The issue of re-uniting Ireland is one that has had a constant presence since Partition was enacted in 1922. The one country where this issue has been most prevalent outside of Ireland is in the United States.
Ireland and the U.S have a unique connection; there are currently 42 million Americans who claim Irish heritage and millions more recent immigrants into the country. As a result the Irish American community has an interest into Irish affairs and many have their own Irish ideology and interest in politics and public affairs.
The U.S.A has played a vital role in the recent history of Ireland being a leading player in the negotiation of the Peace Process in the north and supporting and ensuring that it is upheld ever since and also its continued investment in peace and development on the island.
The strive for a United Ireland by nationalists and republicans on the island of Ireland has also been supported over decades by many in the U.S and many motions have been passed in Congress supporting a United Ireland including one by the California Democratic Party passed in 2009.
It is vital therefore that this issue remains prevalent in the US in order to ensure that these views of the Irish American people are represented by their public representatives and that the discussion remains open.
So what exactly are the reasons a re-united Ireland should come about? It is essential first and foremost that the wider American people are educated on these reasons so that they can understand why this may be an issue relevant to many people in their vast country. The first point I feel that is essential to make with regards a re-united Ireland is the fact that the majority of mainstream republicans do not strive for a mere joining up with the current status quo in the south a common misconception, they strive for a new Ireland with new structures and institutions based on the equality and input of all its citizens.
The administrations in both regions on the island have consistently failed over decades to provide stable and effective governance for its people, the need for change is staggeringly apparent and the current financial crisis has only served to highlight the growing need for new structures to be put in place to ensure that Irish people benefit from sound and stable legislative policies.
What better way to rectify this than to start with a clean slate in which all the residents of the island have a say in its structure rather than attempting to mend broken institutions and failed policies?
The status quo is unacceptable. In the north we currently have an undemocratic governing body whose powers are still restricted as a result of British government policy. There is no way to address this lack of democracy as there simply is no other option within the current state of affairs. In a new Ireland democracy will be restored and an effective political system instated.
Direct rule from Britain for the north is no alternative; Britain has demonstrated for centuries that it is unable to govern the needs of Irish society. From famine relief to the sub standard infrastructure that current politicians are attempting to rectify it is clear that the British administration cannot comprehend the needs of the small rural society. A return to this would be catastrophic for the growth of the region.
Another formidable argument against partition is that fact that it was forced on the Irish people without their views being taken into account forcing a bloody civil war as a result. This was an undemocratic, foolish and oppressive decision on the part of negotiators and one that many Irish people have refused to accept as legitimate on this basis. It’s time everyone had their voices heard and the issue left in the hands of the Irish people themselves.
Unionists sought the maintenance of British rule with the threat of war in order to protect their own interests- their privileged status in society. They felt that this privilege was sure to disappear in a united Ireland and they resisted equality at all costs. The rights of the Irish nation to self determination has been held hostage since 1922 by a power hungry minority aimed at maintaining their own selfish privileges rather than legitimately becoming a minority in a society based on equality and rights.
This privilege has been facilitated and encouraged by countless British administrations a ruthless colonial force who ravaged the nation and its people for centuries and who ensure Protestantism is a basis for undue privilege. In the 21st century should this be accepted?
The state of Northern Ireland under British rule was the only way that Protestant unionists could guarantee the superior position that they had been granted since plantation. However prior to this realization Unionists had begun the pursuit of an Independent state of Northern Ireland. This leads to the question how strong are the links with Britain? Or are they merely an act of self preservation to ensure the position of one sector of society? What are these so called links to Britain? The British culture that many in the north claim to belong to is nonexistent, these people in fact have their own distinctive culture often a variation of the wider Irish culture. British people have no marching tradition, do not celebrate the 12th July, do not partake in Ulster Scots dancing or any of the other cultural traits some people associate with. Therefore the imagined threat to this culture outside a British jurisdiction is irrelevant and it could assimilate without difficulty into a new political landscape.