Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams had told the McGill Summer School in Donegal that in Ireland, “Almost 100 years ago partition created two conservative states ruled in their narrow self-interests by two conservative elites."
He stated that in Northern Ireland, “The northern state was a one party state which reinforced the institutionalised use of discrimination, sectarianism and segregation.”
But he also stated that “Partition also affects this part of the island.
“This state is the product of the counter-revolution that followed the Rising and of a dreadful civil war which tore out the heart at that time of what remained of the generosity of our national spirit.
“As the idealism of the aborted revolution waned a native conservative elite replaced the old English elite with little real change in the organisation of Irish society and no real movement towards a rights based dispensation."
Adams said compassionate and caring religion was one of the casualties.
“Religion was hijacked by mean men who used the gospel not to empower but to control, and narrow moral codes were enforced to subvert the instinctive generosity of our people.
“Women were discriminated against; gay and lesbian citizens were denied equality under the law and all the while scandals like the abuse in the industrial schools, the Magdalene laundries, Bethany Home and the barbaric practice of symphysiotomy were tolerated and encouraged.
“Those who suffered were mostly poor.
"The arts were censored. Our language undermined. Our culture corroded. Millions fled to England, the USA and Australia.
"A lesser people would not have survived.”
He stated that the institutions of government remained very partitionist.
“Moreover the institutions of this state, whether media, academia as well as the political elites are very partitionist.
“They have their backs to the border.
"While they are generally benign, policy makers knew little about the north and cared even less.
"Their concern is to protect the interests of the establishment as they understand it.”
“This will only be changed when a genuine national spirit is recreated to replace the nonsense popular in some circles that this state is the nation and that Ireland stops at Dundalk or Lifford."
He said the Good Friday Agreement was a foundation document for a new Ireland.
“We are living in a post Good Friday Agreement Ireland.
"This is most obvious in the north.
"But nowhere are the equality safeguards or parity of esteem measures of the Good Friday Agreement reflected in this state, in its governance or the protections for citizens.
"The Good Friday Agreement also envisaged that there would be a Bill of Rights for the north and a Charter of Rights for the island of Ireland.
"There is no Bill of Rights or Charter of Rights and no Civic Forum.
"The Good Friday Agreement also removed the Government of Ireland Act, under which the British government claimed sovereignty over the North, and provided for a poll on Irish unity.
"Such a poll will provide a unique opportunity for a real, inclusive and constructive debate on the future of Ireland.And as sections of unionism, like others, adjust in a more pragmatic and positive way to the merits and advantages of cross border cooperation, particularly on economic issues, we will see more progress,” he said.
The history behind “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”