DUP deal – ‘A British declaration of intent to remain’


DUP deal – ‘A British declaration of intent to remain’

The recently published deal between Britain and the DUP, if genuine, has removed any doubt whatsoever that the constitutional nationalist program for Irish unity was outflanked, out manoeuvred, and rendered impotent by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Britain’s questionable assertion in the Downing Street Declaration of 1993 that they had no “selfish strategic or economic” interest in Northern Ireland” laid the groundwork for the GFA. That claim has been smashed to pieces in today’s DUP deal.

They have declared that their position on the Union is no longer neutral, but rather is based on ‘conviction’ and now intend to drive this point home by announcing plans to reset social, political and trading arrangements between the 6 counties and England.

The key republican demand of the twentieth century was a British ‘declaration of intent to withdraw from the 6 counties. Today Britain has announced their intention to remain.

In the wake of this published deal, some will attempt to give comfort to nationalism by citing the potential for a border poll and the presence of a nationalist first minister in the Stormont Assembly.

This deal however reminds the people of Ireland that the actual power to call a border poll lies not in the expressed wishes of the population, but in stated perceptions of a British secretary of state. A state which has today declared its intention to remain in Ireland indefinitely.

The full participation of nationalists within the partitionist institutions was always a key objective of British governments in Ireland, the reliance of republicans on those institutions is a bonus.

An entire generation of nationalists and republicans were betrayed by the Good Friday Agreement and Britain’s most recent declaration has confirmed this fact. It is more important than ever that republicanism, republican socialism and progressive nationalism asserts their right to explore routes towards unity and independence on our own terms and not be confined by the constricts of Britain’s Good Friday Agreement.

The IRSP restate our opposition to its principles and remain constructively critical of those who continue to endorse the GFA and its institutions in Ireland.