An article by Sean Bresnahan of the Thomas Ashe 1916 Society, Omagh.

The ‘Good Friday’ border poll, with the ‘agreed new Ireland’ it intends toward, is a forward mechanism to preserve state power in a future United Ireland. At the critical point — should the current ‘settlement’ fail to hold — it is geared toward a constitutional revision that can present as Irish Unity without disturbing the power structure.

Mellows described the Irish Free State, with the wider Partition system of which it was part, as a bulwark between capitalist power and the Irish Republic. What is being mounted here at present is designed to effect that same purpose, with the agreed new Ireland of constitutional nationalism set to further usurp the Republic.

Republicans, then, must approach a border poll with caution, conscious and aware that core to its design is both an acceptance of its right to determine Ireland’s future and a paving of the path towards a revision of current structures, these to be dressed in the garb of a United Ireland. While there is a need for nuance in our forward direction, we ignore these matters at our peril.

Rather than campaign with a border poll as policy, which is set toward a further compromise with Britain — not unity in a full republic — Republicans must build a broader initiative, with the Irish Republic as its masthead. Such an initiative must stand in its own right, independent of the border poll process.

Equally, however, it can still be put forward in the event one were held or indeed passed. They need not form the one endeavour and indeed need not, necessarily, exclude one another. In any event, fail to organise for the Republic and be assured of its continuing usurp — even post-a ‘Yes’ vote border poll in a supposed United Ireland.

With constitutional change now firmly in sight, the stakes could not be higher. Republicans can either respond as they must or watch on from the rear as Britain makes good on her scheming. Will Ireland at last take her place among the nations or be further reconfigured in the interests of British power? A fundamental reckoning lies ahead.