Dáil for All
Others endorse and encourage SDLP and Unionist MPs to take the oath of loyalty on their behalf, Aontú offers practical steps towards self-determination.
2019 marks the centenary of the establishment of Dáil Éireann. The decision to create an Irish national parliament was a powerful action that put into practice the right of the Irish people to determine our own affairs. It is again time to take bold, assertive and practical steps towards national self-determination.
The Right to Self-Determination
Self-Determination is a civil and human right that should be afforded to all Irish Citizens in Ireland. Brexit has highlighted the cost of allowing Westminster to determine the future of the people of the north of Ireland. Tory MPs know little and care less about the north of Ireland. Yet they determine the future of everyone, north and south.
Aontú will not send elected representatives to Westminster. Other parties who participate in politics there, whether or not they sit in the parliament chamber, are engaged in a futile effort if they think that Irish unity and self-determination will emerge from London. Westminster is inherently incapable of taking seriously the needs and concerns of people in the north of Ireland.
Ireland’s future, north and south, must be determined in Ireland. Westminster’s power remains a millstone around the neck of our country. The Westminster establishment has for too long stunted our evolution, distorted relationships between fellow countrymen and women and harmed our collective development.
The injustice of partition has been intensified by Brexit and the ongoing political dysfunction in Stormont. This is harmful to citizens, community cohesion and is having a detrimental impact on the quality of people’s lives. 300,000 people are in poverty. 36,000 people received food parcels last year. 11,000 people are homeless and yet all the while the establishment parties collect their pay cheques.
At a time when the north radically needs a new beginning, at a time when change was needed more than ever, we see parties signing up to what amounts to a political cartel. Shoring up and consolidating power is the order of the day when they should be seeking breaking the stalemate and strengthening the all-Ireland economy at a time when Brexit is threatening it.
Unfortunately, precious little has been achieved by either Sinn Féin, the SDLP, Fianna Fáil or the Fine Gael government to date. Practical republicanism has the potential to achieve more for the people of the six counties than protesting on the side-lines ever will.
100 years ago, Irish MPs, north and south, refused to attend Westminster and established the First Dáil. This was a practical step towards Irish Self-Determination. They took this step because they knew that decisions made close to the people that they affect are better decisions. Citizens can influence those decisions and hold decision makers to account. They also knew only too well that London would never make decisions in Ireland’s best interest. This has not changed in 100 years.
The formation of the First Dáil was a watershed event in Irish history. The decision to create an Irish national parliament was a powerful action that put into practice the right of the Irish people to determine our own affairs. The Dáil that Countess Markievicz, Cathal Brugha and others established was a national parliament, not a partitionist one. Aontú affirms the right of all the people of Ireland, north and south, to representation in a national parliament.
Practical Steps to All-Ireland Representation
This year Aontú MPs, if elected in the upcoming Westminster General Election, will present themselves to Leinster House in Dublin. We will demand that all Irish citizens throughout Ireland have democratic representation in Dáil Éireann. This would be the first practical step toward the re-establishment of a truly national parliament on the lines of the one foreseen by Markievicz and Brugha, and before them, Tone and Emmet.
With a mandate from people in the north, Aontú elected representatives will insist that the Irish government facilitates our participation in Dáil Éireann, alongside TDs representing other parts of Ireland.
In recent weeks, Westminster undemocratically imposed an extreme abortion regime on the north. That was a tragic development, but one which was shockingly welcomed and celebrated by Sinn Féin, a party which claims to oppose Westminster’s rule. Westminster’s undemocratic actions were facilitated by the SDLP, a party claiming to be both pro-life and in favour of Irish self-determination. Aontú is the only all-Ireland party committed to both Irish self-determination and the human right to life.
Westminster is intent on imposing a decision taken in Britain to leave the EU upon the people of the north, despite a majority here being opposed to such a measure. Westminster’s actions will further embed partition.
To remove the politics of austerity, boom and bust economics, to deliver adequate services related to housing, health, education, agus le forbairt na Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn, people in Ireland, north and south, we must move beyond the crippling politics of colonial rule and make decisions for ourselves. We can only do that by with an all-Ireland approach. All-Ireland representation within Dáil Éireann is crucial to that.
Practical Steps to Unity
Aontú is also calling on the Irish government to invite all shades of political opinion across the whole of Ireland to attend a New Irish Forum to plan and build for the future. The Forum would begin the practical planning to map out the process of economic and service convergence in both parts of the country and to prepare for the final constitutional settlement in the north.
Aontú’s strategy is based on the understanding that positive change in the north and south, such as ending poverty and providing greater educational opportunities, can realistically only come about in Ireland, not in Westminster.