The Legacy of Partition

One hundred years ago in December, the Anglo Irish treaty was signed leading to the creation of a gerrymandered state favoring Ulster Unionism. The creation of the British State within a section of the province of Ulster would lead to a century of sectarianism and unrest amongst the Irish population with the national struggle being passed down through generations.

The legacy of partition is nothing more than a depressing history steeped in oppression, sectarianism death and deceit. The British presence in Ireland has long divided the working class in an effort to maintain their own imperialist aims.

A bloody civil war had followed that had divided even families in the fight between the Provisional Government and the Anti Treaty IRA. This would lead to a complete division in Ireland with even division coming between many families. Famously this also lead to the shooting of Free Stater Michael Collins, one of the signatories of the Treaty. The War was raging with Anti Treaty IRA continuing on for as long as they could. Eventually though changes in leadership, further dialogue was opened and a ceasefire occurred. When the Government of Ireland act was legislated the creation of Stormont would directly contribute to the continuation of oppression against the Irish population though coercive, economic and political control to try and secure Unionist dominance.

A Free State soldier during the Civil War

One of the big impacts that still seen in today’s society was the dismantling of cross border rail networks with one single rail network running that links Derry to Belfast and then to Dublin. There were more cross border rail networks in 1920 than there is today in Ireland.

The degradation of cross-border train lines

e disparate of wealth by over decades left thousands of males across the north unemployed due to the British influence of control over labour in the main industrial jobs across the region whilst many factories only employing women mainly had excluded catholic women leaving only few to work in.

This would force many to live in small, inadequate housing with often up to three generations in one household with no political rights. Here we thousands of people who the British state would effectively claim as their own citizens without electoral representation as far as 1969, which then saw another injection of British military force in Ireland only to intensify divisions.

The period from 1969 to 1972 saw the revival of militant republicanism once again from the lack of progress being gained from supposed democratic processes fueled by the introduction of internment where close to 2000 people were imprisoned without a charge or trial, lifted only on suspicion and falsified information. Cases leading from this such as the hooded men case would reveal that the British were using the Irish as test subjects for what could only constitute as torture. Events like Ballymurphy and Bloody Sunday alongside scores of murders being carried out by the state in today’s society has the British Government using every effort to deny justice to those that they had murdered when at the time of the 70’s these events had solidified a rebirth of Irish Republicanism.

Crown forces during Bloody Sunday

Unable or even just unwilling to deal with the Irish Struggle, The British Government would once again historically fail in their efforts to quash Republicanism in dealing with the Hungers Strikers. Bobby Sands would get elected to British Parliament with over 30,000 votes but despite this him and his ten other comrades died during the 1981 Hunger strikes, due to Thatcher’s unwillingness to allow political status, again intensifying divisions and militant struggle.

Throughout the whole period of the 1970’s and 80’s the British states intelligence through Special Branch and Mi5 were using every effort to crack the republicans wall of silence. This led who the British state carrying out sanction murders though the use of informers and collusion with loyalist paramilitaries. The dark world of informers is still every present in todays society which shows the extreme lengths that are taken still against the Irish population, in the same way many legacy cases are built around today.

The legacy of partition now for working class Unionists has left them feeling sold out by the very government that claims to work within their interests exposing their neo liberal ways to them. The failure of leadership on the Unionists’ behalf recently shows once again the bitterness that is held amongst high-ranking unionist politicians who once were working hand in hand with the British Government, only a few years prior over the promises of cash injections buying their votes. The British presence in Ireland has only created the conditions for division amongst the working class consistently where once again coercive, economic and political control are continuing to be used in an effort to control.

The National demographic is now changing In the North and the legacy of partition will be the inevitability of Irish Unification.

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