26 March 1998 Edition
Unite to defend Articles 2 & 3
Irish people North and South must unite in the face of the latest onslaught against the sovereignty of Ireland and attacks on the rights of Irish citizens.
These attacks have come in the form of a concerted attempt to prepare the ground for an alteration to Articles Two and Three of the Irish Constitution.
Those most affected by any change to Articles Two and Three - Irish people living in the Six Counties - will not be allowed to express their opinion on the matter in any referendum. Nobody has a right to vote these people out of the Irish nation, particularly when they themselves will not even be consulted on the issue.
Ireland was undemocratically partitioned in 1920 against the will of the overwhelming majority of Irish people and the claims of absolute British sovereignty over the Six Counties remain. We are told that Unionists should not be forced into a united Ireland, yet Northern nationalists are forced into a United British Kingdom.
Recent election results in the Six Counties have underlined the shaky foundations for the alleged legitimacy of that state. Despite the increasing nationalist vote and the fact that whole swathes of the Six Counties return an absolute nationalist majority, constituents in these areas are not asked for their consent to live under British rule.
The issues at stake in the debate around Articles Two and Three are fundamental. The time has come for nationalists to unite in defence of their identity and their rights as Irish people. Nationalist political leaders of all shades must unite around this issue and be clear in stating that they will not take for granted the rights and interests of Northern nationalists. Articles Two and Three cannot be bartering counters for long overdue reforms on the ground in the North.
But none of this can or should be left up to the politicians. People must mobilise in the defence of Irish nationhood and sovereignty. We cannot allow the issue to be confined to backroom dealing by civil servants. People must take to the the streets on this issue. Our voices must raised to a level where they will be heard clearly in Leinster House and elsewhere. Let nationalist opinion be heard now so that those who purport to speak for it cannot mistake the message - Irish nationality is not for sale.
INC petition launched
The Irish National Congress has launched a petition to defend Articles Two and Three against any dilution or alterations to be proposed by the 26 county government. The wording of the petition is as follows:
The Irish National Congress is concerned that the very people that will be most affected by any possible change to Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution, namely northern nationalists, will be unable to express their opinion on the matter in any referendum in the south. This is because partition continues to frustrate their full participation in Irish democracy.
In an attempt to redress this democratic deficit, the INC has launched this petition to give a voice to those who will have no other opportunity to influence a process that will have profound implications for their future.
We, the undersigned, recognise that Articles 2 and 3 are of fundamental importance in defining the Irish nation and in safeguarding the right of all Irish people to be part of that historic nation.
We call on the Irish government to ensure that, any constitutional changes proposed, in the context of an overall settlement, will not represent, in any form whatsoever, any dilution of Irish Sovereignty, as expressed in Articles 2 and 3.
For information call: Dublin 821-0493/820-2019/452-6050