An article by Sean Bresnahan.
Writing in the Irish News (Letters, April 9th), Paul Laughlin, Doire, argued that a border poll held under the Good Friday Agreement would constitute an exercise in self-determination by the people of Ireland. In this, however, he would be wrong.
The Good Friday Agreement, as it relates to Irish Unity, stands in fact to deny the exercise of self-determination by the people of Ireland, this through awarding power of veto to a gerrymandered constituency within their rank — a minority among their number who live in the occupied North.
The raison d’être of that Agreement is to give primacy to the wishes of a contrived gerrymander over those of the wider Irish people. Indeed this same function is implicitly acknowledged in its recognition that the wish of the Irish people is to live in a United Ireland, before proceeding in turn to impose conditions which prevent this coming to pass.
Where there is self-determination in any of this it is for that section of our people still bound within the northern remnant of colonialism only. But that is not self-determination for Ireland. How so? Because even if the electorate in the South, to a man, were to support in a vote the reunification of Ireland and even were this married to a full-on 49.9 percent vote towards same in the North, Irish Unity would still be held back.
The wishes of the people of Ireland, then, are secondary and circumscribed by the wants of those who live in the North, whose wishes take precedence. This may be many things, depending on your perspective, but it is not and can never be self-determination by and for the people of Ireland.
While a day may be approaching where unionism is eclipsed and reduced to a minority even within its own artificial gerrymander, potentially speeding the numbers required for to unlock Irish Unity in accord with the Agreement, nevertheless, this should never be held up and spoken of as though it would constitute self-determination.
For there to be self-determination for Ireland and her people then all of her people — acting as one unit, with equal weight given each of their number — must be free to determine their future for themselves absent external impediment, among such the continuing claims to sovereignty in Ireland by the British Government.
As an earlier version of Gerry Adams once called it, many years ago, it remains: ‘the Unionist Veto must go; the British Government must go; Partition must go.’ Only then will there be self-determination for our people, as is their national right and entitlement. Speed that day.