Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is very disappointed in you. He and Charlie Flanagan wanted to commemorate the RIC, the old protectors of the British Empire. They wanted to honour those people, many of whom, according to Flanagan, “served with distinction” in the force.
You were all immature, kicking up a fuss about the violence and the repression and the murders committed by the RIC from their inception in 1822 right through to the War of Independence.
You were so childish about the whole thing that you wrecked Leo’s commemoration. Now we’re “a little bit further away” from a United Ireland, he says.
We have to ask: What kind of a United Ireland would that be, Leo?
What kind of an Ireland would venerate a violent outpost of British imperialism? What kind of an Ireland would celebrate the police force that forced through evictions, that baton-charged striking workers, that burnt down entire towns? What kind of an Ireland would look fondly on those that defended the interests of the obscenely wealthy while ordinary people lived in tenement slums?
Fine Gael’s Ireland, it would seem. The tax haven Ireland of vulture funds, exorbitant rents and modern day evictions. The Ireland that leaves people to die on trolleys in our hospitals. The Ireland that has ordinary workers living paycheck to paycheck while the wealth of billionaires soars.
The reality is that behind Leo Varadkar’s condescension is a deep desire to revise the radical history of the Irish Revolution. If people look too deeply at the ideals of people like James Connolly who fought for real freedom and equality, they might start thinking about bringing these ideals into practice in the present day.
He therefore dangles the idea of a United Ireland in front of us like a teacher threatening to cancel the school trip. Do this Fine Gael’s way or forget about it!
But while Varadkar wants to talk about a “shared history” with British imperialism, the reality is that no Unionist worker in the North would ever want to be part of Fine Gael’s Ireland. Why on earth would they?
We want a different kind of United Ireland, one that looks after everyone who lives here. That’s why we have been out on the picket lines with striking health workers in the North this week and why we joined the nurses in the South last year. It’s why we’re fighting the housing crisis on both sides of the border. It’s why we have fought for abortion rights North and South for decades. It’s why we’re fighting for radical climate action in the midst of an environmental crisis that knows no borders.
If you want to help us in this fight, get involved with People Before Profit.
Find out more at pbp.ie/join