Events so far in 2024 have served to highlight the growing absurdity of partition in modern Ireland, yet at the same time it can be argued that partition has been ‘copper fastened’ making the goal of a United Ireland as unreachable as ever before. 

At the start of the year Labour Unions in the 6 counties organized the biggest industrial strike action ever seen in the history of the ‘statelet’ as public workers took to the streets to demand pay parity with their professions in mainland UK. This by itself is a non-sensical act when considering the fact that mainland UK is not a part of the island of Ireland, which is precisely why no pay parity exists. It is also telling that media coverage failed to correlate the scale of the strike with the failure of partition in terms of the weakened socio-economic status of the Protestant Unionist and Loyalist (PUL) community compared to their so-called British counterparts. This by itself demonstrates that although the PUL community purport to be apart of Britain and therefore to be British, in reality they are anything but because if there is no pay parity then there can be no parity in citizenship with mainland Britain. In this regard the PUL community have been failed by HM government and will continue to be failed by them. This fact is important as the main stumbling block to the attainment of a United Ireland is in convincing the PUL community that they would be better off casting their lot in with the concept of a New Ireland which can deliver for all. Indeed, figures based on 2022 administrative data show that public sector workers in the Republic of Ireland are paid an average of 10 percent more than those in the occupied 6 counties.


When considering all of the above, the goal of Irish Nationalist and Republican politicians should not be to communicate solely with their own constituents, but also to communicate directly to the PUL community, to convince them that not only are they being failed by the British government but also by their own political representatives in main stream Unionism. Most importantly it must be guaranteed that in a New Ireland that is inclusive to all the cultural identity and heritage of the PUL community will be protected and celebrated under legislation. Indeed, to win hearts and minds a United Ireland must be sold to the PUL community as a means to an end. In addition, Irish Nationalist and Republican parties must now strive to introduce a working plan to bring about an all-Ireland public health service similar to that of the NHS, this would certainly help to streamline the transition from partition to Irish Unity while garnering additional support and momentum in the process. 

The ongoing ramifications of Brexit and the Irish Sea border protests have also served to highlight the nonsense of partition in the modern day. The fact of the matter is there has always been an Irish Sea border between the land masses of Ireland and Britain, and aside from the shifting of tectonic plates no amount of bureaucratic gymnastics and pen-pushing exercises will ever change that fact. It is a total nonsense and a costly one at that which British capitalists in HM government are surely growing weary and tired of. Indeed, by refusing to negotiate or reinstate a working executive in Stormont the DUP had effectively held their own constituents socio-economic interests at ransom until some semblance of a deal could be reached. In this way, while the DUP and others spend their time reworking trade agreements, dismantling the Irish Sea border and protesting the influence of Irish language and culture on street signs, ordinary working people in the PUL community are living in the real world under increasing financial strain and demanding pay parity with their so-called British counterparts. 


These very people will inevitably look elsewhere for leadership and direction, and it won’t be long before they are willing to forsake some of their Britishness to do so. Perhaps they will now vote for Alliance, a party of which a sizeable section are now open to a United Ireland. Or perhaps the more radical PUL dissident will go as far as to quietly support the SDLP or even Sinn Féin. Then of course we have the on-going scandal at the heart of the DUP, and whatever the outcome of that, it is safe to say the image of main stream Unionism has been severely damaged. 


So it seems the writing is on the wall and that Irish Unity is not too far off in the distant horizon, or is it? The dilemma for Sinn Féin is that on the one hand they need to be working within Stormont to dominate politics in the North and to garner any support from moderates in the PUL community, yet on the other hand by integrating themselves into a British and Unionist institution they run the risk of being swallowed by it, and in isolating themselves from the more traditional Irish Nationalist and Republican. As O’Donovan Rossa and even John Redmond would attest to, it is seemingly impossible to achieve Irish unity and freedom from within the confines of political institutions that are designed to serve the interests of Britain. In consideration, it would be a grave mistake for Irish Nationalists and Republicans to put all their eggs in the basket of a border poll should one ever be permitted to take place, rather there must always be a plan B and C. One last push and this land could be ours. 

To conclude, the terrible irony is that before the Good Friday Agreement all sides knew who the enemy was and even where they lived, but now after a long drawn out process of normalization and political reformism, nobody can be quite so sure.



~ Gamhain MacCionaoith

mí Bealtaine, 2024

Na Cealla Beaga, Éire

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