Freedom For All Ireland

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We Need Your Help in The U.S. Campaign for A United Ireland

I.      Background

In June of 2009, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams sponsored two, well attended conferences in New York City and San Francisco both titled “A United Ireland – How Do We Get There?” to establish a US strategy.  Scores of ideas were spawned, but the most viable revolved around the sort of campaign we had the most experience and the most success with – The MacBride Principles campaign.  It was seen as an ideal prototype for the kind of effort we needed.

Something aggressive we can do today – as individuals, INA units or coalitions of groups — is pass city, county, state or federal resolutions in favor of a United Ireland.  Often politicians look for something positive to do during election cycles or around St Patrick’s Day.  Unions, colleges, local and national organizations, and religious groups are also ideal to focus on.

The first real prototype for such an approach was the resolution passed by the Cleveland City Council in 2006, accomplished primarily through the long term work of Cleveland INA, but it was very much a group effort among like-minded organizations and individuals. [Please find Cleveland City Council -- Resolution No. 2016-06 in sect IV below, which can be adapted according to the nature of the politics of the sponsoring political body.]  Coming out of the San Francisco conference was a strong and more compact United Ireland Resolution by the California Democratic Party [see sect IV].  Moreover, it called for work throughout the county “to support all peaceful actions that support the final reunification of the island of Ireland by all electoral and diplomatic means necessary.”

While these events received little media attention in the US, they galvanized the Irish press and political reaction in Ireland was strong.  Perhaps the most important intermediate goal for the way forward to a United Ireland  is exactly that — begin the debate.  It needs to be on the agenda before it can happen.

Since June, there has been a steady exploration of grassroots support for further resolutions, primarily in the Western States.  Initial work is being done in the East.  The Midwest is planning at least two significant conferences in the coming months – in Chicago and Cleveland.  But, we are still in the early stages of the campaign.

 

  1. II.   Strategy

Our experience with MacBride has been:  the looser the plan the better.  Every geographic area is different.  Opportunities pop up unexpectedly.  The old ways can work, but often innovation is the way forward.  Leadership is important, but is often a hindrance to progress.  Therefore, we need to move forward opportunistically – if it works, it’s good; if not, try a different way.   Some general principles:

 

  • Leadership:  Each area needs to outreach to all parts of their community.  We need to be inclusive, without seeking control or the limelight.  Unattached individuals have every right to start the ball rolling, as do established organizations.  Leadership needs to develop organically and pragmatically.  Naturally, organizations should step forward.  INA units and members clearly will step forward.
  • Not connected to an INA Unit?:  Work on your own or with family, friends, contacts. We can connect you to other INA members and units in your area, as well as other interested organizations if you want.
  • Resolutions:  Pass the best, strongest resolution possible.  The California Democrats and the Cleveland resolutions are good models, but negotiate the best deal.
  • Targets:  Limitless.  Obviously target legislative units from the largest to the most local, but also organizations like political parties, colleges, churches, clubs, labor unions, editorial boards and charities.  Also target individuals like political, religious, and educational leaders and notable actors, writers and people in the news.   Have a local meeting to brainstorm ideas.  You may be surprised who knows whom or who is connected to what organizations.  Ciaran Scally, of the United Ireland campaign on the west coast, put together a sample letter that can be sent by an individual or group to a target person or group.  Use it as a general guide of you wish, but follow up with a call and set up a meeting [see sect III].
  • Publicity:  Nothing matters unless the word gets out. This campaign is about publicity.  Bill McCarron is doing our national Public Relations on this campaign.  Anything positive or notable that happens, get the info to Bill.  Bill will get the info on our on-line resources: The Irish People and INA’s web site, to US and Irish media, and others working on the United Ireland campaign in the US.  If it is at all newsworthy, you should contact your local press, but for national and international PR and internal coordination, contact Bill McCarron at Pulseox@att.net.
  • Meetings with target groups/individuals:  Need help?  If you want someone from INA to go with you on an exploratory meeting or to close the deal, we can work that out.  There are INA people throughout the country.  No matter where you are, we can get someone there. We can bring in people from other groups as well. Contact Gerry Coleman, Political Education director, at Gerryc1916@aol.com.
  • Material:  INA has put together a printed resource, “The Case for a United Ireland,” in brochure format and as a larger report.  We can mail or email these to you.  Contact Gerry at Gerryc1916@aol.com.
  • Anything Else:  Contact your INA unit leader, regional director, Gerry or Bill for support or contacts you might need.

 

III.    Irish Northern Aid

                                                       Where We Stand:  The Campaign for a United Ireland    

TALKING POINTS:

 

The Irish are a unique people with a unique culture and experience.  Living on a contiguous and distinct land mass, they have never surrendered their right to be free.

I. Historically, the British treatment of the Irish People has been Barbaric:  * Violations of human/civil rights;  * Orchestrated famines and genocides;  * Slavery, forced immigration, and deportation;  * Destruction of Irish culture and language; * Sectarian divisions, foreign plantations, and partisanship; * Collusion to kill, summary execution and mass murder of innocent citizens;  and * Lies, threats, internment, imprisonment, repression and abuse has led to  800 Years of Democracy Denied.

 

II. The Economic Advantages for a United Ireland are incontrovertible:   * A Common currency;

* Governmental and bureaucratic streamlining and integration;  * An end to economic isolation caused by a senseless, international border;  * Eliminating dependence upon British bureaucracy and regulations;  * Working for equality of economic opportunity north, south, east, and west;  and

* Establishing a confident independent economy on the island of Ireland.  There is great potential for an All Ireland Economy and integrated services in:  Tourism, Agriculture, Banking, Health, Roads & Infrastructure, Energy, Education, Manufacturing and Local Initiatives in all Sectors of the economy.

 

III. International Legal Rights are on the side of a United Ireland:  * The last two times the people of Ireland voted in a general election [in 1918 & 1920], they voted overwhelmingly for a United Republic. The British government imposed partition under threat of total war without one Irish vote cast.  * In 1969, the Dublin government’s Minister for External Affairs told the UN Security Council:  “The Six Counties do not constitute a geographically isolated area, but are an integrated part of the island of Ireland and an important part of a country which throughout history has been universally regarded as one unit.”  * The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights states: “All peoples have the right to self-determination.  By virtue of that right they freely determine their economic, social and cultural development.”

For over 80 years, British military emergency laws have been enforced to hold together “the Statelet. “

A Permanent State of Emergency is not a state.

 

IV.  Democratic Rights For All:  political independence and freedom is nothing if it does not include political, economic, social, cultural, and human rights.  Equality and full human/civil rights must be guaranteed for all in a United Ireland. The Principle of Self Determination is the best guarantor of justice and rights for the citizens of the Irish nation.

Contact us for more information on the United Ireland campaign:  Gerryc1916@aol.com

_________________

  1. IV.          Appendix [Contact us to receive any of the below by email]

 

  1. 1.   Cleveland City Council — Resolution No. 2016-06  By Council Members: Sweeney, Cummins, Kelley and White.

 

An emergency resolution calling upon the English and Irish governments to take immediate steps necessary to bring to fullness the promises of the All Ireland institutions called for in the Good Friday Agreement;  requesting the Irish government to formally study the implications of a United Ireland and outline steps fundamental to restore the Irish Nation and publicly report their finding and plans;  and respectfully suggesting that the Irish government move without delay to further the peaceful healing of the Irish nation by granting duly elected northern MP’s “Speaking Rights” in the Irish Parliament and expand the voting rights for the Irish President to the citizens of the six counties of the North of Ireland.

 

Whereas,    Ireland and its People are an ancient and distinct nation; and

Whereas,    Ireland is an island nation that has throughout her history been comprised of 32 counties, artificially divided, under threat of force, into a 26 county (The Irish Republic) and a 6 County (Northern Ireland) unit in the 1920’s; and

Whereas,    This artificial, imposed division of the Irish Nation was designed to be a transitory answer to 1920’s issues; and

Whereas,    History has demonstrated that the Irish People have the right and responsibility to govern themselves;

Whereas,    Human and Civil Rights derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed” and are best guaranteed by the people’s freely instituted, duly elected, and independent government; and

Whereas,    The Irish Republic has the fastest growing economy in the European Economic Union (EEU) and a unified, independent Irish Economy is the most effective way to sustain such dynamic growth and the most fair and impartial path to extend the benefits of such growth to all Ireland; and

Whereas,    A unified, independent Irish Police Service and Justice System is most likely to be effective, fair and impartial; and

Whereas,    A unified, independent Irish Society is most likely to provide for the Social and Practical needs of its People;

Whereas,    The Historic Good Friday Agreement, negotiated with American support, and ratified by the English and Irish Governments, as well as a vote of the entire Island of  Ireland, includes provisions for achieving a United Ireland through purely democratic and peaceful means and provides for the development of North/South Institutions and Cross-Border Cooperation; and

Whereas,    This City and the Untied States of America have greatly benefited from the contributions of the sons and daughters of Ireland and Cleveland City Council wishes to promote the peace and prosperity for All Ireland; and

Whereas,    The democratic reunification of Ireland is the ultimate roadmap to peace and prosperity for the Irish nation and people; and

Whereas,    This resolution constitutes an emergency measure for the immediate preservation of public peace, property, health or safety, now therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLEVELAND:

 

Section 1.  That this Council hereby calls upon the English and Irish governments to take immediate steps necessary to bring to fullness the promises of the All Ireland institutions called for and envisioned by the Good Friday Agreement.

Section 2.  That this Council further requests the Irish Government to formally study the implications of a United Ireland and outline steps fundamental to restore the Irish Nation and publicly report their findings and plans.

Section 3.  That this Council further respectfully suggests that the Irish Government move without delay to further the peaceful healing of the Irish Nation by granting duly elected northern MP’s “Speaking Rights” in the Irish parliament and expand the voting rights for the Irish President to the citizens of the six counties of the North of Ireland.

Section 4.  That the Clerk of Council is hereby directed to transmit certified copies of this Resolution to the Ambassador for the Republic of Ireland and the Ambassador for the United Kingdom at Washington, D.C.

Section 5. That this resolution is declared to be an emergency measure and, provided it receives the affirmative vote of  two-thirds of all the members elected to Council, it shall take effect and be in force immediately upon the adoption and approval by the Mayor; otherwise it shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.

 

2.  The California Democratic Party Resolution

WHEREAS, the logic of history, international law, human rights and peace dictate the reunification of the island of Ireland, and the reality of the moment – in the Good Friday Agreement and the development of the All-Ireland Institutions of governance – attest to this momentum;  and

WHEREAS, in the past the California Democratic Party and the State Legislature adopted the MacBride Principles for Northern Ireland and strongly endorsed passage of the Good Friday Agreement among the previously warring parties, in part because of the dedication of President William Jefferson Clinton, his administration, and Sen. George Mitchell in seeing it to fruition: and

WHEREAS, the contribution of the Irish-born and Irish Americans to this state, nation, and the Democratic Party are legion;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party strongly supports Irish Reunification and urges both eh State Legislature and the California Democratic Congressional delegation to support all peaceful actions that support the final reunification of the island of Ireland [Eire] by all electoral and diplomatic means necessary; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Democratic members of the California Congressional Delegation, the Democratic members of the State Legislature, the President and Vice President of the United States and the U.S. Secretary of State.  [Adopted by the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party at the Executive Board Meeting July 19, 2009.]

3.  Sample Letter to Target Group/Person [make this conform to your own style]

Dear ____;

I [we] am [are] writing to respectfully ask your support, and that of your organization [party, etc.] in adopting a ___ resolution supporting reunification of Ireland.  The Executive Board of the California Democratic Party recently adopted the attached resolution [which you can offer to adapt for Republicans or unions, etc.] supporting reunification of Ireland by peaceful electoral and diplomatic means.  We urge your support and ask that you propose a similar resolution for consideration by your [party, etc.]

The contribution of Irish Americans to [the target group] and to the United States has been substantial.  The campaign for a United Ireland is reaching out to the Irish Diaspora throughout [local area] and the United States to seek support for this effort.

The logic of history, human rights and international law, along with the momentum generated by the Irish peace process and common sense, lead us to believe that the time is long overdue to pursue the reunification of Ireland as an independent and democratic nation.  Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.

Sincerely,

Reasons That United Ireland Resolutions Are Appropriate and Needed

  1. To encourage greater economic rationality. The artificial border that was imposed on Ireland in 1922 is an unnecessary impediment to the free flow of goods and people, even with both sides in the E.U. Its elimination would benefit both parts of Ireland and both communities.
  1. To encourage bypassing the divisive legacy of Ireland’s colonial past. The border

is a manifestation of policies that were meant to divide Irish people and make it difficult or impossible for them to effectively rule themselves?

  1. To encourage Irish people to overcome the social and psychological effects of the

border. The border has sewn division, distrust, and conflict along social, economic, and regional lines as well as the often cited religious ones, the ultimate manifestation of these being the “Troubles.”

  1. Because America can play a positive role in Ireland’s being able to move forward.

American involvement and leadership were critical in bringing the Troubles to an end, through getting negotiations jump-started, and through our good offices in furthering the process. Without it, the Troubles might still be going on.

  1. Because American encouragement to move beyond the legacy of division can be

uniquely effective. America is recognized as a friend by all parties, in part because of historical connections, but also because of America’s role in bringing the Troubles to an end.

  1. Because America’s example is uniquely relevant to the Irish situation. America

offers a shining example of people of different religious backgrounds and traditions living in harmony, as Americans, and it can serve as an example of that for Ireland.

  1. Because Ireland needs to address these issues to move forward. The Troubles are

over but the north of Ireland especially remains a divided and distrustful society, with different groups remaining uneasy with each other and uncertain about their future relations.

  1. Because the United Ireland resolutions can encourage people to see that people of

different religious traditions and traditional loyalties can come under one roof, and have a future together.

  1. Because it matters to America. Ireland is a rather close neighbor in today’s small

world, and tens of millions of Americans have a close attachment to it that takes many forms. A peaceful, democratic Ireland based on the principles that the patriots of both countries have fought and died for is in America’s interest, both for the North Atlantic region and globally. Further division, distrust, and conflict are against everyone’s interest, and should be relegated to the past forever.

Contributed by Joe Farrell, Vice President, IAUC, and member, Division 9 Pa., AOH

Click Here to Download The United Ireland Template

Click Here for the Philly United Ireland Press Release and Resolution