Vincent P Martin, Barrister and co-founder, New Beginning

The pervading feeling of despair and disempowerment in the face of the huge indebtedness threatens our very existence.  Errant bankers, regulators and politicians signed up our children’s children to economic slavery.

The October budget plans to take a further €3.1billion out of the economy. Prof. Ashoka Mody, a former head of the IMF team which negotiated Ireland’s bailout in 2010, has stated that continuing to impose an austerity regime on the economy would be self-defeating.  It is also self destroying, devastating our own people at a time when many families are struggling to put food on the table, can’t pay their mortgages and emigration and unemployment ravages local communities.

Unless we take effective action, soon close to one million citizens will be trapped and imprisoned in household debt. In order to recover as a nation, we need a renewal, a sense of real hope.  Without hope our future becomes hopeless and the despair which is already shattering families will spiral into even greater pain and suffering.

The Irish people must protect the basic principle stated at the foundation of our nation: the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and our declared resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.

We need to remind ourselves that we love our country.  We do not need to justify this; but we do need to express it. It is the challenge of nationhood, of self-determination, the call to be true and loyal to our values. The future is ours so we are actively responsible for it.

Will we accept the basic right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland?  Will we resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation?  Will we cherish all of our children equally?  Faced with the crippling economic problems of today, our political leaders look for solutions in the past. The past throws up solutions for a different time and based on a different vision.  We need a new vision, a new thinking.

We no longer look upon our leaders on both sides of the House with disdain but with indifference – we have no faith in them, we do not believe in them.  In the run up to the last general election, the people were longing to be inspired but were destined to face disappointment because the new Government did not win the election by inspiring the electorate but as a result of the implosion of Fianna Fáil.  There was no real alternative.

The reality is that the Government cannot rid itself of the debilitating perception that they are the new insiders cut from the same body politic, cloth and culture which ruined our country.  The people hoped against hope that the newly elected sheriffs riding into town would be a new voice of fairness and change.  But these were the same sheriffs who never once cried stop when in opposition, often cheer leading previous consecutive governments’ spending splurges and noted for their participation or steely silence in greeting haphazard or corrupt land rezonings.

Fintan O’ Toole wrote in the Irish Times over 13 years ago on how a new political party would challenge the primacy of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour and advised that if a political new enterprise were ‘thought through with the right mixture of shrewdness and courage, it just might become the pebble that starts a landslide’.  It is time for this landslide. It is time for something new.  We must come together with positive thinking, with a real plan which inspires all the people to work together to find a fair, sustainable and lasting solution. The protest which forced the Allsops auction to be abandoned or the recent haranguing of a government minister in a pub are futile, negative actions which achieve nothing whatsoever.  What is required is the robust exercise of power by all the people in a way never seen before and the New Beginning Group will initiate and facilitate a serious national dialogue to find a new, better and fairer way.

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks, refused to obey a bus driver’s order that she give up her seat in the allocated black seating section to a white passenger.  Rosa Parks’ personal action of defiance and fidelity to the cause resulted in the emergence of an unstoppable force which was driven home by the people.  Referencing the time when she made that brave, spontaneous decision she said, ‘I knew that I had the strength of my ancestors with me’.  We Irish must remember that we have that strength too.

When urging that the Irish nation should have the courage to forge its own path, Irish patriotic Thomas Davis wrote,

‘to speak, look and do what your own soul from its depths orders you are credentials of greatness. Such men are pioneers of civilisation, and the rulers of the human heart’. 

We need such men and women now.  We must empower ourselves.  It takes courage to stand up to the challenge. Revolutionary, visionary thinking and organised resistance to protect our people and secure their future is what’s needed.  The voice of the Irish people must be heard in Europe.

A truly national political movement born free from failed politics can deliver real change.  As John F Kennedy said, ‘change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future’.  It must bring all the people together by doing politics very differently and vow to deliver within a defined period of time.  People must be absolutely assured that the new movement will cherish key founding principles which will not be compromised or diluted.

When we look to our own country we have to unleash its innate genius through an articulation which connects with and empowers people today.  But such an articulation will mean change and possibly very radical change.  This will be resisted by the status quo.  Visionaries are almost always outsiders.

The time has come for this generation to stand up and fight for what is right. It must bring friend and foe together in an all-inclusive way as otherwise it will fail.  Finding out what caused the catastrophic economic collapse is important but the more urgent priority is to get Ireland working again.  Without the essential trigger of hope, Ireland will not recover.  On our own we are nothing but together we are capable of greatness.  We must take ownership of our country.  The time has come for a new beginning for Ireland.  We must realign and reaffirm our resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation. This is our time.

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