The composition of the new 26-County cabinet underlines the highly centralised nature of the 26-County state and the ongoing marginalisation of western and rural Ireland. A whole swathe of the western seaboard from Donegal to Limerick will be without representation at the cabinet table, while six of the 15 ministers are Dublin based. Also in keeping with long standing 26-County neglect of the Gaeltacht and the promotion and development of the Irish language, ministerial responsibility for the Gaeltacht has been relegated to one of six areas of responsibility given to Green minister Catherine Martin.
All of this is in stark contrast to the very real democratic decentralisation of power and decision making that is set out in Éire Nua. Under Éire Nua’s proposals for a Federal Ireland each province would have its own administration with real power and responsibility for economic and social development, employment, health and education within the province. This would ensure two things, firstly, that those making the decisions are directly accountable to the people affected by them and are based in the regions affected. Secondly, that ensures that those making the decisions are in tune with the needs of their particular province, region and community.
Currently rural Ireland is in fear and trepidation that largely urban based Green ministers with no feeling for or understanding of rural Ireland are set to further compound the ongoing neglect of rural Ireland. For instance, under Éire Nua the people of rural Ireland including the Gaeltacht regions and the islands would be fully represented and involved in the making of, and implementation of the decisions that affect them. Likewise, urban areas affected by high unemployment, social exclusion and drug abuse would be involved directly in the rejuvenation and administration of their communities.
Unlike the present partitionist setup, Éire Nua is about real participatory democracy and not merely pay lip service to the needs and demands of the people every five years. A New Ireland would not be simply about jobs for the boys or girls, the dispensing of political favours by the local TD or minister like some feudal lord of old. Real democracy involves all the people including those currently marginalised from the centre of the economy and society both urban and rural.
The incoming 26-County administration is simply the same stale old wine in new bottles. The type of radical, creative and innovative thinking and action that is required will never come from parties that are wedded to the status quo. The Ireland envisaged in the 1916 Proclamation and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil will never emerge from Leinster House. Sinn Féin Poblachtach is proud to put Éire Nua forward as a credible alternative to a system that has delivered nothing but failure and betrayal to the Irish people for 100 years.