THE SECOND STEP TOWARDS A PEACEFUL IRELAND

From Eire Nua essays first published in the 1980's with minor revisions

The conquest of Ireland was gradual, taking over 130 years to accomplish. In fact, the Norman invasion of eight hundred plus years ago was not a conquest in the true sense of the word, for it conquered only land. It failed miserably to pacify and conquer the people. After centuries of occupation and institutionalized pogroms including dispossession, famine, religious persecution, forced emigration and internment, England is still trying to pacify the Irish people and hold sway over their lives.

It appears that the liberation of Ireland is destined to be a slow process, as was its conquest. What started almost one hundred years ago with the 1916 Easter Rising is an ongoing process that will in time rid Ireland of the last vestiges of colonialism. Until this process runs its course, Ireland will remain a troubled land, divided, and possessed of a terrible beauty.

The rise of an empire, whether it be Roman, Ottoman or British, brings to its human victims humiliation, pain and death and to its captive nations plunder, division and shame. It thrives on ignorance and fear and survives on the spoils of war. The decline of an empire, however welcome, brings with it a renewed ferocity. Its armies are set loose on the general populace in a desperate effort to survive by intimidation. Such is the situation in Ireland today. The British army is on the rampage, but its days in Ireland are numbered.

That same army serves as the enforcer of British rule in Ireland and is therefore a symbol of domination. This symbol must be removed before the divided people of Ireland can get back together to decide what is best for them. On Nov. 9th Peter Brooke, the British government minister in occupied Ireland stated that Britain has no selfish, strategic, or economic interest in staying in Ireland. If this be so, then let them publicly declare their intent to withdraw politically and militarily from Ireland. In order to effect such a withdrawal, the British government must be willing to negotiate an agreement that incorporates the following provisions:

1)       a commitment to withdraw from Ireland after the Irish people have adopted a new Constitution,

2)       a cessation of hostilities coupled with a return to barracks of all military personnel,

3)       a commitment to remove all its military hardware from Ireland, and

4)       a commitment to refrain from arming pro-British paramilitary   organizations during  the  withdrawal process.  

These conditions of withdrawal are general in nature and represent only the views of the editors of this newsletter. They do not presume to, nor do they represent the views or negotiating strategy of any party or individual who may be involved in future negotiations involving a British withdrawal.

There are many other factors that will come into play, and must be dealt with, once a British declaration of intent to withdraw is secured. For instance, a territorial army will be assembled to replace the security forces of the two existing states. A new criminal justice system will be established to replace the existing politicized system whose stock in trade includes special police units, interrogation centers, military tribunals, non-jury courts, internment camps and political prisons.

In order to create a new criminal justice system, the police forces of the existing two states will be restructured into regional police forces controlled by and accountable to region- al authorities. Similarly, the existing judicial system that now includes military tribunals and non-jury courts will be replaced with an in- dependent judicial system that will operate within the framework and constraints of the new all-Ireland Constitution. Political prisons, interrogation centers and internment camps will be closed down for there will be no political dissenters tortured or imprisoned in the new Ireland.

Contributor - Tomás Ó Coisdealba

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