A Plea to Irish politicians -- let the British go

From Eire Nua essays first published in the 1980's


Ireland, more than most countries, cannot escape its past. Countless thousands of legal and illegal immigrants in the U.S. and elsewhere throughout the world bear testimony to the grim social and economic conditions that still exists in Ireland for many of its youth. Despite the wonders of the so-called Celtic Tiger, total dependence on foreign industries and investment leaves Ireland as vulnerable as ever to the whims of outsiders. Ireland remains far behind all other European countries in developing its infrastructure including roads, water quality sewer and wastewater treatment facilities. It is not the centuries wonder child. 

The Anglo-Norman invasion of eight hundred years ago changed the face and character of Ireland forever. To this day its language, literature and songs bear the marks of centuries of domination and oppression. Ironically, the Anglo-Norman invasion itself came about as the result of a personal conflict between two of Ireland's warrior kings, Dermot MacMurrough of Leinster and Tiernan O'Rourke of Breifne. After years of conflict and numerous battles, MacMurrough was defeated by O'Rourke and forced into exile. In exile, MacMurrough sought and received help from King Henry 11 of England to regain his throne. Finally in 1169, after several earlier incursions, the English returned, this time to stay.

By involving outsiders in Ireland's domestic affairs, MacMurrough in effect committed an act of treason. That act not only heralded the invasion of Ireland and its subsequent domination by the English, but also set a precedent for future would-be traitors to emulate. The use of outside force to settle domestic affairs was firmly established in Ireland as a way of life.

At crucial moments in its history, from the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion to the present time, many of Ireland's political leaders betrayed Ireland's interests for those of their English masters. As was the case with MacMurrough, those betrayals have and continue to be for personal gain or profit. In repayment, those traitors played the role of liegeman to their English masters.

The annals of Irish history are replete with such treasonous acts. As a consequence the people of Ireland suffered through many pogroms including famine, cultural deprivation, religious persecution, dispossession and forced emigration. During these pogroms the people resisted as they continue to do; never once submitting to the tyranny and violence visited upon them by their English masters.

In the early years of the past century the British were forced by widespread-armed resistance to sit down and negotiate their withdrawal from Ireland after almost eight hundred years of occupation. With defeat staring them in the face, the British once again, with the help of their cohorts in Ireland, managed to retain control over six of Ireland's thirty-two counties. The treaty that ceded control of the six counties to the British resulted in two antagonistic sectarian states. That infamous treaty was one the most insidious of all the betrayals perpetrated on the Irish people. It gave the British continuing control over the political and economic life of the Irish people, resulting in hardship, forced immigration conflict and economic dependence. The second betrayal was the so-called “Good Friday Agreement, and the Adams / McGuinness shenanigans leading up to its implementation.

During the most recent phase of Ireland’s struggle for freedom much of the world changes before our eyes. We saw mighty empires crumble, captive nations break free and apartheid give way to equality and reason. Despite a bloody 35 years struggle, Ireland, one of the longest captive nations on earth, remains chained to its oppressor.

This outcome could not have prevailed without the help of greedy and traitorous politicians throughout both sectarian Irish statelets. It is time for this situation to change -- for Ireland to be set free, to establish its nationhood.

Contrary, to those politicians in Ireland who preach otherwise, this can be done. It is neither a dream nor an unrealistic expectation, as Ireland today possesses the people with the will and ingenuity to make it happen. The Eire Nua program, which is based on a federation of the four historical provinces of Ireland, offers a plan to achieve this national right.

At this time in history, when old wrongs are being righted elsewhere in the world, it is time for the British government to let go of Ireland and time for the Ireland’s politicians to let them go.  

Contributor - Tomás Ó Coisdealba

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