Éire Nua, or "New Ireland", was a proposal supported by the
Provisional IRA and
Sinn Féin during the 1970s and early 1980s for a
federal United Ireland. The proposal was particularly associated with
the Dublin-based leadership group centered on
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and
Dáithí Ó Conaill, who were the authors of the policy.
Éire Nua is still supported by the Continuity IRA, Republican Sinn
Na Fianna Éireann
Na Fianna Éireann and Cumann na mBan.
2 Irish reactions and decline in popularity
3 US reactions
5 External links
Éire Nua envisaged an all-
Ireland republic that would be created when
the British withdrew from Northern Ireland. It also involved the
dissolution of the existing Republic of Ireland, which many
republicans considered an illegitimate entity imposed by the British
in 1922. Under Éire Nua,
Ireland would become a federal state with
parliaments for each of its four historic provinces, as well as a
central parliament based in Athlone.
The purpose of the federal structure was twofold. Firstly, it was
intended to show unionists in Northern
Ireland that they would have
some kind of self-government in a united Ireland. This would be
achieved by the provision of a parliament, Dáil Uladh, for Ulster.
However, by including all of historic Ulster—nine counties instead
of the six in Northern Ireland—it was intended that the unionist
majority would be slim enough to prevent abuses against the
Catholic/nationalist population in the province.
Secondly, the federal parliaments were intended to redress the
perceived economic imbalance between the eastern and western parts of
Ireland, and was hoped to enable prosperity in the poorer west of the
Irish reactions and decline in popularity
Many members of Sinn Féin, particularly in Northern Ireland, objected
Éire Nua on the grounds that it would perpetuate the dominance of
Protestant unionists in the north of the country. Despite this, Éire
Nua committees were established at least in
Ulster and Connacht,
largely due to the efforts of
Desmond Fennell and Emmett O'Connell.
Nevertheless, the scheme was dismissed as unworkable by some
influential Republicans. When Northern Republicans grouped around
Gerry Adams gained control of the IRA and
Sinn Féin in the late
1970s, they attacked the policy. In 1982, the
Sinn Féin Ard Fheis
voted to drop the policy, and the following year all reference to it
Sinn Féin Constitution and rules was removed, and it was
removed as the policy of the Republican movement in favour of the
creation of a unitary Irish Republic.
Ó Brádaigh and his supporters walked out of the 1986
Ard Fheis after
a motion was passed that ended the Republican policy of abstentionism
Oireachtas and reconvened the
Ard Fheis at the West County
Hotel in the village of
Chapelizod just west of Dublin. Henceforth
referring to itself as Republican
Sinn Féin to distinguish itself
from former associates, the party still advocates the Éire Nua
The reaction of the US administration to
Éire Nua was mixed. Due in
large part to
Irish-American pressure at home, a synopsis of Éire Nua
was entered into the
Congressional Record as a solution that "merits
consideration" to the crisis in Ireland. Officials in
less optimistic, placing more hope in the Sunningdale Agreement.
Ambassador John Moore did note, however: “In long term, some sort of
Ireland seems a real possibility, but path to it seems more
likely to be the pragmatic Sunningdale route than the dramatic one
advocated by Boal and the Provos.”
^ See White, Robert William and Ed Moloney, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh: the
life and politics of an Irish Revolutionary (2006), especially Chapter
11 "The Politics of Revolution."
^ Fagan Jack, "Sinn Fein (Kevin Street) Plan for New Ireland", Irish
Times, June 29, 1972 (pp. 1, 7).
^ Jackson, Alvin. Home Rule : An Irish History, 1800–2000.
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003 (pp. 306–7) .
^ Fennell, Desmond. A New Nationalism for the New Ireland. Comhairle
Uladh, 1973 (p. 2) .
^ Tonge, Jonathan. Northern Ireland. Polity, 2006 (p. 105).
^ Extension of Remarks.
Congressional Record of the 93rd Congress:
First Session Volume 119, Number 103; Friday June 29, 1973.
^ Moore, John (1974-02-05). "Catholic and Protestant Extremists
Discuss Similar Solutions". WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks
cable: 1974DUBLIN00184_b. Retrieved 2014-05-25.
The Irish Left Archive: Provisional Sinn Féin,
Éire Nua Document
January 1971 Cedar Lounge Revolution review of the document (with
1979 Version of Éire Nua
2001 Version of Éire Nua
Cumann na Saoirse Náısıúnta
Éire Nua Committee
Continuity IRA and Republican Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin Ardfheis
Irish republican legitimatism
Saoirse Irish Freedom
Dissident Irish Republican campaign
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
Dáithí Ó Conaill
Seán Ó Brádaigh
Cumann na mBan
Republican Clan na Gael
National Irish Freedom Committee