After the British withdrew their military forces
from the twenty-six southern counties of Ireland in 1922, their
anointed Irish overseers carried on as if they had never left.
Although the British drafted Anglo-Irish Treaty
of 1921 secured a partial British military withdrawal it also
copper-fastened the partition of Ireland. The signing of that
treaty caused a split in the Republican movement pitting those
who accepted the treaty against those who opposed. The ensuing
Civil War was fought, for all intent and purposes,
to preserve the treaty and its attendant British legacy. The
success of the pro-treaty forces was due mainly to the
recruitment of demobilized World War I Irish soldiers who served
in the British army, armament left to them by the departing
British forces as well as aircraft, machine guns,
armored cars, small arms and ammunition shipped from England.
In order to preserve the infamous treaty and
reassure the British that their legacy was in good hands
pro-treaty forces proceeded to summarily execute (81) of their
former comrades who continued to fight to preserve the 32-county
Irish Republic declared by the first Dail Eireann in 1919.
The British legacy was preserved within the
structures of the newly formed 26 county Irish Free State.
Very little changed in the ensuing years. The
leaders of the 26-county Irish Free State adopted the British
legal, judicial and political systems. Laws enacted by the
British to deal with republicans who continued to struggle for a
32-county Irish Republic were emulated by the Irish Free state.
They even borrowed Albert Pierpont, the English hangman, to
carry out twenty-four executions from 1924 to 1944. Amongst
those executed were six Irish republican prisoners. Prison
guards shot a seventh republican.
Since the inception of the Irish Free State in
1922, successive governments, irrespective of party affiliation,
have shown little or no initiative or vision in dealing with
economic, environmental, social or cultural issues that besets
the state. The Irish language, so important to the national
identity and self-worth continues to struggle for survival.
After the Soviets were forced to leave the Baltic Republics in
1991, the governments who took over made it a national priority
to revive their native languages that the Soviets tried so hard
to destroy. Not so in Ireland. Considering that very few Irish
politicians speak Irish itís no surprise that it has been
largely ignored. There is more of an effort here in the U.S. to
keep the Irish language alive than there is in Ireland.
No Free State government has ever engaged or
approached the British to discuss Irish reunification. To the
contrary, any action they have taken was to support the
continued British occupation of the six Irish northeastern
counties. Such was the case with the British authored
Sunningdale, Hillsborough and Good Friday agreements. Two of
these agreements failed and the third Ďthe Good Friday
Agreementí is on life support. Not once in the ninety odds years
since partition has any Irish government approached the Irish
Diaspora in the United States for help in bringing pressure to
bear on the U.S. government to support Irish reunification.
The Celtic Tiger, the pseudonym for economic
development that started in the seventies was, and continues to
be, fueled by multinational corporations. Infrastructure and the
environment, two areas of undisputed government responsibility
are woefully lacking; ranking last amongst European states
including those in Eastern European. Without pressure from the
European Union its doubtful if waste treatment, pollution
control or clean water regulations would have been introduced or
acted upon in Ireland. The implementation of these regulations
is delayed whenever possible and are, when threatened with the
withholding of funds, carried out reluctantly and
So as not to leave the wrong impression regarding
the Celtic tiger, itís safe to say that the Free State
government had very little to do with its emergence nor will it
have with its sustainability or longevity. The Celtic tiger was
the creation of multinational corporations who took advantage of
free lodgings, tax incentives, low wages and a plentiful and
eager workforce. This situation may be already changing as
anyone who has visited Ireland in recent times can testify to
the rapidly escalating costs of goods and services. This
situation is fueled by greed and corruption that will, if
unchecked, kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. As we all
know, multinationals are entities devoid of allegiance to people
or countries and are always on the lookout for cheaper labor
markets to exploit.
The plight of Irelandís youth changed little
under home rule. Hundred of thousands of its youth were forced
to emigrate just as their forebears had done over the centuries
to escape the English tyrant who occupied their land.
Notwithstanding, the so-called miracle wrought by the Celtic
Tiger, thousands of Irelandís
youth still leave Ireland in search of a better life elsewhere.
Many of the unfortunate amongst those exiles languish
unforgotten and destitute in doorways in London, Melbourne,
Boston and elsewhere throughout the world.
For good measure the 26-county government will not even
allow Ireland's exiles to vote in elections in their
homeland. Their vote might upset the gravy train.
The Irish who leave Ireland are replaced by
migrants from Eastern Europe and elsewhere who work for a
pittance to fuel the Celtic tiger. No government official in
Ireland cares a hoot about the plight of the exiled Irish or
their exploited migrant replacements. The governing elite in
Ireland are coy, callous and arrogant and could care less about
anything other than the good life. They do not seem to be
bothered by trivialities such as crime, poverty, decent medical
services and above all Irish reunification. On the other hand
when offered a brown envelope and they become eager beavers.
For those of us who study Irish history find it
offensive that most accounts are biased towards the revisionist
English version. It seems that the Free State politicians and
academicians are content to let the British, their agents or
sympathizers record Irish history. Considering that the Irish
people engaged England is an epic freedom struggle for the past
millennium an Irish version of that struggle should be a
national imperative It certainly would be so in most other
Itís difficult to find an account that does not
condemn leaders who participated as misguided, troublemakers, or
terrorists in todayís parlance. Yet, when the Free State ruling
elite senses a groundswell of popular nostalgia for the heroes
of Irelandís past they will not hesitate to pull out all the
stops to capitalize on that sentiment as was evident this past
Easter when they put on a military display to honor the patriots
of the 1916 Easter Rising. The parade also served to show the
Provos i.e., the most recent batch of British enforcers laying
claim to the republican mantle, who is in charge.
Other than Republican Sinn Fein none of the other political parties have any
legitimate claim to the 1916 legacy.
The mainline political parties who have accepted the partition
of Ireland and the continued British presence in the occupied
counties as a fait acompli cannot lay any credible claim to that
legacy. The Provos, who supports Britainís claim to the
occupied counties are hardly in and position to claim the 1916
legacy or the republican mantle. To the contrary, they are the
logical inheritors of the British legacy. Any political party
who begs the British to let them participate in administering
British rule in any part of Ireland is not republican by any
stretch of the imagination.
The Irish Republic envisioned in the 1916
Proclamation bears no resemblance to the two Irish statelets of
today. The Proclamation of 1916 was the soul of the Irish nation
that was to be, not what emerged from the traitorous
capitulation of Irelands rightful struggle for freedom and
independence. No past, present of future British authored
agreement will replace the 1916 Proclamation as the mantra for a
32-county sovereign Irish Republic no matter how much todayís or
tomorrows self-serving opportunists try to dilute or disparage
Pearse, Connolly and others executed leaders of
1916 died for a 32-county Irish Republic Ė nothing less. That
is the essence of the 1916 legacy. True republicans understand
that and have not wavered, nor will they, in their allegiance
and commitment to defend the the 32-county Irish Republic
declared by the first Dail Eireann in 1919.