As we approach 25 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) it is worth reflecting and challenging some of the false narratives that have been peddled.
In the years leading up to 1998 it became evident the leadership of the Provisional IRA and the leadership of Provisional Sinn Féin were engaged in conversation with the British government. The outcome led to negotiations that led to the GFA. The GFA had two processes, a peace process and a political process.
This sleight of hand allowed the protagonists to accuse anyone opposed to the agreement as being anti-peace. Of course nothing could be further from the truth.
The political process did not alter the British violation of Irish national sovereignty and that perpetuity of British interference in Irish affairs continues. The republican negotiators achieved nothing relating to ending British rule in Ireland other than the possibility of a border poll, which may never happen because it is in the hands of the British when to trigger such a poll. It is also under British control what the question or questions would be in such a poll.
Such sectarian head counts solve nothing and we witness in recent times prevaricating on the merits of such a poll emanating from London and Dublin.
What is being deliberately ignored is that Irish freedom and Irish sovereignty is a right not to be bartered away.
That right was ignored in the negotiations and the British price for entering such negotiations was that the British illegal sovereign claim here would not be on the table for negotiation. Partition has failed. A quarter of a century of that failure is under the GFA.
Progressive republicans have a duty to assert the republican narrative for a new generation rather than allowing our opponents to paint us into something we are not and allow a false narrative to be written.
Our opponents and state-sponsored media commentators are content to falsely define republicans as militant combatants whilst deliberately ignoring the legitimate politics of our position. Brexit has again brought the issue of sovereignty to the fore and has exposed the hypocrisy of the home rule parties in Stormont. The competing voices now on the issue of sovereignty are unionist and republican. The other parties, ie Sinn Féin and the SDLP, who claim to represent the republican and nationalist position, are content to continue with the violation of Irish sovereignty.
Sadly they are content to play political games while administering British rule as they preside over the continued failure of partition and the failure of British rule in Ireland.
– Letter published in the Irish News (6 April, 2023) by Francis Mackey, Chairman of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement