Republican hypocrisy on the EU: they opposed all foreign interference in Ireland

The IRA did not want the Republic of Ireland to be among the EU nations. (AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN.)
The IRA did not want the Republic of Ireland to be among the EU nations. (AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN.)

I commend you for your publication of the article “Pro-EU Sinn Fein ‘like pigs of Animal Farm’ says ex-provo” (January 2).

This issue is one of great public importance, especially in this period of British-Irish centenaries and Brexit uncertainty.

Staunch nationalists as opposed to internationalists: Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (right) and Martin McGuinness carrying the coffin of former senior IRA commander Brian Keenan in west Belfast in 2008. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Staunch nationalists as opposed to internationalists: Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams (right) and Martin McGuinness carrying the coffin of former senior IRA commander Brian Keenan in west Belfast in 2008. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire

The author of the article Adam Kula is absolutely correct. The Green Book, the sacred and unalterable text of the IRA, is categorically clear on Europe - the Irish Republic proclaimed during Easter Week 1916 is incompatible with the European Union.

Yet the Republic of Easter Week is exactly what the pro-Europe republican movement of today continues to cherish and pursue.

Furthermore, the writings of Connolly and Pearse (the Christ and Moses-like figures of the republican movement) are also categorical on Europe. The Easter Rising was fought in opposition not only to London government in Ireland, but in opposition to all foreign interference in Ireland.

Yet for Sinn Fein: London equals bad; Brussels equals good.

It is crucial in this decade of centenaries that this hypocrisy is stated and restated. Patrick Pearse wrote in 1913 that “I believe that the root of the matter lies in foreign domination.” James Connolly wrote “that an Ireland free should be the sole mistress of her own destiny, supreme owner of all material things within and upon her soil.”

To find opinions that remain consistent with the Republic of Easter Week 1916 you would need to read Ruairí Ó Brádaigh who said ahead of the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (October 2009) that a yes vote would make Ireland “a mere province in an imperialistic superpower, a United States of Europe.”

Likewise, Republican Sinn Fein in its 2016 new year message called the European project a “new imperialism”.

These opinions are read today as fringe and whacky. Yet these are exactly the opinions that Sinn Fein apply to Britain. To this day Sinn Fein remains fixated on the British imperialism of the past. Britain is the ‘Great Satan’ and for some, Protestants are characterised as bigots with the blood of their planter forebears on their hands. Ireland is as foreign to Britain as it is to Borneo. We hear that only when Ireland severs itself absolutely from Britain can Ireland be content. There is something pathological to all this, and like the views of Ó Brádaigh, they should be fringe and whacky.

When it comes to the republican movement, they reserve for Britain only endless antipathy, yet for Europe there is only mewling affection.

This stands as a glaring hypocrisy and it must be pursued if the poisonous and pathological anglophobia that continues to exist in Ireland, and Northern Ireland especially, is to be tackled.

Brian John Spencer, Belfast