On Saturday 13th September the 1916 Societies held an educational day in Dublin attended by PRO and educational reps from various Societies across Ireland.

Plunkett Nugent gave a wide ranging lecture on British constitutional skulduggery, using the denial of the democratic republican mandate in the 1918 General Election as a starting point, following through the decades to the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent amendments that subverted key aspects of what many believed they were voting for. Every political proposal and agreement, from the 1920’s through to this day, have all contained some form of Unionist veto designed to prolong Britain’s colonial interests in Ireland.

The overall context of the discussion was to find ways to apply this constitutional history to any proposed One Ireland-One Vote campaign and what essential lessons need to be taken from the Scottish independence referendum and how to apply them successfully to Ireland.

Many narratives were discussed and debated, ranging from:
  • The Democratic Programme of the First Dail and the fundamental u-turns taken by New Sinn Fein in the last decades of the 20th century
  • The Triple Block (the denial of the 1918 republican mandate, partition and the Boundary Commission)
  • The Darlington Principles (the introduction of the concept of ‘consent’ as applied to the Unionist minority in Ireland)
  • The Sunningdale Agreement
  • The Good Friday Agreement (discussion papers) vs. the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (the actual law)
  • The 490-plus subsequent amendments made to the GFA by the unelected British House of Lords to what was actually agreed in all-party talks
  • The subsequent flexibility of the Free State to amend and put to referendum key aspects of the GFA when required, as in the case of ‘New Article 2’ to suit government immigration policy on the definition of Irishness
  • The intended legislative mechanism for a six-county ‘border poll’
  • The Triple Lock (principle of consent, control of a border poll, parliamentary sovereignty)
  • Lessons for grassroots republicans to take from the Scottish independence campaign and how to apply them to a One Ireland-One Vote campaign

The day finished up with tea and coffee, with those present going away with a real sense of purpose that One Ireland-One Vote can recover some of the ground lost by republicanism over the last 20 years and more. All-in-all it was an informative debate and we hope to broaden the discussion out to include the broader Societies and indeed the wider country itself in the period ahead.