Constituent Assembly Best-Placed To Agree ‘New Republic’

Attached is the text of a letter, published in the Irish News on 9th August, calling for an All-Ireland Dáil, sitting in constituent assembly, to agree the forward basis of any future United Ireland.

The sovereignty and unity of the Irish Republic must be the basis on which a future United Ireland proceeds. While an end to Britain’s claim to sovereignty remains here first step, the All-Ireland Dáil should from there be restored, to sit in constituent assembly.

There, new constitutional arrangements, premised upon Ireland’s right to national freedom, can be negotiated and agreed among and between the Irish people, with the Irish people — through national referendum — deciding ultimately as to whether they should go forward.

The sovereignty and unity of Ireland must likewise be the basis of any negotiating process that sets toward constitutional change. While the form and structure of a ‘New Republic’ are matters for the Irish people to thrash out, this much must be non-negotiable.

Republicans must build support for this line if the ‘agreed new Ireland’ of Varadkar and his ilk, given succour of late by the utterings of Mary Lou McDonald, is somehow to be stopped in its tracks — a concept already more advanced than may be realised.

This revisionist notion, first entertained by Hume’s SDLP, is an aberration from the Republican object and sets out to retain a residual British presence in Ireland ‘post-Irish Unity’ — even after Britain’s own terms for leaving have been met. Needless to say it must be opposed, root and branch.

But rather than retreat into ‘rejectionism’, Republicans must build a grassroots campaign — one that engages ordinary people and popularises, thus, the Republic. It is through such initiative we can best mount a bulwark against this emerging threat.

England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity is an adage of old that today finds new relevance, as the possibility of a hard Brexit rears its head. As Brexit and demographic change in the North speed the prospect of constitutional change, we can ill afford to sit back. Republicanism now must lead, at this time of critical importance.

Sean Bresnahan
Chair, Thomas Ashe Society, Omagh