The Declarations adopted by Dail Éireann in January 1919, to confirm that the ties to the British occupation force had been broken, talked about the right of the Irish people to the ownership of Ireland, of its material assets and resources. And that all rights to private ownership must be subordinated to public rights and welfare. Not much remains of that vision in todays Irish Free State. Not even the words.
The free state of today has become a center for tax evaders from all over the world. It is the prime actor in the largest tax evasions in history, larger than all Caribbean tax havens together. Multinational corporations use Ireland as a front, and the Dublin government sees this type of behaviour as their economic model. They make it look like the growth of companies like Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and others is part of the Free State’s gross domestic product, which of course it is not. The free states debt is among the largest in the world since the economic crash of 2008.
The free state has been sold to multinational capitalism.
This year, nurses and midwives have been on strike on several occasions. Against understaffing and for better wages, to try to recreate a dignified care. The government has stated that they can’t afford to meet the demands. At the same time, the construction of the new children’s hospital in Dublin will be more than twice as expensive as budgeted. 2 billion euro. That equals a square meter price of EUR 8,603. This means large profits for the construction companies.
The government would off course be able to make use of the 14.3 billion euro that Apple was sentenced to pay back in taxes. But instead of emploing nurses, the free state is using millions of their tax money in legal aid to find ways to give the money back to Apple’s shareholders.
January 1919 was not just Mansion House, it was also Soloheadbeg. The first shots fired in the War of Independence. Dan Breen, Sean Treacy and their comrades shot two policemen, conquered their weapons and the dynamite they guarded.
The shots fired would be followed by others. The struggle in Ireland became an inspiration for freedom movements around the British Empire. The names of the IRA leaders became iconic in India, Egypt and Burma amongst other places. Ireland stood as a beacon in the struggle for freedom from colonial oppression. For the right to self-determination of the peoples of the world.
But what does Ireland stand for today? Subbmissive to the regulations of the IMF and foreign banks, a safe haven for economic gangsters, thousands in homelessness, over half a million waiting in line for medical treatment, villains evicting people from their homes as during the years of the Irish famine. A corrupt neo-colonial regime unworthy of referring to Republican history.
Fortunately, as in the case of the eviction in Roscommon, there are still those who have other ideals. The loyalist villains hired by KBC got beat up and chased on the flight.
The ideals which united the Dail Éirean in 1919, the ideals the men and women of Easter week stood for, remain to be established. The end of the British occupation of the six counties.
A united Ireland.
A democratic socialist republic.
The Unfinished Revolution.
/ Ireland Information Group of Sweden