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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

For a United Ireland

ALTHOUGH Northern Ireland dropped from the headlines this week, the deepening row with the European Union over the future status of the occupied north continues to simmer as the Johnson government considers the latest compromise offer from Brussels.

In December, the UK and the EU reached an agreement on specific trade arrangements for Northern Ireland, including the implementation of a new Irish Sea border and post-Brexit border checks and trading rules for Northern Ireland. Now Johnson tells us he’s going to “fix” these post-Brexit rules that are disrupting Britain’s goods trade with Northern Ireland, whilst his minions say that the latest offer from the EU to slash regulatory checks and dramatically cut customs processes on British goods moving to northern Ireland isn’t enough.

This is because the Johnson Government wants to go far beyond the confines of trade to rewrite the whole post-Brexit agreement with Brussels.

Johnson’s demands range from stripping EU judges of power over Northern Ireland to the somewhat ludicrous call from their own backbenchers to scrap metrification and restore Imperial measurements in what they still regard as a “province” of Britain.

Although there’s no sign of shift in Brussels or London, there will be immense pressure on Johnson from the other side of the Atlantic to settle before Joe Biden lands in Glasgow for the COP26 climate change conference in November.

Tinkering around the Northern Ireland Protocol may resolve the current dispute with the EU but it doesn’t address the fundamental problem, which is the continuing partition of Ireland.

The New Communist Party welcomed the advances made under the historic 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the establishment of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly, and the overwhelming endorsement of the agreement in the all‑Ireland 1999 referendum.

But the NCP did not believe that this agreement could ever be a final resolution of the struggle for Irish national self‑determination. Although the agreement that ended the fighting provided the basis for the economic revival of the north it contained major flaws, including the continued dependence on annual block grants from Westminster and the continued presence of British troops in Ireland.

We do not support devolution as an end in itself but call for a complete end to British interference in Irish affairs and to any British state presence on Irish soil, including civil, military, police or intelligence units.

The NCP believes Sinn Féin is the leading force in the struggle for Irish national self‑determination. It is a broad alliance of nationalist and patriotic class forces that more than any other organisation can legitimately claim to be continuing the struggles of the United Irishmen, the Young Irelanders, the Fenian Brotherhood, the Land League, the Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Republican Army.

From our earliest days we have called for an immediate and unconditional end to the partition of Ireland, the withdrawal of all civil, police or military units from any foreign state, and the achievement of full national self‑determination and sovereignty in a united Ireland.

We believe the Irish people have the right to use political or military means to achieve those goals, just as the British state realises its own interests in the same way.