Ina Náisiún Arís?

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Beidh lá mór ag muintir na hAlban faoi cheann cúpla seachtain. Beidh reifreann acu faoin cheist mhór: neamhspleáchas nó aontas leanúnach leis an chuid eile den Bhreatain Mhór.

Tá mé i ndiaidh amharc ar an díospóireacht ar an teilifís idir Alastair Darling (in éadan neamhspleáchais) agus Alex Salmond ((i bhfabhar le neamhspleáchas). De dhéanta na fírinne, ní raibh an díospóireacht thar mholadh beirte, i mo bharúil féin. Bhí sé thar a bheith callánach agus bhí na ceisteanna tábhchtacha gan freagra ag an deireadh. Chuala mé cainteoirí níos fearr sna díospóireachtaí scoile a eagraíonn Gael Linn. ‘Is mó duine a labhair go minic ach nach ndúirt tada’.

Ach d’ardaigh an díospóireacht ceisteanna a bhfuil suim againn iontu anseo in Éirinn. Mar shampla cad is neamhspleáchas ann? An bhfuil tír ar bith neamhspleách sa lá atá inniu ann? Nach bhfuil gach tír ag brath ar thíortha eile? Nó nach bhfuil formhór na dtíortha sa domhan faoi smacht ag na cumhachtaí móra agus ag na comhlachtaí ilnáisiúnta? An féidir a rá go bhfuil Poblacht na hÉireann neamhspleách ón taobh airgeadais de, mar shampla? Nach léiríonn an ghéarchéim eacnamaíochta go bhfuil an tír i bhfiacha agus go mbeidh go dtí Lá Sheoin Dic?

Nuair atá tír faoi smacht ag iasachtóirí idirnáisiúnta agus bancanna, an bhfuil sí neamhspleách? Cuireann fiacha teorainneacha ar chlár rialtais. Nuair a bhí an Tíogar Ceilteach beo, ba chóir do Rialtas na Poblachta an córas oideachais a chur in ord agus córas sláinte ceart a chur ar bun, rud nár tharla.

Tá áit lárnach ag na coincheapa ‘neamhspleáchas’ agus ‘aontas’ i stair na hÉireann. Céad bliain ó shin bhí formhór na nÉireannach ag iarraidh parlaimint. Agus cad é a fuair muid ag an deireadh? Trí pharlaimint in áit cinn amháin (Nó ceithre pharlaimint má chuireann tú Parlaimint na hEorpa san áireamh). Sladmhargadh a bhí ann. Nó an raibh?

A Nation once again?

The people of Scotland will have their big day in a couple of weeks. They will have a referendum on the big question: independence or continuing unity with the rest of Great Britain. I have just been watching the televised debate between Alistair Darling (against independence} and Alex Salmond (for independence). To tell the truth, the debate was very poor in my opinion. It was very noisy, and in the end up, the important questions remained unanswered. I have heard better speakers in the Gael Linn school debates.

‘Many a person has spoken a lot and said nothing.’

But the debate did raise questions of interest to us here in Ireland. For example, what is independence? Is any country independent nowadays? Is every country not dependent on other countries? Are most of the countries in the world not under the control of the great powers and the multinational companies? Can we say that the Republic of Ireland is financially independent, for instance? Does the economic crisis not show that the country is in debt’ and will be for years to come?

When a country is under the control of international lenders and banks, is it independent? Debts put restraints on a government’s programme. When the Celtic Tiger was alive, the government of the Republic should have sorted out the educational system and set up a proper health service, but this did not happen.

The concepts of ‘independence’ and ‘unity’ have a central place in Irish history. One hundred years ago most Irish people were demanding an independent parliament. And what did we get eventually? We got three parliaments instead of one (Or four, if you include the European Parliament). It was a great bargain. Or was it?