Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Toíbin has blasted todays suggestion by Green Party TD, Patrick Costelloe that the 12th of July should be a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland just as it is up North.
He slammed, “Aontú believes in a pluralist Irish Republic where everyone can be who they are to the full extent without fear or favour from the state. We understand that there are different identities in Ireland and everyone should be able to pursue their identity in peace and respect. Tolerance is a key element of a peaceful society”.
“But many of the people of the north of Ireland will be bemused and shocked at the proposal by Patrick Costello to elevate the 12th of July to a public Holiday in the south. Patrick must be incredibly naïve or have no knowledge of what is happening in the north of Ireland”.
“The 12th of July is a celebration of dominance of Unionism over nationalists. It is the literal celebration of a victory of a Protestant king over a Catholic king and all that flowed from that from the penal laws, to the protestant ascendancy, the north becoming a protestant state for a protestant people as the first prime minister for the north James Craig famously said .
“Its core message is we’re in charge and don’t forget it. It has been time that has always been associated with sectarianism and violence and has been an incredibly dangerous for Catholics. Indeed still today Nationalists and Catholics leave their homes to go on holiday in the south and else where on the 12th of July”.
“Pretending the 12th is not political is just silly. Even this week we saw pictures of the Taoiseach and the Irish flag placed on one of the largest bonfires in the north. All nationalist parties including Aontú regularly have posters burnt on these bonfires”.
“I understand that Patrick Costello is probably making this suggestion in the spirit of reconciliation. But I think he is mistaken. True reconciliation is born out of mutual respect and pluralism. We don’t have to dress up in each other’s political clothes to reconcile. We don’t have to meld together in some king of hybrid identity to get along. True pluralism means we can be who we are fully and still work together and be friends”.
“In a future United Ireland it will be an agreed Ireland, a negotiated Ireland. It may well that these things would be discussed. In a decentralised unified state it would be possible that he 12th of continue to be a public holiday in the north. But in the south of Ireland, there is no demand for this and certainly no logic to it either”.