North Tipperary Ogra FF Campaign for All-Ireland Presidency

Following the successful end of two policy campaigns last year North Tipperary Ogra Fianna Fail have announced plans at their recent monthly meeting to campaign for an ‘All-Ireland Presidency’. As well as being a strong force in the Local and European Elections last year and the overwhelming passing of the Lisbon Referendum and getting a former Chair elected to their National Youth  Committee, the Ogra also successfully campaigned to elect a member of Ogra Fianna Fail in a Seanad Eireann bye-election and end electronic voting with their ‘Save the Talllyman’ campaign.

This year the North Tipperary branch of the youth wing of the Republican party will be campaigning to have a referendum on general election day to amend Article 12.2.2 of the Constitution to extend the franchise in presidential elections to citizens in Northern Ireland. This will allow for an All-Ireland Presidential election campaign in November.

Chairperson Colm Reddan argued “All Irish citizens, North and South, deserve the legal right to elect the President of Ireland. A year after President McAleese went to the Phoenix Park, all the people of Ireland in the first act of All-Ireland self determination since the First Dail Elections in 1918 – those who were Irish citizens and those who chose not to be – voted overwhelmingly for the Belfast Agreement.

“That document recognises “the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and accordingly confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both governments”. Within a decade of that 1998 agreement, 402,658 residents of Northern Ireland had been issued with new Irish passports, according to official figures.

“The McAleese Presidency of ‘building bridges’ has magnificently demonstrated how the office of President can be used as a means of uniting people on this island. We must now build upon both the McAleese legacy and the established principles of the Good Friday Agreement, which include respect for identities North and South, to create a permanent agent for conciliation within our constitution.

“This agent cannot be merely a cooperative bureaucratic enterprise between the two governments on the island. It must be both symbolically meaningful and popularly accessible. The Presidency of Ireland is the obvious institution for the role. It possesses both supreme constitutional significance and a highly personalised character to which all citizens are connected through their vote. Moreover, it would not be merely a cross-border entity but a truly all-Ireland one”.

Thurles Ogra Youth Officer Arthur Griffin further explained “Ogra proposes extending the franchise in Presidential elections from those eligible to vote in Dail elections to all Irish citizens. If taken, this further move would fortify the commitment of constitutional republicans to the principles of mutual respect underpinning our peace agreements and demonstrate their sincerity in an incontrovertible way.

“Such a Presidency would help to end the drift within Northern nationalism, anchoring Northern nationalists to the Southern constitutional order, and to re-enforcing the dominant position of the constitutional tradition within republicanism in the face of persisting paramilitarism. Finally, it would prevent a culture of dissociation and aloofness towards the six counties from and gaining a stranglehold over Southern politics.

“Our policy proposes extending the Presidential franchise to Irish citizens living overseas, recognising the immense social, cultural, and economic value of the diaspora and its role in the life of the nation.”

Secretary Gerard Fogarty added that “the current crisis in Ireland and Northern Ireland demonstrates the requirement to reshape and renew the republic. Not since Brian Boru has there been a leader for all the people of Ireland.

“Fianna Fail must use its precious time in government to pursue the first aim of the party in such a way that strengthens its own claim to republican leadership, weakens militarists, and secures the achievements of the last two decades while also providing a permanent and tangible means of transcending partition. If the torch is not kept proudly and visibly ablaze by our party, it may well be taken from us in the dark.”

Members attended the Annual Dan Breen Commemoration at Donohill on Sunday last. Secretary of North Tipperary Ogra Gerard Fogarty was recently elected Chairperson of the Con Colbert Cumann at the University of Limerick. Members are also reminded that the North Tipperary Selection Convention will now be held on the 14th of January at Young’s in the Ragg.

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