Brothers, we have all heard the quote that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Sadly, we are seeing some very disturbing signs as regards the peaceful reunification of Ireland that should have us all concerned.
We have already seen the British government go on a selective fishing investigation as regards the Boston College tapes, where the British government, sadly with the complicity of our own government, as regards alleged Republican misdeeds. Meanwhile the families of the Balleymurphy massacres, Loughinisland and Pat Finucane are still awaiting justice, with many British politicians quickly trying to bury it as the past. The hypocrisy and injustice is incomprehensible and is reminiscent of the events when a British government turned a “blind eye” to loyalists landing weapons to oppose constitutionally passed Home Rule, while actively trying to seize weapons at Howth, an effort that resulted in the Bachelor Walk Massare where four people were killed and thirty seven injured.
The recent British Elections have resulted in a major victory for the Tories. What is most concerning is the way this victory was achieved; it was achieved by David Cameron playing the “Scots Card” the same way Randolph Churchill once played the “Orange Card”. Mr. Cameron comments of “to reclaim a mantle that we should never have lost – the mantle of One Nation, one United Kingdom” hardly sounds as a sentiment conducive to implementing the long stalled Good Friday Agreement.
The lessons of history regarding England and Ireland is that England has only acted when forced to; and more specifically when America has been watching. We have been blessed with relative relative peace if not progress as a result of the Good Friday Agreement, but with the United States and the world taking its eyes off of Northern Ireland we are seeing a slippage into the policies of the past that an only result in the troubles of the past.
As we enter into the centenary of 1916, it is a perfect time to recall the noble sentiments of Clarke, Pearse and Connolly; of an Irish Repulic “cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.” Just as 1916 would not be possible without “Ireland’s exiled children in America”, we must today through public resolutions calling for a reunification of Ireland must remind England of its commitments under he Good Friday agreement. In planning your 1916 remembrance make a public resolution from your state or local municipality part of your commemorations.