The Future of Ireland
24 July 1989
The 24th Triennial Congress of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 14-25 July, 1989 in Sydney, Australia:
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom regards Northern Ireland as one of Britain’s last remaining possessions over which it must ultimately relinquish sovereignty. The right of a people to self-determination is recognized by the United Nations in its Charter (article 1, Para. 2) and in subsequent General Assembly resolutions and declarations.
Prior to 1920 and during many centuries of British rule, Ireland was administered as an integral political unit. The establishment of a separate political unit in the North was contrary to the wishes of the great majority of Irish people as expressed in the last all-Ireland election of 1918. The border was an arbitrary creation which suited British convenience at the time, which allowed the imposition of one-party rule in the North, and which resulted in the denial to members of the minority community in Northern Ireland of their basic human rights.
The British Government has signally failed to protect from discrimination at all levels the minority community in Northern Ireland under its jurisdiction. It has significantly failed over the past twenty years to protect the whole population of Northern Ireland from violence and bloodshed. WILPF believes that the only way in which the people of Northern Ireland can achieve a stable, just and peaceful resolution to their urgent problems is for the British government to announce its intention within the lifetime of one government (7 years) to withdraw from Northern Ireland and to create the conditions under which the people of Northern Ireland can decide how they wish to be governed in future. An all-Ireland constitutional conference would be called which would include consideration of the present Constitution in the South. The civil liberties of the whole population would be protected under stringent guarantees. Arms held by extremist groups would be confiscated insofar as possible.
WILPF believes that, under these circumstances, with a program of gradually diminishing subsidies from the British government, the economic base of the island could be preserved and strengthened under whatever new constitutional arrangements emerged.
WILPF wishes in 1989 to re-affirm its support as promised in the 1926 International WILPF
The Future of Ireland Group London, May 1989
“The Future of Ireland Group” was formed by the British Section of WILPF in 1987 to study and monitor events in Ireland in depth to keep WILPF members informed. It includes others as well as WILPF members. They meet from time to time to hear speakers on Ireland; in March 1988 they visited Dublin and Belfast meeting as many different groups and individuals as possible; in July 1988 they arranged a presentation on Ireland at the WILPF meeting in Paris; a conference about the Irish Sea took place in Wales, September 1988; and now the Group have drafted this statement for discussion.