>> 24 Oct 2004

True Intentions

As you know there was a great hullabaloo when Ian Paisley and his band of merry men recently paid a visit to Dublin for tea and buns with Bertie Ahern. Unionists are endlessly informed that the Irish Republic is now a largely neutral assistant in the quest for a stable Northern Ireland. Gone are they fervent republican aspirations of the past, we are told.

Sorry, don't buy it! Read the following excerpt from Ahern's speech to the Wolfe Tone apostles at Bodenstown last weekend. It has all the hallmarks of a government who pays lip-service to the needs and aspirations of Unionists, though has virtually no trace of intent to back up its collective disingenuous blarney. Particularly obnoxious terms are printed in large type.

'As Irish Republicans, our objective is a united Ireland. That is our long-cherished political goal. It remains one of the fundamental objectives of Fianna Fáil.

The unity of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter and the promotion of the common good of the nation has always been at the heart of our Republicanism. The Agreement provides a framework of engagement to achieve these objectives through consent. It is also an international recognition of their legitimacy.

The unity of our country is a constitutional objective of this State. We see a unity that respects the rights of the different traditions on the island of Ireland. It is a unity to be achieved only by agreement, through harmony and in friendship. It is our firm will to unite all of the people on the island of Ireland. '

As far as I am aware, this is the first reference to a 'united Ireland' (effectively the annihilation of Northern Ireland and the destruction of the Union) made by Ahern at the Bodenstown pilgrimage for several years. Is the hot electoral breath of the Brownshirts now bearing down on him, I wonder? One thing is for certain, no Unionist worthy of the name should be going within 100 forty-foot bargepoles' length of a government which harbours such intentions.


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