At the invitation of the Hartford Irish Northern Aid (NORAID) the Co-Chairs of The Éire Nua U.S. Committee, Seosamh O’Flahtarta and Peadar Mac Maghnuis, welcomed the invitation to present the Éire Nue (New Ireland) movement to the active members of Irish Northern Aid, Hartford Division. Seosamh and Peadar were graciously introduced by the Irish Northern Aid National Vice-President,  Ritchie Lawlor.  In attendance were Tommy McBride, Hartford INA President and Cathy Hodkin, Chairperson for the annual event. 

After opening remarks on the importance of Irish American support for a free, united, sovereign and Gaelic Ireland by Seosamh O’Flahtarta, Peadar Mac Maghnuis presented the cause and consequences of a partitoned Ireland, suggestion for an alternative to the Good Friday Agreement, and thorough support for Eire Nua and its fundamental principles as an alternative to GFA and a way to re-unite the 32 counties.  His presentation was formatted in PowerPoint slides.  As stated by Des Dalton, the President of Republican Sinn Féin in 2013 “Because of censorship many people are not familiar with  Éire Nua in the United States consequently the campaign to raise awareness in the US is all the more important.  A peaceful and stable Ireland will benefit not just the Irish people but also those who wish to build strong political and economic ties with our nation.”

Questions were entertained at the end of the presentation. One striking request was made by a native of Belfast, “why are Irish-Americans not active in putting an end to partition?” Mac Maghnuis left the audience with one last question to ponder, “I ask you to think about this question: who benefits from keeping the island of Ireland partitioned?”

Informal comments came from the audience who were very happy to hear about a new proposal. Clearly, for many in attendance this was evidence that Éire Nua was not part of the Irish Northern Aid agenda.  However, in the 1972 edition of the Northern Aid Journal Éire Nua was a feature article!  Afterwards, it was censored by its leadership. Éire Nua was originally authored by Ruairí O’Brádaigh, President of Sinn Féin, and Daithi O’Conaill, leading military strategist and political visionary of the 1970’s.

Having said that, the fact that the national vice-president of Irish Northern Aid, Ritchie Lawlor, condoned the presentation of the Eire Nua program message for the Hartford membership, indicates a willingness for a program, once censored in the US, to be heard and discussed openly by a group whose goal is the same but way forward is different. It says much about the open leadership character of the INA Vice-President.  Éire Nua looks to continue discussing a better way forward for a united Ireland with any Irish American group who believes that a new approach to a united Ireland is needed. The US still has a significant part to play in bringing peace, unity and sovereignty to Ireland – the unfinished business for over 800 years.

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