making both fundamental conditions (duties) of citizenship. Like many others I have no problem declaring my fidelity to the nation (the people) in all of its (their) diversity. However, my membership of that nation does not rely, and neither do my rights as a native-born citizen, on expressing or having loyalty to ‘the State’.

There is a moral/ethical price for exacting loyalty, otherwise it is induced through coercion or bribery or persuasive propaganda. A State which has lost all moral/ethical compass, as this State demonstrably has over many issues of fundamental human rights over many decades, cannot demand the loyalty of citizens to the State. That loyalty can only be in the gift of the citizen, or can be withheld.

The treatment of women and children in particular since the foundation of the State, the thrashing of their fundamental human rights, well documented, is so egregious as to lead any right-thinking person who is a citizen to withhold any sense of loyalty to the State, as I publicly state that I do.

Now, perhaps the government would refer my disloyalty to the State to the Gardaí – the coercive agents of the State – for investigation and prosecution, the same Gardaí who see nothing to investigate in the case of the Tuam septic-tank disposal of of 796 bodies of children born and prematurely dead in what was effectively State ‘care’, the same Gardaí who have on many occasions covered-up crimes against the fundamental human rights of women and children.

This State has long-since lost any right to exercise any moral/ethical authority over me as a citizen. My tacit complicity in this State’s crimes against humanity is a price for loyalty that I will not pay, regardless of what the constitution demands.

The State that will have my loyalty is one that is constituted as a true republic with its fundamental and binding laws expressed in a constitution fit for a republic, embodying all of the rights and guarantees that those who live within its boundaries, both citizens and non-citizens, are entitled to.

Those rights and guarantees will include the vigorous prosecution of any agent of the State at any level of authority who fails to protect and vindicate the fundamental human rights of the person.

Until that is achieved my fidelity and loyalty belong only to the nation – the people – ‘the native-born Gael and the strangers within our gates’, as James Connolly described the Irish.

About Tom Stokes

Tom Stokes is a writer and journalist, and has taught media and journalism at foundation and under-grad levels. He holds a BA in Communications and Cultural Studies and an MA in Journalism from Dublin City University. He is a grandson of John Stokes, a striking tram driver in the 1913 Lockout and a Volunteer in Boland’s Mill in the 1916 revolution. He is an organiser of the Citizens’ Initiative to establish a new national day in Ireland on April 24th, to be known as Republic Day, and is co-organiser with Marie Mulholland of the campaign to have Ireland's new children's hospital dedicated to the memory of Dr Kathleen Lynn, to be named The Kathleen Lynn National Children's Hospital. View all posts by Tom Stokes

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