The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent


A response to Michael Gillespie's Federal Unionism

Antaine Uas O'Labhradha • 24 April 2007

I read Michael's article with interest initially, but when it came to the advocacy of Christian Ecumenism as the official religion of an united Ireland he lost me. Ireland is not entirely a Christian country any longer, and as such should be a secular state that favours no religious denomination, but allows them all to practise within the law and in the interests of harmony.

In addition, while accepting his thoughts as a genuine attempt to come to a reasoned solution to the constitutional problem, what of the majority of us on the island who hold no loyalty to British monarchs? Are we wrong or somehow defective in our thinking? Surely not. Wouldn't some other arrangement which respects the rights and aspirations of both northern nationalists and northern unionists be more likely to work?

What I would propose is bi-nationalism for the six counties. A referendum should be held where each citizen should be required to designate as Irish or British, with the immigrant community choosing which they prefer, presuming they are entitled to citizenship under legislation. The north would then form an autonomous part of BOTH the Irish republic and the UK, and the head of state for each group would be their chosen one, viz the monarch or the Irish President, both of whom could visit unhindered.

Dual national symbolism on official buildings and in society would be the norm, so that both traditions would be equally respected.

Territorial sovereignty would be taken from London, denied to Dublin and vested in Belfast. The British and Irish governments would only be involved in preventing discrimination or domination, with the north otherwise being self-governing, free from English and Dublin interference, subject to the requirement for co-operation with the east and the south to the benefit of the north's people. London would hold cultural sovereignty over those designated British, and Dublin over those designated Irish, each government appointing a minister for the north to liaise with it and foster co-operation. The border would then be a broken line between two Irish jurisdictions, not two nations, which it has never been.

A northern euro should be the currency, which would allow us to trade on a more equal footing with the south, and would hugely increase trade with Britain, to the benefit of the northern economy, which should align more with the southern economy to strengthen both.

The Irish language's special status should be incorporated in law under a Bill of Rights and a northern constitution should guarantee the Britishness and Irishness, as desired, of all it's citizens in perpetuity, along with the language rights of all minority languages.

Both Irish and British exchequers could fund the north until it is more able to support itself from home grown economic activity. Policing and military requirements could be jointly managed and would be civic in nature, rather than partisan as they have been.

This has the benefit of preserving unionist freedom from Dublin rule, while at the same time granting nationalist/republican freedom from British rule.

As Scotland continues it's march toward independence, the constitution of the UK is likely to change out of all current recognition. This would easily facilitate the compromise necessary to grant freedom to BOTH traditions in the north. It has the advantage that no-one loses, everyone's bottom line is guaranteed and upheld, and it would create the space necessary for centuries of division to begin to heal at last. Something to think about, perhaps?






























Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

6 May 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Colluding in Silence
Mick Hall

Censorship Complementing Cover Up
Anthony McIntyre

John Kennedy

Antaine Uas O'Labhradha

Protestantism and the Republic
Roy Johnston

UVF Statement: Unionists Welcome in Nine-County Ulster Parliament
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

Hidden Hand
John Kennedy

Selection at Eleven
Michael Gillespie

Stormont Christian Coalition?
Dr John Coulter

Ken Bruen's 'The Priest': Galway's Heart of Moral Darkness
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Scottish Left Must Reunite in New Socialist Party!
Mick Hall

Return of the Wild Geese
Dr John Coulter

Calling All de Gaulles!
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Blair's Irish Decade
Dr John Coulter

24 April 2007

Tús Nua - Céim chun tosaigh
A new beginning - a step forward

W. Harbinson

Which Way We Are Facing
Mick Hall

Whither Traditional Republicanism?
Michael Gillespie

The Drumcree Conspiracy
John Kennedy

We Must Deal Openly With The Past
David Adams

What Was It All For?
Antaine Uas O'Labhradha

The New Wolfe Tone?
Dr John Coulter

Felon Setting
Martin Galvin

UVF Threats Further Proof of Political Policing
Press Release: 32 County Sovereignty Movement

Widgery II
John Kennedy

Easter Statement
Republican Socialist Youth Movement

Commemoration Report
Cathleen O'Brien

The Road Ahead for the UUP
Dr John Coulter

What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander!
Patrick Hurley

David Ervine
Anthony McIntyre



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices