As a political movement which has come into existence within recent decades the Provisional Movements has the right to be and to pursue its political aims but I cannot accept their contention to represent the revolutionary republican tradition. In fact this myth is fed by many in the media also but then the press for political reasons must give the Provisionals as much publicity as they can in order to ensure that there will be no abandonment of constitutional partitionist politics!
And there are no more stronger supporters of this position than the so called nationalist press.
For like the fore runners of Fine Gael before them as well as other so called republican groupings the Provisionals have abandoned the revolutionary position. Part of that position being that to enter any of the partitionist assemblies (constitutional politics) was to contribute towards the illegal assemblies continual existence: a reality strictly opposed to Tone’s immediate objective of ‘breaking the connection with England’.
In their abandonment of the republican tradition we hear or read of ‘the evolution of Irish republicanism today’, fine words; but in reality a throwback to the decision of the founders of Fianna Fail to follow the example of Fine Gael and seek power within a partitionist entity. With the latter it was the southern state but with the Provisionals today it is both partitionist states.
Of course there are those who are sincerely of the opinion that by entering the constitutional politics of both states they will obtain their objective of a free and self -determining Ireland in due course. A paradoxical position in which there exists the contrary possibility that the united Irelanders may well become more unionist than the unionists themselves for power can corrupt and in the words of the old Fenian leader John O’Leary those who abandon the revolutionary path end up becoming more constitutional than the constitutionalists. Here the term constitutionalists can be replaced with the term partitionists.
There exists some proof for this contention within the ideas of a recent lecture by an ex- Prime minister of the southern state, Garret Fitzgerald. Through his partitionist constitutional experience Mr. Fitzgerald has now reached the opinion that to have a united Ireland would be too costly and that we should abandon the objective. Such thinking is the essence of why he helped to formulate the Anglo- Irish Agreement and indeed is the basis for the present partitionist Belfast Agreement if we but study the document objectively and in depth. As for Leinster House as a whole there are many politicians there (silent partitionists) who do not want a United Ireland.
Having engrafted themselves into the constitutional structures imposed upon the people of Ireland, the Provisional abandonment of authentic republican principle and tradition is a mere imitation of failed endeavours and in due course they will uphold partition while paying lip service to the contrary. ‘No!’ ‘Never!’ Wait and see…
As implied I would defend the Provisionals right to pursue the road of their choice but I cannot accept their contention that they are mainstream republicans and therefore the representatives of the centuries long revolutionary struggle. In reality they are merely accepting the role of the old northern Nationalist Party as led by the late Eddie McAteer and the SDLP in the north, and the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parties in the south. In doing so they are providing life blood for the continuation of both states which hundreds of brave men and women suffered and died in the struggle to remove since partition was first imposed at the beginning of the twentieth century and thousands more for national freedom in the period prior to the blight of partition.
No! ‘real politik’ is a carrot feeding those who innocent or otherwise accept that their day has come but unfortunately it is history repeating itself!
Liam Ó Comáin