Century of Endeavour

Politics in the Mid-1990s

(c) Roy Johnston 2001

(comments to rjtechne@iol.ie)

Here I continue to give an account of the development of the Green party. I also continued to take an interest in what remained of the Left after the 1989 crisis, in the hopes that it might prove possible to rescue the Marxist baby from the Stalinist bathwater.

The Northern Ireland Cease-Fire

Shortly after writing to Ruairi Quinn about the North (see previous module) I wrote to Gerry Adams as follows:

TECHNE ASSOCIATES / Techno-Economic, Socio-Technical, Socio-Linguistic and Environmental Consultancy

PO Box 1881 / Rathmines / Dublin 6

Gerry Adams / Sinn Fein / 44 Parnell Sq / Dublin 1


Dear Gerry

I had hoped to get to your Dublin open meeting, and was watching for it, but it happened without my knowing. Who did you have to be to get informed? I see the meetings are still going on, with one in Galway this weekend. Will there be another one in Dublin? If so, I will try to get to it, and expand on the following points, which I seem to remember having put to you before, some years ago.

I think you should take up the peace initiative, in its present form, despite its unclarities and limitations, simply because it is evident that there is an influential element among the British Establishment who do not want you to do so.

These include the Army brass, who like the present struggle in its present form, and appreciate its ongoing role as a means of blooding British Army recruits.

They also include the strategic thinkers in the British Establishment, who have always had the policy of doing everything they could to prevent a united Irish consciousness from emerging, and have consistently done everything they could to divide Protestant from Catholic, and prevent a pluralistic Irish nation from emerging.

Under the influence of these elements, Major is not going to give you your clarification, in the hopes that you will reject the initiative, and give them the excuse for 'immediate and terrible war', which will be aided and abetted by the UFF gangs, and will involve all Catholics being 'ethnically cleansed' on the Bosnian pattern from the North-East, and swoops by the British Army into the West to 'rescue' the Protestants to re-locate them in the NE enclave. A total disaster scenario, and the final end to all idea of a democratic Irish republic on the French pattern; forget Wolfe Tone.

You saw the plans for the 'immediate and terrible war' as they were in 1921? As recently released? The ethnic cleansing component?

You can prevent this happening, as you could perhaps have done at any time, simply by calling off the armed campaign and working politically within the present framework as offered, which is after all an advance on what was the norm pre-Civil Rights. All things will then become possible, including the release of the prisoners, which presumably is one of the issues you wanted clarified.

It will be a long haul to persuade the Protestants to come to terms with Irish identity, but given peace, and a constructive European dimension, it could just about become possible. If there is reversion to a full war situation, it is a write-off, for good.

May I say that I appreciate the efforts you have made to bring around to movement to an appreciation of the potential of political action, in a situation which is now much less favourable than the one which I faced in the 60s. I see now in retrospect the limitations to what we tried to do then, and how in many ways it was philosophically flawed. It has been possible now for you to build on the positive experience of Mandela and Arafat, to an extent that was not available to us in the 60s, though we had the experience of Martin Luther King to go on.

I wish you the best of luck, and hope that this communication will perhaps be of some help to you.

Yours sincerely / Roy Johnston

Arising from an earlier reported item, which confirmed an opinion I had held for many years, I wrote to the Irish Times as follows, the letter being published on April 6 1994, under the heading 'British Army's Role in the North'.

Sir / May I draw attention to your item dated March 22nd by Colm Boland, in which Dr Philip Sabin, of King's College, London, is reported as reminding us that Northern Ireland "...provides a 'live training' opportunity for the British Army...". He goes on to suggest, in effect, the threat of post-Cold-War defence cuts gives a motivation to leading people in the British Army establishment to keep the violent campaign going in Northern Ireland. If it were to come to an end, the army budget would be cut.

I have conveyed this view by various means to Gerry Adams on several occasions in the past few years, with the suggestion that if the British Army is the enemy they should not be giving them what they want.

I urge him to consider it again, and call off the armed campaign and allow the political process to develop (without necessarily supporting the Downing Street Declaration) and to condemn the Fee incident as the work of agents provocateurs whose purpose is to drive a wedge into the emerging political process and keep the IRA in business, to the ongoing benefit of the British Army and its "live training-ground".

Yours etc, Roy H W Johnston.

President Clinton's Visit

Having heard something about the itinerary of the proposed Clinton visit, I e-mailed the White House on April 4 1994, suggesting that he consider paying a visit to the family home of President Wilson, which is in the hills above Strabane. This would give some recognition to the Protestant side of the US presidential sequence, and perhaps help to convey that the US people were aware of its existence and significance. The intervention of the US in the Northern peace settlement need not be seen as a catholic-nationalist plot, but an assertion of the principle of separation of church and state.

I had subsequent correspondence with Jean Kennedy-Smith in the US Embassy, and I met her socially on some occasion. She suggested that the International Fund for Ireland and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton were relevant contacts.

There may be something here, but at this time (2002) it remains unfinished business.

The Jim Gralton School

This was initiated, in the late 1980s (I think), by Declan Bree the Sligo Labour councillor and later TD, who had had earlier a close relationship with the Irish Workers League, and later the Communist Party. It took place usually during May in Drumshanbo Co Leitrim, near the Gralton home ground.

I had attended one in 1990, which occurred at the time of the Arigna mines closure, and this had led to some interaction with local activists, and to some attempts to link the economic revival problem with cross-border initiatives, these then being regarded as a means of relating EU regional policy with the political problem in the North. I have a file on this, but it led to nothing significant, though there seemed to be potential at the time. There was a conference in Manorhamilton on June 23 1990, involving various local agencies and community groups, which seemed to promise something. I got involved somewhat at the periphery of this network, as a result of having attended the earlier Gralton event. I was prepared to act for them, insofar as I could, as from Dublin. The correspondence, such as it is, indicates a local leadership vacuum, which may be attributed to the general weakness of local government in Ireland.

Jim Gralton had attempted in the 1930s to initiate left-wing politics, in the context of the de Valera electoral landslide and associated land agitations. He had a hall, where people met, and there was, I think, some sort of co-operative enterprise. This initiative was crushed by local gombeen-capitalist and Catholic Church organised violence, the hall was burned, and Jim Gralton was deported to the US, being as it happened a US citizen, though of local origin. I had encountered the living memory of these episodes with his brother Packy Gralton earlier, during our 1948 organising tour of Ireland.

The 1994 Gralton School on May 7-8 included Eamonn O Ciosain on the Republican Congress, Seosamh O Cuaig on developing a rural renewal movement, Tom Barrington on decentralisation and local government reform; Declan Bree and Martin McGuinness spoke on 'Realising the Republic'. It was a constructive attempt at re-capturing the earlier left-republican convergence which had begun in the 1930s with George Gilmore and the Republican Congress, and which Goulding and I had attempted to rebuild in the 1960s. There was the makings of and interesting event, and I registered to go. Unfortunately I went down with laryngitis, and had to cancel. I had been to an earlier such event, perhaps in 1993, and had encountered an interesting convergence of Belfast Civil Rights veterans with residual labour and republican left, and constructive contacts were made, more than just a nostalgia trip. We visited the Arigna mines, recently closed, and the issue was how to reconstruct the economic life of the area with alternative employment.

I had subsequent correspondence with Declan Bree, who sent a copy of his paper From Downing Street to Bodenstown. This took up strongly the local government reform issue (echoing Tom Barrington) and addressed the question of Protestant identity in the context of whatever political reconstruction emerged, in the spirit of the Republican Congress.

I had been in touch with Richard Douthwaite the previous weekend, in connection with his contesting the 1994 European election for the Greens, and he was considering going, combining the trip with lodging his papers in Cavan, but in the end he felt he had to support the local Afri famine march. I mention this because it underlines the potential for left-green convergence with the type of politics implied by the Gralton agenda. There is unfinished business here. I included my notes on the rail network, which I had produced for Douthwaite (see below).

In my letter to Bree I also mentioned the need to keep Micheal O Riordain firmly in historical mode, and to view critically Anthony Coughlan's campaign on the divorce referendum. I made the case that '..if the Government can bring about an all-party consensus to change an article in the Constitution which was imposed in 1937 by pressure from Rome, then it should be entitled to spend some money to inform the people about it... (and) shed the Rome Rule image..'. I also inveighed against the 'region' as defined artificially in terms of the strip of Border counties, counter-posing the need to develop regional structures taking the regional Colleges as foci and re-developing the cross-border hinterlands.

Regional Development in the West

To: Richard Douthwaite Cloona Westport Co Mayo

From: Roy Johnston 22 Belgrave Rd Rathmines Dublin 6


The occasion was when we went West on vacation after lending our Toyota van to Richard for his Euro-election campaign. I had earlier circulated some notes on railways in the West, prompted by the earlier trip West in May, when I left the van with him, and returned by train. I had observed the rails rusty, leading from Athlone to Mullingar.

Dear Richard

This is just to report that we got back safely after a pleasant few days in the West, in which we looked up some old friends, and did some of what they now label 'cultural tourism', which is what we were doing all along.

We didn't get around to looking up any of your contacts; we were not after all explicitly, yet, on the political trail. We couldn't avoid however picking up some background; we went to a local history lecture in Ballina, by a professor from California, an expert in the Land League. We picked up an impression of a tradition in Mayo of openness to new things beginning; there is an Ulster connection via the Foxford mill; the Humbert episode must have left some stamp, despite the belittling of the revisionists.

I enclose a note on an article in the current European. Do you know David Boyle? It seems to me that the points talked about in TOES ('The Other Economic Summit') might form the basis of a seminar that could be organised in Mayo, preferably perhaps in Castlebar in the Regional College, on the principle that we need to develop this as the regional intellectual focus.

If there were such a seminar, I would go down to it, on the basis that it would be my chance to meet with your support-people.

The agenda could also perhaps include some of the topics I have touched on in my recent letters to you, in the context of the campaign. The idea would be to pull in speakers on each topic, and brief them in advance on the need for practical next steps, in bottom-up mode. Green Party as such should initially have a low profile, but we should be prepared to register people who make sensible contributions, on the basis of a personal approach with an outline statement of principles; we should also keep an address-list of those who attend, passing round a paper for them to sign in.

Once we have a list of people with a registered interest, then we convene a meeting of the Green Party as such, go over the principles document with them, and set up a local network with a regional focus in direct touch with Dublin. It would be good if we could recruit a Regional College lecturer to act as focus; the RTCs will sooner or later be linked to Internet, and this will be an important communications resource; it is the basis of the regeneration of the German Greens.

How do I see my role in this? I am not active on a local basis in Dublin; my main work has been in trying to develop the European e-mail network, and in helping with policy drafting on areas where I know a thing or two. I don't aspire to compete with the John Gormleys, and am therefore unlikely to get status on Council as from Dublin SE. Nor am I likely to get on to Council on the basis of co-option for specialist purposes, as procedures for this have not yet evolved. Perhaps however I could find a role for myself as a representative of the emerging Connaught groups, as, in a sense, 'your rep in Dublin'.

It would mean I would have to attend the Council meetings, and act on briefing from the Connaught groups on issues as they come up, reporting back appropriately, when necessary with the 'real presence' at a meeting in Castlebar, which would need to be scheduled so that I could attend by train, and not have to rush away; ie including an overnight.

Do you think this might be a feasible working relationship? It would seem to me to make some sense, provided your people in the West were to 'buy' the concept of someone like me acting for them in Dublin. For this reason I would like to attend the seminar, and get the feel of the situation. Also perhaps I was inhibited by these thoughts from making direct contact with any of them; I want things to happen naturally from the bottom up.

The alternative is for someone in the West to be delegated to attend the Council meetings, with me as a sub, being present as an observer when the delegate is there, and in a position to brief them. The problem is how to get continuity of experience at national level while keeping in touch regionally. It is non-trivial, and the failure to resolve it has left most Irish organisations totally Dublin-dominated. It seems to me that to have someone living in Dublin, obliged to keep in close touch with the region, and without other priorities, might do the trick.

After all, this is how the Back Lane Parliament worked, in the Tailors Hall, in 1793, our first embryonic National Assembly. Most of the delegates were Dublin residents with regional linkages. It is good to oblige people living in Dublin to travel out of it sometimes.

Enough thoughts for the moment. Let me know what you think, and whether you are taking up the idea of a seminar. I you do go this road, let me know in good time what your criteria for inviting people is, and perhaps I will be able to suggest one or two people. My feeling is it should be based on the election support group and primarily people whom they suggest. If you go initially open, with local press etc, unless you have it well structured with acceptably prominent speakers and an experienced chairman, it will tend to attract cranks and windbags, and put good people off.

All the best / Roy Johnston

On the same occasion we looked up Paddy and Aine Kilcullen, who has been politicising SF stalwarts in the 1960s and 70s. The following letter outlines some of the topics touched upon.

To: Aine & Paddy Kilcullen Bothar na Sop Ballina Co Mayo

From: Roy Johnston 22 Belgrave Rd Rathmines Dublin 6

phone 01-497-5027


Dear Aine & Paddy

This is to record our appreciation of your hospitality on last Wednesday 13th; we enjoyed the chance to talk about old times, and to begin to look at what the current options are. However I feel we only scratched the surface of the problem.

We went on to the Hist and Arch Society meeting, and we encountered the Californian professor Don Jordan trying to get in to a locked door, no-one yet being there. We chatted him up; he's a good guy; in the end the committee came; no trace of Jacky Clarke. I suspect Cathal Q has been mythologising about his role in that context. (Both these had been our 1960s colleagues, but had 'gone Provisional'). Good scholarly account of the Land League in Mayo, identifying its social roots with the more substantial farmers in the areas of better land, for which he had quantitative evidence. It seems there is a national network of these local hist socs, which is to be encouraged. I took steps to register with it, as it could be useful in some historical work I am doing about science in Ireland and the role of the RDS and the RIA. It would be useful to have a local hist worms-eye view of what the improving landlords were up to on their home ground, while they read their learned papers on scientific topics.

Naoise O Mongain and Maire were there; we got into an argument with Naoise about the 'peace process'. He seemed to think that a Bosnian-type disaster would be a positive outcome. How crazy can you get. We went down to Dahoma on Thursday, looked up old Seamus (O Mongain, likewise; he had been in the lead of the politicising movement in the late 1950s and supported initially that of the 1960s), who has dropped translating Ulysses and is in the end getting round to writing his memoirs, which is a positive development. Encountered the other 2 again, and took the discussion a bit further; Maire is the one to talk to; the other one is in a time-warp.

Things we would have liked to talk about: Workers Party and Democratic Left etc, and the interface with the Greens. Greens don't like the DL, because de Rossa when in Strasbourg tried to pass himself off as Green with the Green Group; he failed; the Euro-greens are well networked; indeed they are beginning to be into electronic networking, and could emerge as the only all-Europe party network based on common principles. The growth-points are currently the Irish and the Germans. All others have dropped back from about 10% in 89 to about 5% now, due to failure to resolve the conflict between consensus decision-making and unified policy development. The Irish and the Germans went through a low for the same reason, but would appear to have established procedures which have enabled them to get their act together again.

Where there are 'left parties going green' and 'green parties' in competition (as in Belgium and France) support collapsed. Therefore they will have to converge. Parties of the Left which did not set store by the heavy centralist State model are perhaps capable of this process. In some cases Green parties have profited by recruiting people individually from the Left who believe in stronger and more local democracy, and who reject the centralism of the parties they leave.

I don't know where the WP fits in this paradigm; I would have liked to pick up your view on this. In my time with them, and that is a long time ago, I tried to enhance their perception of the need for local, regional and industrial democratic structures, both in the Party, in the State and in the economy. Indeed, the old Eire Nua document, which looked somewhat in that direction, and which the Provisionals hijacked, was an early draft of mine.

I append some notes on Green economics which I have abstracted from a press report. They are not definitive, by any means. I am writing to Richard Douthwaite with the suggestion that he might like to build a seminar around some of these ideas, and perhaps others related to them, so as to keep up the momentum of the Euro-election, and perhaps run it in Castlebar, pulling in the people in Westport, Roscommon, Sligo and elsewhere who supported him.

What I would like to know from you is whether, if such an event were to occur, you might be interested in going, and perhaps contributing some experience of local community development work. I think the seminar should not be given a party-political label, and should draw on bottom-up experience; let the politics emerge if it wants to, but lets keep it so that the politicals don't try to own the community development work and claim it as top-down.

If you are interested, please let me know, and I'll suggest to Richard that he put you on the list of people to notify. It will probably not be advertised in the press as an open meeting, as this can be a recipe for disruption and hijacking, in a start-up situation.

Richard has developed a local credit network in Westport, based on a currency called the Reek. They have chequebooks and all; there is an exchange rate with the punt; all based on local exchange of services; unseen by the taxman; a kind of underground black economy.

Anyway: good to see you, and to meet the grown-up family.

All the best / Roy Johnston

There was no reply; people seldom answer letters. Maybe it will later emerge that the foregoing had influence; at least it represents a record of what I had in mind at the time.

Global Paradox

I responded to Anthony Coughlan on July 24 1994, after receiving some papers under the above header. Because it related to my professional work, I replied as from TECHNE ASSOCIATES (Techno-Economic, Socio-Technical, Socio-Linguistic and Environmental Consultancy).

Anthony Coughlan / Dept of Social Studies / Arts Building / TCD / 24/7/94

re: 'Global Paradox'

Dear Tony

Thank you for your letter and enclosure dated June 27, which we received yesterday. The reason for the delay was because you sent it to 24 Belgrave Road, instead of to 22, and the McLiams were away. Janice will reply separately, in her own right, from the cultural and linguistic angle.

I am of course familiar with what has been going on in 'cyberspace'; I drew it to the attention of the Democrat many (at least 5) years ago, and offered to 'interface' with cyberspace for them, but they didn't wake up to it.

I have been in e-mail correspondence with people as far afield as Kamchatka and Alaska with information exchanges relevant to the global politics of democratic convergence of left and green objectives. This is clearly the way forward.

I enclose some notes or headers for a draft of a paper I will soon be putting into the new Green periodical (Nuacht Glas), in which I hope to have a go at analysing the meaning of nationality in the contemporary context. There is indeed a new paradigm emerging, and knowhow is the key resource, without which capital is powerless, and labour is sterile. In this context the definitions of class and nation need to be re-examined closely (in a constructive 'revisionist' process!).

The Irish nation never achieved reality under the old State-centralist paradigm; under the new one however there is perhaps some hope that a realisable vision might yet emerge which is compatible with that of Wolfe Tone and Connolly.

The crisis of the old centralist paradigm is reflected in the collapse of Irish Steel and Team Aer Lingus, in the Goodman scandal, Greencore etc; there are echoes in the Irish context of the collapse of the USSR. It is also echoed, with related pathologies, in the collapse of Yugoslavia, Rwanda and in other multi-ethnic situations.

The basic unit for politics is indeed the Region, and the definition of the Region is in terms of the hinterland of a focus of productive knowhow. At the time of the foundation of the State there were 4 such foci: Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway. There are now 12, if you add in the Regional College centres, and allow for the development of comparable foci in Derry and Dungannon.

Luxembourg, ironically, is perhaps a model for the regional unit of the future. The 12 regions of Ireland amount to 12 Luxembourgs. Iceland is comparable.

The future of the EC can be viewed positively if the old centralist imperial States, primarily France and Britain, are dismantled, and reconstructed as one or more confederations of regions. Britain as such has no future; the label is a spurious claim to Anglian hegemony over Mercia, Northumbria, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall. London as the capital of an Anglian Confederation, population perhaps 15M, would have a chance to shine as a musical and cultural centre, as Vienna has done successfully at the core of old Austria-Hungary. In that context, if the Belfast Region preferred to confederate with Scotland, who would object?

The Irish 'nation' has always been a vision, never a reality. It can however become a reality if the emerging Irish confederation looks good and sells itself to the Belfast people, as the best place to do business and have cultural links with. What we do not want is a scene in which a centralist State in Dublin is in dispute with a centralist State in Scotland (re-running the current pathological scenario with 'Britain') over who puts troops into Belfast. It should be up to Belfast to decide who it prefers to handle defence, foreign affairs and justice. As regards justice, the role of the overall European confederation is to establish the norms.

I don't see Brussels as a threat, for as long as it does not become a centralist State like Britain or France. The key issue in European politics is going to be to keep the balance between Brussels power and Regional power, and to ensure that the old central imperial State powers are eroded to ritual level.

The new paradigm as outlined in the cuttings you sent, at the industrial level, is totally familiar. The firm I work with is in productive consortia with 10s of other similar firms all over Europe, and we communicate all the time by internet. The chief, who set the firm up 8 years ago, spends his time not only all over Ireland irrespective of the Border, but all over the globe, from the US to Japan.

The Left however has tended to be blinded by dogma, and has not been aware of the nature of the changes going on in the productive process. The few knowhow-oriented visionaries it had (Bernal, Burhop, Powell et al), it ignored. It is my hope that I may be able to remedy this situation with the work I am currently trying to do in marginal time.

Regional Policy and the Internet

For David Landy Green Office 5A Upper Fownes St Dublin 2 / 23/10/94

From Roy Johnston 22 Belgrave Road Dublin 6

Dear David

I have resurrected the enclosed in response to a request from John Gormley which arose in the context of an SE branch discussion. I thought I should pass it on to you, in the hopes that it can be injected into the right policy-development area. I don't have much time to attend meetings. Perhaps it can be worked up into a paper for an Caorthann; you might like to suggest it to Lawrence Cox.

On another topic (touched on in the enclosed paper): can we sometime set up procedures for using the electronic system properly? It requires a political decision at European level, and some pilot actions by pioneers like us, with the support of other outlying regions like Finland, Scotland, Norway etc. I have active e-mail contacts in all fringe countries, and in Britain, but few of any significance in France or Germany.

A nominal 'electronic conference' system exists on GreenNet, to which you can upload stuff, and all can see it. I have occasionally used this; I put up our recent election results for all to see, for example. I download stuff from it for Sheila Hussey. The EPGG puts up its reports on it, and they can be downloaded in word-processable mode, which is an improvement on the fax. It is however ill-structured, and dominated by noise from the USA, with articles about Europe picked up in the US and fed back to a nominally European conference by Californian and Michigan enthusiasts. We in Europe need to take the GreenNet system in hand, and use it for:

(a) a reference conference with all current policy position papers from all European parties accessible to all, in read-only mode;

(b) a closed conference, not open to the public, for use in the preparation of Green Federation meetings, position papers etc;

(c) a forum conference where statements on current issues can be uploaded (eg Sellafield, or the Burren, or the IRA ceasefire, or whatever). If this existed, journalists abroad would get to know about it, and we would get coverage in papers abroad if we did anything of international significance.

I am a long-time user of the system, and have a feel for it. It would be feasible for me to handle this on behalf of the Party, until someone in the office gets trained in. It requires however that procedures be adopted for making available on a regular basis a floppy disk with DOS-ASCII files on it with any stuff we produce which is of international significance. This floppy could shuttle between me and the office on a weekly basis, with me supplying you (as well as Sheila Hussey, which I do already) with anything of interest to us that comes in on the network.

This procedure, if it is to become useful at European level, would need to be adopted elsewhere also, and we would need to get to know each other as electronic networkers all over Europe, with a political role. This requires a conscious decision on the part of the Federation members, an international training programme, and money. I have briefed Patricia, and sent material to the Federation, and to the EPGG, but I see no signs of anything happening yet. We will be throwing away an opportunity for becoming the leading political force in Europe if we do not get into networking electronically. Can we discuss what to do next?

Yours sincerely / Roy Johnston

Irish Green Regional Policy

From: Roy Johnston 22 Belgrave Rd Rathmines Dublin 6 phone 4975027 (Copied to David Landy 23/10/94 as a reminder; I had no response from Bronwen. RJ)

Bronwen Maher / Green Party / 5A upper Fownes St / Dublin 2 / 19/3/94

Bronwen had been recruited as Patricia McKenna's assistant, to wok in her Dublin office in support of her MEP role.

re: Regional Policy

Dear Bronwen

I wrote to you some time ago with some suggestions as to how I could best support policy development, but regrettably I failed to follow it up, and it seems to have lapsed. The main idea was to try to establish direct contact with the main specialist spokespeople, and interface them with what is available via the GreenNet from abroad, and publishing via GreenNet any of your stuff that is of international interest (the North, Windscale, the Burren, Greenpeace activities, and of course now our EC election performance). Perhaps you could look into this again, and if it is a matter of my coming along to a meeting of specialist spokespeople, I will arrange to do so if given notice.

Regarding current policies, there came up at the recent SE meeting the question of the new Regional Authorities and their structure, and I contributed heavily to the discussion, this being an area I have researched and acted on in the past. Michael Fox suggested I put it on paper and send it in for incorporation in the electoral arguments. Here are the key points:

1. A Regional Authority only makes sense if it has real governmental power devolved to it, and if thereby government becomes more accessible to people.

2. A Region needs a focus; the seat of regional authority should be the same for all specialist functions, and the boundaries of the region should be the same for all specialist functions. A person in a Region needing to deal with government should be able to go to one governmental centre, to a 'one-stop-shop'.

3. A valid step in the direction of establishing a regional structure with foci was the setting up of the Regional Colleges in the 60s and 70s. These have helped to define de facto regional foci at the following places other than Dublin:

Waterford / Cork / Tralee / Limerick / Galway

Sligo / Letterkenny / Dundalk / Carlow / Athlone

to which we should now add Castlebar (where there is a local campaign for an RTC which deserves to succeed).

4. This suggests Regional status for the 5 major counties of the West: Cork, Kerry, Galway, Mayo and Donegal; the remaining regions can be constructed out of combinations of counties or parts of counties; the MidWest Region already exists as the Shannon Development hinterland, and is a pilot model; this includes Limerick, North Tipp, Clare and North Kerry, so county boundaries need not be sacred; after all the counties were laid down in the 1500s and are anachronistic.

5. Apart from Donegal the other regional foci adjoining the Border are Sligo and Dundalk; when constructing regions with these as foci, the potential for re-establishing the old cross-border hinterlands should be stressed.

6. Think of axes joining Letterkenny and Derry, Sligo and Enniskillen, Dundalk and Newry. The regional structure along the Border should be such as to maximise the potential for cross-border links to develop. NB there is special EC funding in support of cross-border regional linkages, and we should be profiting by this.

7. The existing so-called regional structure has defined all border counties as one 'region', and set up, for example, an 'education authority' for it. This nonsense will bring the whole idea of regions into disrepute. A long strip along the border has no natural focus; it is rightly being attacked by the Teachers Unions as making their Authority inaccessible to most of them.

8. Similarly the existing so-called regional structure has set up a 'region' consisting of Leinster with a hole in it; a sort of swathe round Dublin, which is equally nonsensical; there is no focus for it apart from Dublin itself. The regions abutting the Greater Dublin Region should have foci, and on the regional college system the foci are Dundalk, Athlone and Carlow.

9. If the excessive growth of Dublin is to be prevented, and genuine regional development encouraged, government needs to be devolved to foci which can become transport and business nodes on an all-Ireland mesh. Regional policy should try to get away from the 'all roads lead to Rome' syndrome.

10. You should have to go no further than your regional focus if you want to deal with government, and it should be a one-stop shop. All government functions, apart from Defence, Foreign Affairs and Justice, should be integrally in the regional government foci.

11. We should expose as ridiculous the current so-called 'decentralisation' of a few social welfare civil servants to lick enveloped in Castlebar or wherever. This smells of the 'penal settlement' approach as in 'Yes Minister': if you cause trouble in the centralist State, you are banished to the all-Britain Vehicle Licencing Centre in Swansea, and can no longer attend the Opera at Glyndebourne!

12. The layout of the railway network under the British is part of the root of the pathology. It is easy to get to Dublin from anywhere, but difficult to get from Cork to Limerick, Limerick to Galway, or Galway to Sligo. Divide and rule. Perhaps this is irreversible, but there is a trend in Europe back to rail, and, perhaps we should be thinking of re-opening the cross-links of the mesh, so that you could get from Cork to Derry by a western route.

13. The foregoing however is for the long term. In the meantime links like Rosslare to Waterford and Waterford to Limerick are to be defended tooth and nail, and perhaps there is scope for an aggressive resurrection in the context of a 'regional mesh' transportation policy. In this context also there scope for a Cork-Limerick shuttle, changing at Limerick Junction for Dublin (if you must). The line from Limerick to Tralee still exists and is perhaps recoverable. Limerick to Galway via Ennis and Athenry is feasible. You can get on to Westport via Claremorris, but the link on up to Sligo is dead, though the rails are still there some of the way.

14. The same 'regional mesh' philosophy should be developed within the Greater Dublin Region in microcosm, with a mesh system linking all 'villages' or urban foci, rather than all routes leading to a massively congested O'Connell Bridge. You need a system so that you can get from anywhere to anywhere else with at most one change, on a system which is mapped so that the changes are clear. In a centralist system, as currently in central Dublin, there are so many options at the central change that you can't find the one you need, so you go by car.

15. The 'mesh' philosophy was at the root of transport planning in Germany in the 19th century, for military strategic reasons. It has served them well, and helped lay the basis for the current federal structure of Germany.

16. The 'tree' model, as it has established itself in Ireland, is a consequence of imperial domination; the main role of the railway was to suck out people and cattle, and to supply goods from Britain, all via Dublin. No government since 1922 has addressed the problem of reconstituting the imperial infrastructure. We as Greens must address this, in the spirit of reconstructing the nation as a mesh of equal and interdependent communities.


I hope the foregoing is of some use. If you want it on mag-media I can let you have it on 3.5 or 5.25" discs. Please also if you have anything of policy relevance internationally, can you let me have it, on mag-media, in a DOS-file? There is a lot of interest abroad in the euro-elections; I am already getting enquiries from the US and Canada. We should have a letter to Clinton briefing him for his Irish visit. Do you want me to draft one, and get it discussed at the FA Committee?

Yours sincerely / Roy Johnston

Notes for a paper on the New National Paradigm.

This was entitled 'A Green Paradigm for Nationality' and was published in Caorthann, the Green theoretical journal, Issue 2, November 1994.

Gellner, Anderson as background; nation as an initially 'imagined community', with a broad-based techno-cultural elite, unified and made real to the extent feasible with printed communication in a vernacular, and cemented by capitalist mass-production of standardised commodities.

Key role of knowhow based on increasingly science-based technology; need for a nationally-conscious scientific elite, networked in a Baconian-type of institutional structure based on competence and peer-recognition, to which governments defer.

Faustian pact between the Baconian scientific elite and the State military-industrial complex as the basis for European imperialism. Classical models of this process in England, France, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Japan, USA.

In the case of the fringe nations, the first to achieve Statehood in a limited sense was Ireland. Basic weakness of Irish Statehood due to the failure to take on board the Baconian scientific tradition, and to allowing the key Baconian institutions (RIA, RDS) to atrophy as foci for the development of knowhow. Driving force of Faustian pact absent in Irish case; due to no imperial aspirations. Vision of a 'post-Baconian' science, for 'empowerment of peoples' instead of 'State power' was missing.

Centralist State agencies aimed at replacing the Baconian networking process (which is essentially bottom-up among people with knowhow) with a top-down system of clientelism (NSC, NBST, Eolas, Forbairt) have on the whole failed (cf Nature article of last August).

Modern communications technology is however globally empowering regional development foci, which can network among themselves, access all key global knowhow via Internet, and eschew clientelism from a remote metropolitan sources.

Increasing irrelevance of metropolitan dinosaurs; except as sources of harm; whence the need to dismantle their political power.

Links Europa and the European Green-Left Convergence

I had encountered Links Europa when with the Labour Party in the context of trying to get a left-Labour network going at a European level. Rosemary Ross their secretary and I kept sporadically in touch.

TECHNE ASSOCIATES / Techno-Economic, Socio-Technical, Socio-Linguistic and Environmental Consultancy / PO Box 1881 / Rathmines / Dublin 6

Rosemary Ross / 21 Connaught Rd / Harpenden / Herts AL5 4TW


Dear Rosemary / Thank you for your circular and enclosures about the June 12 Conference on 'The Future of the Party of European Socialists'. I see you have Bernie Malone MEP, and that participation is restricted to 30 people, so that you are targeting primarily the influentials.

As I told you, I am with the Greens, and am promoting the left-green convergence. This you must admit is increasingly of importance, eg in the context of the current French Presidential election. The importance is perhaps less apparent in Britain, where thanks to the primitive electoral system the Greens are marginalised and are seen (unjustly) as crank-fringe. This is far from the case in Europe as a whole. We have 2 Green MEPs from Ireland, reflecting more support than would be suggested by our 1 TD, though there are those who say that the Euro-election carries little weight.

If in the material you sent I had been able to detect some sort of an opening in the Green direction, the hint of a hand of friendship, a suggestion of a need for broad left-centre co-operation to isolate the Right, I would have copied it and sent it to Trevor Sargent TD at Leinster House, and to Nuala Ahearn and Patricia McKenna at the EP office in Molesworth St. If I were to do this as it stands, I would simply be seen as promoting Labour interests, and discredited.

The Labour attitude to the Greens here I can only label sheer begrudgery. Labour are in Government, along with the Democratic Left and (again) with Fine Gael (after a brief period with Fianna Fail, how it was undermined is a long story).

European Socialism tends to be identified with Statist top-down centralism, in the minds of the Greens, and of those seeking democratic reform of Europe from the bottom up (eg the submerged nations, like Scotland and Wales). The problems of the left-green convergence are:

(a) to get to Greens to appreciate the potentially positive and essential role of the State (eg in the enactment of property laws favouring democracy and the co-operative principle in business ownership, the right of workers to build up an equity stake etc), and

(b) to get the Left to understand the importance, not only of sustainable ecologically-benign development, but also of decentralised government (especially in Britain and France).

I see I sent you something on the Green-Left convergence in 1993, focusing on the NI question. Did you use it? Was there any response?

Top of the democratic reform agenda should be the reconstruction of the electoral system in Britain, with pressure on it from Europe to conform to European democratic norms.

Thank you for the opportunity to keep in touch. Please feel free to publish this letter if you think it worth while. Perhaps I should consider renewing my sub.

Yours sincerely / Dr Roy H W Johnston

PS: I see it's 2 years since I wrote before. Good to see you still trying to develop a meaningful European left network, by traditional means. Have you not yet begun to explore the possibilities of networking be e-mail and e-conferencing?

Patricia McKenna, Foreign Affairs, The Divorce Referendum

I wrote to Patricia early in the divorce campaign, in the context where we had been attending DFA seminars on Maastricht, and I had been campaigning to get the Greens to take up the potential of electronic networking. I took the opportunity to warn her about Anthony Coughlan, in passing.

Patricia McKenna MEP EP Office / 43 Molesworth St Dublin 2


Dear Patricia / May I place on record with you what I see as some key problems to be addressed, and what the position is regarding them.

1. Electronic networking: I have had a phone-call from Diana Johnstone, and I see that she has been actively developing the role of the GreenNet conferencing system for making known EP matters. I am encouraged to think that perhaps there is at last the beginnings of an awakening consciousness of the techno-political potential of electronic conferencing, among a few people, which may spread, in proportion as they are influential. An important step forward would be for the MEPs to make use of their personal computing facilities for e-mail, and for this facility to be extended to the Green offices. I do not have the resources to phone Brussels, nor do I have easy access to fax; these are expensive. The cheap and easy way, which I can use either from home or from work, is via the modem from the computer on my desk, and I am doing this all the time. So please let me have your internet addresses in Molesworth St and in Brussels, as soon as you have them up and running. Then we can keep in touch.

2. The Foreign Affairs seminars: it has dawned on me what they are up to; they are upstaging the Oireachtas Committee, and setting up a direct channel to the public under 'Humphrey' control. These events should have been organised by the Oireachtas Committee, which should be funded for the purpose. The various TDs on the committee should specialise in handling inputs from the various NGOs with FA interests, and see that their concerns are in the political arena- The DFA does not want this to happen; they want to keep it as an arcane mystery. Do you have the right to sit on the Oireachtas Committee? Can you raise this issue?

3. Divorce referendum: PLEASE don't give any support to Coughlan, who appears to be in the pocket of the Catholic Right on this issue. Where there is all-party Dail unanimity in trying to reverse progressively a repressive constitutional provision that was imposed in the 30s by the undue influence of an undemocratic patriarchal multinational corporation, over the dead bodies of genuine Enlightenment republicans (like Dorothy MacArdle, who broke with Dev over it), just sit tight and let it happen.

There are plenty of resources on the 'No' side; in fact, most pulpits, and a virulent fundamentalist element, funded from abroad. Progressives should not be seen dead in this company. This for me is a crunch issue. I look forward to be able to invite you to my wedding in the Churchtown meeting-house, if we get a yes. It we get a no, Janice will have to pay full inheritance tax, as if a stranger, on my decease.

Also, if there is a No majority again, the Northern Protestants will again say ha ha I told you so, Rome Rules OK. We simply can't afford not to get a Yes. Catholics, of course, who don't believe in divorce, can abide by their own church rules as long as they wish. They should not impose their church rule on others. I think you should come out publicly, and help to undo the damage Coughlan is doing. I am of course writing to him, but he is in my opinion beyond redemption, isolating himself into a corner.

All the best / RJ

The campaign developed, with an increasing input from Catholic fundamentalists, to whom Anthony Coughlan appeared increasingly to be in thrall. I took this up with him:

From: Roy Johnston and Janice Williams 22 Belgrave Rd Dublin 6

Sept 1 1995

To: Anthony Coughlan 24 Crawford Ave Drumcondra Dublin 9

Dear Tony / I have received your material. Are you out of your mind? Did you not see my letter to the IT in response to your initial article on this topic? I got anonymous letters as a result. By stirring up this issue in the way you have done and are doing you have given 'progressive credibility' to the worst elements in Irish politics.

For the first time we have what was the makings of a political consensus in the Dail on the revision of a constitutional provision that was put in by de Valera under pressure from JC McQuaid, over the dead bodies of Dorothy MacArdle, George Gilmore, my father Joe Johnston (he wasn't then in the Senate because Dev dissolved it in the run-up to his constitution: I wonder why?) and all those who supported the concept of the secular republic in the Enlightenment tradition.

The State is showing signs of standing up to the Church on a key issue on the 'liberal agenda', to bring us into line with the rest of European democracy, and removing rubbish that should never have been there in the first place. (Why is the 'liberal agenda' a dirty word with some so-called 'progressives'?)

The last thing we want is for so-called progressives, who give out that they are concerned with valid issues like Maastricht, to be rocking the boat, and giving heart to the Catholic right, that would, if it could, have us back in the old days of censorship, banned family planning, and running the Left off the streets. These people are no more interested in democracy than le Pen.

If the Dail has an all-party consensus on an issue, there is every argument for allowing it to inform the public about it. If the people who oppose the consensus are not represented in the Dail, it is apparently argued that the State should fund them. In this case, however, they are not short of funds, or of channels of public influence. They have every pulpit in the country, where no-one can answer them back, and this has been the problem since 1921, on most progressive issues. I would prefer to make the argument that if the Catholic right want to be in on the Dail, let them organise as such, and get elected, and not be maneuvering to influence parties behind the scenes, as they did in de Valera's time, and are doing now.

If your campaign succeeds, you will be able to celebrate the copper-fastening of the Catholic label on Irish national identity, and helping to fulfil a long-term British objective, in the company of the Catholic fundamentalist Right. Don't expect us to participate in the obsequies of Wolfe Tone's and Thomas Davis's Republic.

Yours truly / Roy H W Johnston / cc Patricia McKenna

PS Please feel free to circulate this letter for information to your supporters, in order to preserve the balance that you seem to think is important.

I wrote again to Patricia; she had not up to then been responsive, but I gained the impression that in the context of the campaign she did subsequently try to decouple the 'funding of referenda' issue from her own position regarding this one, and she did distance herself from the Catholic Right and the 'No' campaigners.

Patricia McKenna MEP EP Office / 43 Molesworth St Dublin 2


Dear Patricia / I wrote to Coughlan on Sept 1 about the divorce referendum and I copied it to you. It seems you were not in a position to take heed of it, which is a pity. Presumably it was that you had started something in the context of the Maastricht business, before you were in your MEP, and it went on with its own time-scale. Had you no control over the scheduling?

We are getting the vibes from all over - is Patricia out of her mind? Never mind Coughlan; he is beyond redemption. but yourself'? People who voted for you feel totally betrayed that you are taking the case that the 'no' side should be funded. They will 'have your guts for garters'.

There is absolutely no analogy with the Maastricht situation. We here have a fragile all-party consensus, where an actual progressive lead is being given, on a key church-state issue, against a well-funded international monopolistic corporation, the RC Church. In this context, it is totally ridiculous that you should be arguing for the Government to fund the Church.

Especially when the 'no' gang is visibly well-funded (from where?) and well-organised (by whom?). Could it be that the Brits dirty tricks dept have a hand, in order to copper-fasten Partition, and torpedo the peace process, keeping their cosy live training ground, for to win their Falklands wars with? I wouldn't put it past them. Always ask 'cui bono?'.

We are into damage-limitation, if not disaster-recovery. The least you can do is get on TV in one of the many divorce programmes, and take a hard line that the church has no right to dictate its canon law into the civil law for non-RCs. And to admit that your case while it may have been relevant with Maastricht, and could become relevant again, is NOT relevant for this situation, in that in this special situation the government has every right to spend money to reverse a constitutional provision that was put in by Dev under duress and should never have been there in the first place (his Protestant republican supporters never forgave him!). Especially when there is supposed to be an all-party consensus, even though it's only at front-bench level.

Let the backbenchers of FF form a party of the Christian fundamentalist right if they want to, forming an opposition destroying the all-party consensus. If they do this, then they would have a case I suppose, but would they split FF on the issue? I doubt it. They will it they want to remain as the republican party have to accept that the separation of church from state is an essential part of the republican democratic process, firmly rooted in the American and French revolutions, to which we owe all of our political philosophy. Let them accept the lead of their front bench on this issue, and come into the 19th century from the 17th.

We will need every possible help if this referendum is to be passed. If it is not passed, we will sink into provincialism and be the laughing-stock of Europe. In fact Janice and I will have to think of emigrating, and writing off this benighted country as a backwater. Did you not see Mary Holland on questions and answers practically in tears, overwhelmed by the ignorance of that stupid self-righteous little (named) bitch. You have no idea of the pain this blasted referendum is causing to the many unfortunate people like us who were looking forward at last to regularising our situation. PLEASE take a PUBLIC STAND!!!

Yours in sorrow / RJ

The referendum was won, by a hair, and we did in the end get married in the Churchtown meeting house, after I got my divorce. The latter was on the basis of documentation agreed with Mairin my ex-wife, and it took up some 5 minutes of the judge's time, and cost about £12 in a fee to a commissioner for oaths.

Work on the Green Party Constitution

We had been meeting on this for some time, in a small working group, centred round Phil Kearney, Sadhbh O'Neill and myself, with others from time to time. The motivation was a perception that the original constitution was ill-structured, and various 'cohesion meetings' and ad-hoc events had to be organised from time to time to keep public representatives in touch with activists. I made a somewhat unsuccessful attempt to set up a 'science policy development' procedure via a 'cohesion meeting' during 1996, and this contributed to my personal motivation for a constitutional reform. In this context we went to see Paul O'Higgins in his Wicklow retreat, he being now an academic constitutional lawyer of international repute.

TECHNE ASSOCIATES / Techno-Economic, Socio-Technical, Socio-Linguistic and Environmental Consultancy

PO Box 1881 / Rathmines / Dublin 6

Prof Paul O'Higgins / Christ's College / Cambridge CB2 3BU


re: Green Constitution

Dear Paul / Herewith a copy of the 4th draft of the Green Constitution; I have labelled it 4.1, as there is a further meeting to take place next Sunday, but I think it is well enough developed for you to start to look at it closely, and get back to us. We will do a 4.2 on Sunday and if there is anything substantive I would like to be able to fax it to you. We need to interact fairly quickly,as the Convention is in May, and we want to be able to circulate a strong document, with annotations, to all local groups, at least a month in advance. We are working towards a Feb 15 deadline.

I can be contacted on the phone as above in the evening or early morning, or on +353-1-284-0555 during the day.

Do you have a phone contact-point, also fax, and maybe even e-mail?

Yours sincerely / RoyJ

Draft 4.1 Revised Constitution of the Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
Derived from version as amended at the Convention of 10th April 1994 in Cork City. Additional inputs from Kilkenny workshop, from working group, with legal advice from meeting on Jan 7 1996 with P O'Higgins, and from additional meeting on Jan 21.

See also accompanying referenced notes. (not yet available in full with 4.1; some annotations are [in square brackets, thus]).


1.1 The name shall be the Green Party/Comhaontas Glas (hereinafter referred to as the Party).

1.2 The name shall always be qualified by a constituency regional, national or specialist designation, when used in the context of opening a bank account.


2.1 The impact of society on the environment should not be ecologically disruptive.

2.2 Conservation of resources is vital to a sustainable society.

2.3 All political, social and economic decisions should be taken at the lowest effective level.

2.4 Society should be guided by self-reliance and co-operation at all levels.

2.5 As caretakers of the earth we have the responsibility to pass it on to our successors in a fit and healthy state.

2.6 Economic growth is not an end in itself; it needs to be brought under socio-political control, implying the need for democratic control over the capital re-investment process.

2.7 The need for world peace overrides national and commercial interests.

2.8 The poverty of two thirds of the world's family demands a fair redistribution of the world's resources.

2.9 Decisions should as far as possible be on the basis of consensus.

2.10 There is no place for violence in the political process.


The primary objective of the Party shall be to promote the above principles by all means, including active participation in the political process.


4.1 A Member of the Party is defined as a person who

(a) accepts the Constitution of the Party
(b) is registered with their own Constituency Group of the Party.

In the event of non-existence of a Constituency Group, a member may register nationally until such time as a constituency body is established.

4.2 Obligations of membership are:

(a) to pay dues to the Party according to a scale laid down by National Convention in the Budget Resolution.
(b) to advance the objectives of the Party according to their ability.

4.3 A member who acts in such a way as to conflict with the policy, activities, principles or objectives of the Party shall be liable to expulsion, on the motion of the constituency group to which he or she is a member, subject to appeal to the Standing Orders and Appeals Committee (SOAC).

4.4 A group which opposes an agreed candidate in an election, or otherwise acts against the interests of the Party, shall be liable to expulsion as a whole on the basis of a motion at Council, with the group as a whole, or individual members thereof, having the right to appeal to the Appeals Committee (SOAC)
(see ** below)


The Party shall consist of local, constituency, regional, national and various specialist groupings.

5.1 Local and Constituency Groups

5.1.1 The basic grouping in the Party shall be the Dail Constituency Group, to which all members resident within the Constituency shall belong. A Constituency Group must be recognised by Council according to procedures laid down under Standing Orders.

5.1.2 Local groups may be formed where there are 5 or more members willing to meet together for local activity, and in this case the Constituency group may be set up on a representative basis, subject to organisational and financial procedures defined by Standing Orders.

5.2 Regional associations of constituency groups (Regional Councils) may be formed where there is a clear regional target for co-ordinated activity.

5.2.1 Where a Regional Council is set up on a representative basis, subject to procedures defined by Standing Orders, the elected officers of the Region shall act for the region as a whole, the constituency representative function being taken over by an elected substitute. (see also 5.7.1 where this principle applies to Council).

[Can this be defined once as an organisational principle?]

5.2.2 Specialist groups reporting to the Region may be set up by decision at regional level (eg groups of local elected representatives within the region, regional policy issue groups).

5.2.3 Where a Region forms part of a Euro-constituency, and there is an MEP, he or she shall attend and report if possible, and if unable to attend, supply a written report to the Regional Council meetings.

5.3 The basis of local to constituency representation, or constituency to regional representation, shall be determined from time to time by the Standing Orders Committee, taking into account the overall numerical and geographical development of the membership of the Party.

5.4 National Council:

There shall exist a National Council which shall meet at intervals between Conventions, to which all Constituency and Regional Groups shall be affiliated. There shall be at least 4 Council meetings between Conventions, and the interval between them shall not exceed 3 months.

5.4.1 The primary task of Council shall be the development of policy in accordance with guidelines laid down by the National Convention.

5.4.2 The basis of representation of Constituency Groups and Regional Councils on the National Council shall be one representative per entity, who shall serve continuously for not less than one year and not more than three. Additional delegates, without voting rights, may be selected prior to Council meetings taking into account the National Council agenda and the possible need for specialist knowledge. In the event of the continuous representative not being available for a Council meeting, a substitute with voting rights, who has had Council experience, shall be selected and briefed.

5.4.3 Elections for the representative to National Council shall take place at the first meeting of the Constituency Group or Regional Council subsequent to Convention, according to procedures defined by Standing Orders.

5.5 Meetings of Constituency and Regional groups, and of Council, shall be convened and run according to Standing Orders, with minutes being kept by an elected recording secretary having continuous responsibility for their accurate maintenance.

5.5.1 Specialist groups may be set up by National or Regional Councils, which shall report to Council, either as a routine or by special request. Specialist groups may be either policy development groups or action groups implementing Party policy.

5.5.2 Elected public representatives at local, Oireachtas and EP levels shall have the status of 'specialist action groups'. If there are one or two elected representatives, they shall attend their relevant Regional and/or National council meetings, or if unable to attend, send a written report. If there are more than two, they shall constitute a Specialist Action Group, with convener and deputy convener representing them at their relevant Regional or National Council meetings.

5.5.3 Voting rights at Council shall be vested in

(a) elected Constituency and Regional representatives
(b) members of the National Executive
(c) Council members having public representative status, ie the convener and deputy conveners of the elected representatives' groups, where these exist.

5.6 National Executive: There shall exist a National Executive which shall manage the administration of the Party, and be responsible for ensuring its development and expansion. The tasks shall include the following:

5.6.1 To take decisions on matters that require immediate action according to policy, reporting back to Council.

5.6.2 To administer the Party office and employ staff, including an Executive Secretary, who shall attend and keep the minutes of meetings, and implement the decisions of both Council and National Executive, and where necessary refer enquiries to the Secretary (see 5.7.5 below) or to appropriate specialists (eg policy development and action group conveners, see 5.5.1-2 above).

5.6.3 To obtain information from all Party groups and individual members on their carrying out of any functions or tasks entrusted to them by the Party, and to provide guidelines for their execution.

5.6.4 To formulate proposals for Council to consider, and to prepare the agenda of Council meetings, including topics submitted in good time by groups, with suggestions as to how time should be apportioned. In the formulation of the Council agenda, the National Executive shall have the power to negotiate the compounding of resolutions, according to standing orders, in the same way as the Standing Orders Committee fulfils this task for the Convention.

5.7 The National Executive shall consist of a total of 12 elected members, of whom five shall be elected by Convention and the remainder by the first Council to meet after Convention, from the elected constituency representatives.

5.7.1 Council members who are elected to the National Executive shall vacate their status as constituency representatives, being replaced in that role by elected successors.

[Can this, along with 5.2.1 be embedded in a common organisational principle, somewhere?]

5.7.2 Gender balance shall be preserved by a women's panel procedure, consisting of 2 out of 5 at Convention, and 3 out of 7 at Council, with women free to stand again in the second round.

[This is subject to a re-drafting by Sadhbh. RJ]

5.7.3 No person may serve on the National Executive for more than 3 inter-Convention periods consecutively, after which they must stand down for at least 2 periods.

5.7.4 The National Executive may be impeached by Council, on the initiative of at least 3 members, by a 75% majority vote, in the event of serious breach of standing orders or constitutional procedure, in which case a Special Convention must be called to initiate its re-election, prior to which the SOAC shall act as caretaker.

5.7.5 The National Executive shall elect, from among its own members, a Coordinator and Deputy, who shall act as the link between the National Executive and the Executive Secretary between meetings of the former.

5.8 Standing Orders Committee: There shall exist a Standing Orders Committee, elected at Annual Convention.

5.8.1 The SOC shall consist of 5 members who have served at least 2 periods on the National Executive...

[or, transitionally, on the Co-0ordinating Committee prior to the adoption of this Constitution]

...but are not currently serving...

[they are thus familiar with procedures and procedural problems, and are not under pressure of current decision-making; this is for the notes accompanying; this is also for the notes]

...If initially there are not enough experienced members, a lesser number, defined provisionally as 4, shall be elected, with power to co-opt one other having relevant experience to make up the full number.

[the foregoing sentence is a transitional provision and subject to revision in the light of practical possibilities.]

5.8.2 It shall be responsible for drafting and monitoring Standing Orders governing procedures at Convention, Council, National Executive, Regional Council, Constituency and local group levels, and for ensuring that all SO updating proposals are presented clearly at Convention.

5.8.3 It shall draft the Agenda for Annual and Special Conventions, for circulation in advance to all delegates; the agenda shall be subject to adoption at the start of the Convention according to current Standing Orders.

[The current procedure is that the Convention adopts its own standing orders in real time, and this has been a cause of serious disruption.]

5.8.4 It shall arrange the schedule of resolutions on the agenda, and be empowered to propose and negotiate compounding of related resolutions in consultation with their proposers.

5.8.5 It shall monitor, in real time, the progress of the Convention, and provide an off-stage forum where re-scheduling can if necessary be negotiated.

5.8.6 Its initial task, after election under this clause, shall be to draft Standing Orders suitable for adoption by, and use at, Council, National Executive, Constituency group, local group and Regional group, in that order of priority.

5.8.7 The initial drafts of SOs may be amended during the first year of their operation by resolution of the body to which they relate. Amended SO documents shall be considered by the SOAC prior to the following annual convention, with a view to preparing revised SO documents as convention resolutions, after which they shall become binding for the following year, subject to revision only by convention resolution.[This is a transitional clause.]

5.8.8 The SOC shall itself constitute a panel from which may be drawn experienced 'cathaoirlaigh' who may be invited to conduct, without themselves having voting rights, the meetings of the National Executive or the National Council, or Regional Councils, according to current Standing Orders.

5.9 Appeals Committee: There shall be set up, when required, an Appeals Committee, consisting of the members of the Standing Orders Committee without any of of its members who may be concerned in the dispute, their places being taken by co-opted members, at the discretion of the remaining members of the SOC. When considering appeals, the Appeals Committee shall hear evidence from both sides of the case and shall have power to lift a withdrawal of group membership,. or suspension or expulsion of a member.


6.1 Decisions whether at local meetings, constituency meetings, Council meetings or Conventions, shall, where possible, be made by consensus. Procedures for attempting to achieve consensual decision-making, by a process of successive amendments, shall be subject to guidelines laid down by the SOAC.

6.1.1 Policy development groups, covering policy areas defined by Council, may be set up by resolution of Council, with an agreed composition and if necessary a sub-committee structure, and a named convener or group of conveners, who shall report to Council from time to time when requested, or on their own initiative.

6.2 Policy documents shall be produced from time to time by concerned working groups who are familiar with the policy area.

6.3 Policy documents shall consist of sections distinguishing the background analysis of the problem, the principles underlying the long-term solution, and the proposed immediate politically relevant next steps, the latter section being in the form of a draft resolution for adoption by Council of Convention, the earlier sections being regarded as supportive explanation.

6.4 Policy documents and accompanying resolutions shall be circulated to all recognised groups, who shall have the right to propose written amendments to the Council or Convention meetings at which the policy is to be considered, subject to Standing Orders procedures.

6.5 The substantive resolution, with amendments embedded, as adopted by Council or Convention, shall then become the policy of the party.

6.6 Conveners of Standing Committees (policy development groups) shall ensure that elected representatives are briefed, and shall be available on call in support of press conferences called by elected representatives, acting in a supportive specialist spokesperson capacity.

6.7 Policy-oriented resolutions for Convention shall be in the general form '...that in the light of event X we empower Council to set up a policy working group to examine topic Y, with special reference to factor Z...'. Council is then obliged to elaborate the actual policy, during the following period. The role of Convention shall be to emphasise the educational and public awareness aspects of the background papers coming out of the policy groups, leaving the details of policy to Council (see 7 below).


7.1 Conventions shall be of two types: (a) annual and (b) special. At all conventions all paid-up members of the Party shall be entitled to attend as observers but only those elected by local, constituency or regional groups shall be entitled to participate in the decision-making process.

[The current practice is that all paid-up members may attend; we need however to reconcile party growth with the available size of hall. There is here an SO role.]

7.11 Annual Conventions shall take place at intervals of approximately 12 months; under exceptional circumstances the interval may be as long as 15 months or as short as 9 months.

7.2 The representative basis of Conventions shall be one member per local group, two members per constituency group (who shall not have dual representative status), two members per regional group, and all members of the national Executive and SOAC [But see note to 7.1]

7.3 The National Executive shall call a special Convention if requested by three or more constituency groups.

7.4 The Annual Convention shall

(a) Hear, discuss and accept, or refer to Council for elaboration, reports from the National Executive, from Standing Committees, and from the Parliamentary and Local Government Groups.

(b) Debate resolutions relating to the topics of the foregoing reports, which shall be discussed in their context, and shall form part of the policy development procedure, for subsequent elaboration by Council within guidelines agreed at Convention.

(c) Hear, discuss and accept, or refer to Council for modification with recommendations, an annual financial report and budget for the coming year.

(d) Elect 3 trustees, hon treasurer and auditor.

(e) Elect 5 members of the incoming National Executive.

(f) Elect the Standing Orders and Appeals Committee with responsibility for the next Convention, for ongoing monitoring of standing orders, for hearing appeals, and providing facilitation at National Executive and Council meetings in the coming year.

(g) Revise this constitution, according to the procedures laid down in Section 11.}


8.1 The primary sources of funds shall be (a) annual membership subscriptions paid by members to their local constituency treasurer (b) profits of fund-raising events organised nationally, regionally, at constituency level or locally (c) individual donations and bequests (d) contributions from the salaries and expenses of elected representatives.

8.2 The proportional share of these sources to be allocated to national, regional, constituency and local activities shall be laid down annually in the form of budget guidelines, in the form of a resolution to Convention, introduced by the Treasurer.

8.3 The accounts of the Party shall be audited annually by an Auditor or firm of Auditors chosen by the Annual Convention for that purpose, and presented to Convention in a Financial Report, which shall have been circulated in advance, according to procedures laid down in Standing Orders.

8.4 (Define the role of the Trustees?)

[We need guidance on this; it becomes relevant if the Party owns property; should we perhaps register a co-op to own the property? How do we spread the load of possible debts?]


9.1 Selection meetings shall be called by the Constituency group if this exists; otherwise, by the National Executive. The procedure and timetable for the selection of Party candidates shall be subject to Standing Orders.

9.2 Any Party member wishing to stand as a candidate for the Party in a Local, General or Euro election in a constituency where there is no local, constituency or regional group of the Party must have acceptance by resolution of National Executive, which may lay down conditions as it sees fit.

9.3 Public representatives if and when elected shall be accountable to the members of the Party directly at local, constituency and regional level, and through specialist group representation (as under 5.5.2) at Council and Convention, they shall attend National Executive meetings when asked to do so, the dates of such meetings being negotiable.

9.4 Public representatives shall accept briefings from Standing Committee conveners regarding Party policy, and shall make use of the latter in support of press conferences and other public events where relevant and feasible.

9.5 A public representative should demonstrate Green ideals by his/her style of life as well as the spoken word.

9.6 In clear matters of conscience, an elected representative who is at variance with Party policy previously agreed upon shall be free, with the assent of Council, to abstain on that issue. He/she shall be free to express his/her personal views while, stressing the Party position.

9.7 A Green public representative shall not accept any money, gifts or benefits in kind in connection with his/her political work without the knowledge and approval of the Party. A Green representative shall be required to remit whatever portion of his/her remuneration to Party funds as is decided beforehand by Convention under the Budget Resolution to appropriate, subject to the principles of equity and opposition to careerism and political profiteering. A Pledge shall be signed to this effect on adoption as candidate, as drafted by the Secretary and approved by Council.


10.1 This constitution shall be subject to adoption as a whole by 75% majority. Any proposed amendment must be submitted from a constituency group in time for circulation to all with the conference documentation. If the amendment receives more than 25% support, but does not receive the necessary 75% majority, it shall be referred as a negotiating document to a group consisting of the proposer, seconder and the Constitution Working Group for consensual development. When finally adopted, the main section of the constitution in which it is embedded shall be voted on separately, requiring a 75% majority for acceptance.

[This is a transitional clause; maybe we need a separate section for such clauses?]

10,2 This Constitution may be revised, according to the procedure of 10.1, at any Convention subject to Convention standing orders, which must provide for proposed constitutional amendments to be made available for consideration by all members in advance.

10.3 All bodies within the Party must abide by Standing Orders as agreed at Convention for the conduct of their meetings, except during the first year of the operation of this Constitution, when they may be amended by written resolution circulated in advance, and passed by a 75% majority. Copies of such amendments shall be sent to the SOAC for consideration in the context of the first round of Standing Orders revision.

10.4 Amendments to Standing Orders shall be introduced in the form of Convention resolutions. The SOC may recommend acceptance, rejection or amendment of any proposed amendments from any source.

The foregoing was the essentials of the Constitution as it finally was adopted in 1997, after some tweaking. It has on the whole stood the test of time, though the question of the delegate representative character of national convention still needs to be resolved. All members currently (2002) can go and have voting rights, and in practice about 25% of members go, which means that Convention is dominated by the flavour of its location, an unhealthy situation. We will watch this space.

TECHNE ASSOCIATES / Techno-Economic, Socio-Technical, Socio-Linguistic and Environmental Consultancy / PO Box 1881 / Rathmines / Dublin 6

Prof Paul O'Higgins / Christ's College / Cambridge CB2 3BU

11/5/96 / re: Green Constitution

Dear Paul / I feel I should update you on the fate of our work to date. It was on the agenda at the Westport convention, and has got discussed, but not yet accepted. What they have done is set up a steering committee to organise for an adjourned Convention the re-convene at the end of June, by which time it will have been circulated, and a procedure set up for amendments to be considered. There is also a procedure set up for nominations for the elections to be received, so the whole thing can go through in one event. This is what we originally had in mind for Westport, but there was simply not enough time to give it the attention it deserved.

Tom Simpson gave instruction for your very modest bill to be paid, and they were going to throw in a book token for something like £30 or so, but when I saw the state of their finances at the Convention it will not surprise me if they drag their feet on this. Under the old Constitution there is no proper budget or financial control provision, with Council deciding to do things costing money, totally in the dark. If nothing comes in the next week or two, let me know, and I'll remind them.

Phil was upset that we didn't get it through in one go, but I reassured him; there is a lot of support for it from the key practical people on the ground, who are fed up with current Council indecision.

I mentioned about Kalunta and the 'Dear Daughter' programme. Ghosts from the past come think and fast. I went on May 1 to Barbara's funeral. She had married one John Miller, a Dublin Protestant accountant, whose ideas were such an extreme-right joke that she simply didn't take them seriously; they seemed to get on well; he had a boat; I went as crew with him once; he is good company. I used to encounter Barbara at the Young Scientists, where she was a judge; she had a distinguished scientific career. Her last act, some weeks before she died, was to attend a scientific conference in Prague; she already knew she was terminal. At the funeral reception there was on display the plaque she got in Prague in 1950, when she went in her capacity as SRC Chairman, I seem to remember. She undoubtedly was a 'tough cookie', as they say.

The elder sister Betty married Jim Bremner and they worked at Windscale. She was working in the garden on the day of that disaster in the 50s, and picked up a bad dose, from which she subsequently died. She had a daughter who was subsequently active in CND, on foot of that. There is much to be done on the issue of the nuclear industry, and its cover-up.

Yours sincerely / RJ

Reforming the Orange Order?

Early in 1996 (I have no record of the exact date) the Orange Order ran a sort of outreach meeting in Buswell's Hotel in Dublin, in which they made a political effort to justify their existence. One of the spokesmen was Henry Reid, a beef farmer in Fermanagh, and I had some talk with him afterwards. Subsequently Janice and I visited him on his farm, after attending a Quaker gathering in Lisnaskea. We had some talk about possible common interest areas, one being the need for an all-Ireland Department of Agriculture, to defend the island against imported animal diseases. I subsequently wrote to him as follows:

From: Dr Roy Johnston 22 Belgrave Road Rathmines Dublin 6

April 7 1996

To: Henry Reid Greenmount Rd Gortaclare Omagh BT79 0YE Co Tyrone

Dear Henry

I am only now getting round to writing to thank you for receiving us last Sunday. We both enjoyed the encounter and found it interesting and stimulating. Let me pick up on some of the points discussed, and maybe we can take them further.

Where to begin? I had yesterday an encounter with Stephen King who is a member of the Unionist Party and adviser to John Taylor. He was at the Buswells event, and yesterday read a paper to a conference in the Glencree Reconciliation Centre, organised by Servas (jointly between Britain and Ireland). Servas is a traveller-host network which is world-wide, with peace objectives, founded by an American ex-soldier after the last war. I listened to Stephen's paper, and formed the impression that there was a willingness there to consider all-Ireland institutions where obviously in the mutual interest, as in agriculture and tourism; also in cross-border regional development, where (as in Donegal and Derry) a natural hinterland has been carved up by Partition.

There also appears to be some interest in decoupling Unionism from the Protestant religious aspect. The obstacle to this is of course the link with the Orange Order. He undertook to send me a copy of the paper, and I gave him my address. When I see it I will comment on it in detail.

It seems to me that what we need from the 'all-party talks' (if they can in the end be made to happen) is a constitutional settlement within the Union which will give enough autonomy to Northern Ireland to enable it to deal directly with Dublin on matters of common concern, without having to refer everything to London, and with a local/regional structure having the power to set up cross-border regional development agencies, with the right to refer to Brussels without reference to either London of Dublin. This should take care of the agriculture, fisheries, industrial development, tourism etc aspects of government with enough local and regional participation to ensure that no-one felt threatened. If investment pours in it can be a win-win situation; it is essential to get rid of the perception that a gain for Catholics is a loss for Protestants, and vice versa. There seemed to be the makings of an acceptance of this scenario in Stephen's paper.

If such a constitutional settlement is to be acceptable to the hard-core Republicans, however, it would be necessary to include a proviso that it is politically legitimate and not 'subversive' to work politically within the system to persuade Protestants that it is in their interest to join in with the Republic, making it genuinely pluralist, and that if this were to be decided in a referendum, Britain would not stand in the way of the Irish re-unification process. There have been statements to this effect before now from the British Government, though it has not been embodied in the Government of Ireland Act. These statements are at the root of the current Unionist unease, giving rise to the perception that they are being 'sold out'.

What I would like to know from you is: what acts on the part of the Dublin Government would reassure Protestants that in the event of such a process taking place, their faith would not be under threat? Would it, for example, be helpful if Protestants in the Republic were from time to time to parade publicly to celebrate their religion, and this were to be supported by prominent public figures of the Protestant faith (of whom there are many)?

If such a parade were to take place in the Republic, it could celebrate the positive achievements of the Reformation, and also perhaps welcome the process going on the the Catholic Church whereby in the end some aspects of the Reformation are belatedly happening (Mass in the vernacular etc), in the spirit of lending a friendly helping hand, rather than dismissing the unreformed elements as superstition.

The Orange Order could perhaps form the focus of such parades if it were to drop its self-definition in terms of opposition to 'Catholic superstition and idolatry', and define itself in terms of religious freedom, civil rights and the rule of law. It could not hope to form the focus of parades in the Republic (outside the few areas where it has persisted) on its current self-definition.

On the matter of the 'Rome Rule' aspect, we mentioned the divorce referendum. Gerard Casey, who led the 'No' campaign of the 'Catholic Right', had complained that no party represented his views, or the views of the 'No' voters, all party leaderships being supportive of a Yes vote, even Fianna Fail (Bertie Ahern being himself in a 'second relationship', with public acceptance). Ger Casey stood in the recent Dublin West by-election. He got about 700 votes. I think this says something. The other one was Nora Bennis. She is in Limerick, and has founded a new 'National Party'. We will she how she does in the next General Election. I doubt if she will pick up the Fianna Fail Right to any significant extent. The 'No' campaign is on the whole in discredit.

The other aspect of the Orange Order that needs somehow to be moderated is the drumming, the objective of which is to strike terror into the hearts of Catholics; in this there is no doubt that it is successful. You have to ask, however, is it necessary, and is it Christian? Could not drumming be made into a competitive event, in a defined location, and the musical aspect played up, and the martial aspect played down?

To return to the Republic: an aspect of the introduction of the Mass in the vernacular, coupled with the dropping of the ban on entry to Protestant churches, is that people attend each others funerals all over Ireland now, once they are friends and neighbours. My sister in Nenagh has observed this over the years; she was married to the Rector; funerals used to be poorly attended; now everyone comes. Catholics remark on how the C of I service is so similar to the vernacular Mass.

So it would come as a good gesture of the Orange Order were to drop its ban on attendance at Mass, and enable neighbours to respect each others sacramental occasions irrespective of religion.

What is the chance of any of these proposals this getting on the agenda of an Annual Convention?

Please feel free to discuss any of these points with your colleagues in the Order. I would be interested to see whether they sink like 'lead balloons' or stand a chance of being taken up for serious consideration.

As we said we hope to get to the John Hewitt School in August, and perhaps we will try to arrange to come up the weekend before it, and sample the services of your guest-house, say July 26-27; you might like to take this as a provisional booking, subject to confirmation nearer to the time.

In conclusion let me say that I hope this time it will be possible to take the guns and bombs out of the situation for good. They have had too long an innings. I was involved before, when I was younger and had more energy, and perhaps more illusions, in trying to do just that, in the process that led to the formation of the Civil Rights Movement. When it all blew up in August 69, and the Provisionals were formed in response, I accepted defeat, and turned to other tasks. I have begun to take the issue up again however in recent times, and this time round it seems that the situation in some ways is more hopeful.

I look forward to your response and hope we can keep the discussion going constructively.

Yours sincerely / Dr Roy H W Johnston

Unfortunately nothing seems to have come of this approach; perhaps it got discussed internally and dismissed; the evidence seems to be that the Order is increasingly being abandoned by the liberal element, and left under the control of the type of ignorant Protestant-hegemonists who appear to be behind the annual Drumcree provocations. I did however make a further effort to reach out to the Orange Order, via their web-site. I contacted them through this channel, and they put me in touch with Cecil Kilpatrick, who fulfils and educational role within the order. We corresponded for some time, and I went to see him, at his home near Hillsborough. Here are some of my letters to him:

TECHNE ASSOCIATES / Techno-Economic, Socio-Technical, Socio-Linguistic and Environmental Consultancy / PO Box 1881 / Rathmines / Dublin 6

Cecil Kilpatrick / 8 Artifinney Road / Hillsborough / Co Down BT26 6JP

April 13 1997 / Dear Cecil

Wow! I had expected some critical comments on John Hume's book, but I must say I had not anticipated the depth of feeling generated. I am sorry if I was responsible for raising your blood-pressure. Let me however try to address your concerns and seek to be constructive, difficult though this task may appear.

1. I was never consciously aware the John Hume went to Maynooth. He would have been there at a time when the RC Church was beginning to modernise. The fact that he dropped out of training for the priesthood I would have thought should stand to his credit. Maynooth is now a modern university, part of NUI. The Physics Professor there Susan McKenna Lawlor runs a campus company making instrumentation for space-probes; one of her devices had a close encounter with Halley's comet. Even in the black years of the last century Maynooth had its modernisers; Susan' predecessor Nicholas Callan was a pioneer in electrotechnics, inventing the induction coil as a means of generating high voltages. It was then a seminary. It no longer is a seminary, but a full-fledged university campus, offering a degree as good as any British university.

2. The contrivance of Northern Ireland, by shedding the more RC fringe of the more natural geographic unit Ulster, is historically well authenticated. Prior to Partition the industrialisation of the North-East was the key to the modernisation of Ireland as a whole. You only have to look at the railway map as it was then: the linking of Dundalk and Newry, both industrial towns, to Greenore as their export outlet; the linking of Sligo to Belfast via Collooney and Clones (in which enterprise the Gore-Booths of Sligo had a hand); the development of the Foxford woollen-mills (in Mayo) with expertise from Lurgan; the Donegal light railway system feeding Strabane and Derry. Protestant industry in the north-east was the engine for the modernising of the whole country. Harry Ferguson (of tractor fame) built Ireland's first aircraft, and exhibited it at the Sinn Fein Irish Manufactures exhibition in Dublin in 1912 or thereabouts. Home rule was an opportunity, and many Protestants supported it, including my father Joe Johnston. The Larne gun-running wrecked all that, and initiated the cycle of violence that is still with us. There would have been no 1916 if Carson and co had not initiated the arming process.

3. Faulkner went to the same school in Dublin as I did. I was a contemporary of his brother Denis. He was the makings of a de Clerk-like figure and the Sunningdale agreement, with a constructive 'Irish dimension', would have provided good government if it had been let. Paddy Devlin, for whom you have some regard, wrote very positively, in his autobiography 'Straight Left', about his experience in government with Faulkner under Sunningdale. The Irish dimension was perceived as a threat by some, and that brought it down. I suggest that Sunningdale-like arrangements should be looked at closely again for their constructive potential, and the Irish dimension therein examined as opportunities rather than as threats.

4. The ratio of MPs elected to Westminster is a reflection of the lack of PR and the UK electoral system is going to come under increasing pressure to conform to the European norm. This however is not enough, you need a system in which peoples voting patterns are not dictated by religious or tribal factors, in which it might be feasible for a cross-community Labour Party to emerge, or indeed a Green party (in the European sense).

5. I too look back with nostalgia to the epoch when people like Gerry Fitt, Paddy Devlin, Paddy O'Hanlon and Austin Curry were front-runners, and if John Hume has been responsible for their marginalisation, then that is to his discredit. You could perhaps add Ivan Cooper to that list, a good Protestant; however under the pressures of the IRA-dominated situation he dropped out of politics and ended up managing a factory in Westport, in the footsteps of his predecessors who went to Foxford, confirming the role of the Protestant culture in all-Ireland industrialisation.

6. The model for handling of cultural minorities in border areas is the Danish-German agreement about Schleswig-Holstein. The Anglo-Irish Agreement has some analogous features. It should however be possible for whatever political entity emerges in Northern Ireland for it to have the right to do business with the Republic to the mutual advantage, and to respect equally the cultural rights of Protestants and RCs. It is my conviction that the Republic will in the end emerge as the best guarantor of the Protestant cultural tradition, and this sooner or later this perception will break through into the Northern Protestant consciousness, as the role of the English monarchy declines in the overall context of a disintegrating Britain. Where I fault John Hume is his failure to state the case openly that Protestantism does not need unionism. He defers to what he calls the 'unionist tradition', giving it a perceived priority over Protestantism. He forgets that it was the Protestants of the 1790s who invented the Republic.

7. To come to recent events: it looks as if the GOLI is still having trouble over the question of march routes, and how to negotiate with residents. I don't think residents' groups should be automatically dismissed as being IRA fronts. I suggest that ordinary non-political RC people living in a road have a genuine right to object to triumphalist songs like Dolly's Brae, Croppies Lie Down etc being belted out by bands passing along. In Britain it would be banned under the Race Relations Act, if the march was of whites through a black ghetto and the songs were of similar genre. In the US it is the norm for marches for anything anywhere to be negotiated with the residents on the route. My guess is that if this principle was conceded, the residents would say, fine, but don't play certain tunes. This I suspect was the mediated arrangement that was rejected by the Lodge. Who has voting rights at Lodge meetings? Are they strictly local, or can they be packed by people coming in from afar? There appears to be a hint of the latter, and this if true would suggest that the Order has a serious problem on its hands.

8. I have read and re-read John Hume's p57 and the main fault I find with it is his use of the word Unionist where he means Protestant. His last sentence, to which you take exception, says that 'Britain can create the conditions in which Protestants can perceive and pursue their true interests'. This in my opinion is a valid statement, and it implies that if, in the overall European context, Protestants feel that they can get a better deal by working via a nearby Government in Dublin than via a remote one in London, they should be entitled to. This might mean their abandoning Unionism, but so what? We are all Unionists now, in the European Union!

On that note I close, wishing you well in your attempts to achieve a peaceful marching season. / Yours sincerely / Roy H W Johnston

TECHNE ASSOCIATES / Techno-Economic, Socio-Technical, Socio-Linguistic and Environmental Consultancy / PO Box 1881 / Rathmines / Dublin 6 Cecil Kilpatrick / 8 Artifinney Road / Hillsborough / Co Down BT26 6JP

May 5 1997 / Dear Cecil

In yours of April 26 you raise some very interesting questions which are relevant to the current re-examination of the historical record, which is going on in Ireland and in Britain. There is a strong group in Cambridge, and there is a whole network of Irish Studies departments, in Britain and in the USA, which are actively churning out new material. It would seem to me that the issues you raise in the first part of your letter, about the relationship between the Home Rule Bills and the subsequent importation of arms, initially at Larne and subsequently at Howth, needs re-examination.

I often wonder if Mountbatten, when he organised the pull-out from India, was consciously modelling the procedure on the Irish experience, when he ensured that both sides of a religious divide (which divide the British had actively encouraged) were armed? The writings of Salman Rushdie, who is an Indian Muslim, some of which I have read (eg Midnight's Children), evoke for me a view not dissimilar to that of the Southern Protestants.

I am not going to take up the specifics, but simply to suggest that maybe the Irish Studies people in Britain could be persuaded to organise a conference, in some suitably selected location (why not Maynooth?! they feed you well there!), on the 'ethnic cleansing' theme in the Irish context. Or, indeed, Loughgall, or somewhere near it where there is a conference centre. I have recently attended a conference on history of science in Ireland which was split between Armagh and Benburb, with the latter as the residence location. Such a conference could treat the visitors from abroad to field trips. If you are interested in taking this up, I can put you on to the contacts.

Regarding Haughey and the Provisionals: you are quite right. The 60s Sinn Fein was attempting to get out of the military business, and the provision of arms by some Fianna Fail elements was a conscious attempt to encourage a split, and to prevent Sinn Fein from evolving into a political movement with appeal to working people across the religious divide.

Sunningdale also needs to be looked at critically. All these historical questions need dispassionate analysis if we are to learn their lessons constructively. For me Paddy Devlin's account up to now seems the most convincing, but the full picture needs to be pieced together from many sources. A conference on 'revisiting Sunningdale' with papers from Trinity, Queens, Cambridge etc, would be of great interest.

We need events at which intellectual contact can be made, and some sort of post-national vision projected, to pave the way for Ireland, and the different nations of Britain, participating in the European Union. We also need a vision at the European Union level, in which the smaller nations are enabled to stand up in their own right without the hegemony of the old imperial powers, like France, Spain, Germany and Britain. The miracle of the European Union is that it includes France and Germany. Britain looks like at last becoming a genuine participant in the process, under Blair. In the European context, for centuries wars have been national or imperial rather than religious. The religious wars were in the 16th and 17th centuries. These were echoed in Ireland under Elizabeth I and Cromwell. William marked the end of that epoch, though Catholicism remained a perceived problem up to the 19th century, and this no doubt has fuelled the Orange Order. However Catholicism as such has ceased to be a threat, in Ireland or in Europe. In this context let me now come around to your 1997 brochure, for which many thanks.

I note the brochure is dated July 1997. Does this mean that it is not yet published, and you are favouring me with a view of a proof copy? If so, maybe my comments can form part of your market research in getting the final formulation of the wording.

1. I suggest that stressing the 'ethnic cleansing' concept as part of the foundation-process is unnecessarily abrasive. It prompts an aggressive response along the lines that the Ulster Plantation was itself and 'ethnic cleansing' episode, as indeed was Cromwell's 'to Hell or Connaught' operation. I am not suggesting what form of words could be put in to define the foundation process in one paragraph, but maybe a suitable formulation could emerge from an objective study of suitable historical material, and this could be among the objectives of an Irish Studies conference along the lines I have suggested.

2. I have no problem with a movement consisting of individuals of the reformed religions coming together to defend freedom of religion, where this is under threat. Nor, where it is not under threat (as is the case today), do I have a problem with coming together to celebrate the achievement of this freedom.

3. I have however a problem with the mechanism of spread via 'military warrants', being a Quaker. This suggests to me that it was part of the ideology of militarism on which the British Empire depended. If this aspect is prominent in the 'shop window' than I doubt if many Quakers would be willing to join. It would be interesting to study the motivation of those who introduced it to Quebec and Australia. Both are locations where I can imagine that Catholicism was perceived as a threat, in one case being of French and the other of Irish origin. Is this still a perception in those places? Togo? Why there I wonder. Could it have had to do with the role of the Royal Navy in the 1914-18 war? Ghana? 1928? Ghana was not in existence until the 50s; it was then the 'Gold Coast', and a colony. Why 1928 I wonder? This is all good raw material for understanding the historical process, and the Irish Studies people should be looking into it.

4. The material on p3 I have few problem with, except perhaps to suggest that the concepts 'biblical error' and 'scriptural truth' need elaboration. What particular 'biblical error' is opposed? What is 'scriptural truth'? Words change meaning; meaning is lost in translation; I have problems with any interpretation of the Bible that claims 'absolute truth' and ignores the historical contexts of the various books in it. There is a role for critical biblical scholarship. I think it would be a pity if the 'freedom of religion' message was drowned in the noise of Protestant fundamentalism.

5. The message of p4 is positive, and is reflected in the stand made by Saulter at Harryville.

6. The 'Basis' message on p5 ties the Order to what is called the 'House of Windsor, being Protestant'. This is of course the House of Hanover, with its origins in Germany, which changed its name to Windsor under the pressure of the 1914 war. Its role as defender of the Protestant religion looks increasingly dubious. As I said, the Irish Republic defends it better. The Bishops of the C of E sit in the Lords. What about the Presbyterians? The role of the monarchy in the support of the Protestant religion is somewhat uneven. If as a result of the projected Blair constitutional reforms the C of E is disestablished, and there is brought in a written constitution, the 1690 (unwritten) Constitution (under which Britain has since evolved) will have been superseded. I can see the difficulty of formulating a 'basis' message without this, however, as it may be questioned by some whether there is one. My original point, in starting this correspondence, is that there *is* in fact a basis, and it resides in support for the principles of freedom of religion and the rule of law under a legislatively defined Constitution, and opposition to absolute monarchy, with support for the latter being given by the Roman Church. What I was suggesting is that this 'basis' is due for modernisation, taking into account that neither of the two latter factors are in fact a threat any longer.

To return now to your letter, and your final points of explanation of the structure and voting rights. It may as you say be unwieldy at the Grand Lodge level, but does this not have the status of a delegate convention, and can it not elect a National Executive to manage its business between conventions? At the lower levels the democratic structure seems to be impeccable. Would it not perhaps be feasible to persuade the Grand Lodge to initiate a process that would lead to the critical reappraisal of the Anglo Irish Agreement, making use of the energy of the Irish Studies people in the British academic establishment? It would perhaps be illuminating to compare the processes that led to it with those which led to the agreements between Germany and Denmark, Sweden and Finland etc regarding minorities in mixed border areas? If you are interested in taking this up, I will take soundings among my contacts in the UK academic world.

Yours sincerely / Roy H W Johnston

I followed this a month later on June 5 1997 with some reflections based on the foregoing Indian references:

I see mine of May 5 triggered a flood of Indian reminiscences. They support the interpretation suggested in the Attenborough film on Ghandi, in which the Mountbatten influence is suggested to have been malign. I was not suggesting that Mountbatten was modelling the total process on anything that happened in Ireland, but the underlying philosophy of British rule was along the lines that they only understood politics on the basis of religious segregation, and that this practice is deeply rooted in history, with the emergence of the English State in the 1500s as a Protestant State in defiance of the continental Catholic powers. In this situation Catholic Ireland was always perceived as a threat, and the embedding of a religious dimension in politics was always a key component of English statecraft.

I often think it is a pity that the Irish did not have an independent Reformation, based on the translation of the Bible into Irish, which was done by Bedell in the 1620s. Instead the reformed church became identified with the alien occupying power, and the Irish were used as pawns by the continental Catholic powers against England.

To come back to India: yes of course they abandoned the hill tribes whom they had used for the army and police. There is the same process took place in Indonesia with the Dutch; there is some tribe from Indonesia now settled in the Netherlands, where they of course are regarded as aliens.

The politics of the founding of Pakistan emerges in Salman Rushdie's writings. It was undoubtedly nudged along discreetly by the British, as a means of undermining the influence of Congress, which was always secularist attempted to cherish its Muslim component, for as long as it lasted. Ghandi however was assassinated by a Hindu fundamentalist. De Valera cherished his Protestant supporters, like Erskine Childers and Douglas Hyde, but did not understand them.

It may be a rule of the game that you have to go through a religious fundamentalist phase before the Enlightenment can break through. There are signs of enlightenment breaking through now in Iran, it seems, with women in the Cabinet. What I am trying to convey to you is that we have been through our 'religious fundamentalist' phase in the Republic; it peaked in or about the 50s, and has been in decline ever since, with the RC Church currently in a state of visible decline. See how Nora Bennis and gang do in the current election. No-one takes them seriously.

I could not agree more that the abolition of Stormont was a disaster. All the ultra-left and the Provisionals cheered, but there were some who disagreed, including myself; we said we did not want abolition, we wanted retention, introduce PR, and enact a Bill of Rights. I am glad you see the analogy with 1800, because this is exactly what we said. When I say 'we' I mean those of us who were trying to persuade the republicans to go political, and to support Civil Rights.

I must say the history of the Lodges in the Empire is fascinating, and needs to be written up as part of the overall socio-political history. Am I to understand that the African lodges are (were) actually 'black', and that the solidarity felt by their 'white brethren' elsewhere was on the basis of common support of the ethos of the Reformed Churches against not just the RC Church but also Islam?

I hope the brochure gets re-written taking into account some of the points I raised. I would welcome a copy as soon as it is finalised, and I hope you were in a position to draw my comments to the attention of whoever finalises it. ..(ly?) in a state of visible disarray. Good to see the DUP influence somewhat reduced in the recent elections. It will be interesting to see how local government in Belfast shapes up, and whether they try to develop a power-sharing procedure via the committees, as I understand they have been trying to do in Derry.

It is looking like we will have something of a new environment, with Blair in Westminster and, probably, Ahern in Merrion St. Whatever happens, I don't feel that the Protestant Religion is in any way under threat, and those who think so need to begin attending the occasional all-Ireland event, so as to tune in to the 'vibes' of the post-Catholic scene.

By way of illustration, I enclose a cutting from the Irish Times; this is a summary of a report by George McCullagh to the Presbyterian General Assembly on the developing situation in the Republic. This is in response to the general sense that there is business to be done, and we must put all the old nonsense behind us.

I had 3 uncles who served their time in India, in the Civil Service. The last to retire was William, who dropped out in or about 1942. He lived in Blackrock Co Dublin to the end of his days, late 60s I think, pickled in whiskey. He used to shoot game in Cavan. He fell out with my father, I don't know about what. The English used the Ulster frontiersmen to run their empire; little thanks they got, and little good it did them.

I sincerely hope that common sense will prevail and that the Dunloy and Drumcree questions will be resolved. I wonder how this South African episode will influence things; it is indeed remarkable that it is happening, and that they are all there.

I have gone on long enough. Perhaps I will look in again next time I go North. Janice is going to Portadown for a Quaker event next weekend, but she is going by train, and will not be very mobile. She says she will perhaps get to go to Harryville, where I believe there has been a Quaker presence....

Green Science and Green Technology: Notes Towards a Policy

Roy Johnston (circa June 1997)

In what follows I give some background on the history of science and its transformation into science-based technology in the context of a Faustian pact with the military-industrial complex, which has led to a Euro-centred hegemony over the peoples of the Third World.

I go on to examine the potential of fringe-States in Europe, among which Ireland potentially has a pilot-role, for a constructive re-definition of the relationship between science and technology, in the context of the need to apply scientific knowhow to making renewable the productive processes on which economic life depends.

Modern science, while owing a debt to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Arabs for knowledge transmitted via the Renaissance, may be said to have originated with Francis Bacon in the time of Elizabeth I of England. Bacon's writings influenced a group of 'natural philosophers' which included Boyle, Hooke, Newton, Petty, Oldenberg and others, becoming known as the 'invisible college', of which the objective was a systematic approach to the understanding of the laws of nature.

This 'network' became an exclusive organised group, to which access might be obtained on the basis of recognition of published work based on Baconian principles. It went on to be recognised by the State, on the basis that 'knowledge is power', becoming the Royal Society under Charles II.

This model for the organisation of science became the norm in the emerging European system of (mostly imperial) States, and contributed substantially to the emergence of European culture as we know it, 'warts and all'. It was successful largely because it was based on the initiatives of creative people networking together, and rapidly became international in its scope.

The transformation of science into useful technology is driven by the use of knowledge in the identification of resources and needs; up to now it has always been dominated by State interests, usually however in the context of war and empire-building. This 'Faustian pact' between science and the imperial States must be the prime target to be addressed by Green policies.

In the Irish context, science developed as part of the colonial culture, and was close to the 'core' of European scientific development, with scientists of global significance like Hamilton and Fitzgerald living their working lives in Ireland. Others like Tyndall and Bernal emigrated to work in the 'core' environment in England; others again like Walton did their Nobel Prize winning work in England but returned to Ireland.

Technologies emerging from Irish-originating science included the Parsons steam turbine and Grubb optical instruments, serving primarily the British Navy.

Technologies emerging from the international scientific background, which were piloted in Ireland by Irish people, included the Ferguson tractor (the first use of a hydraulic lifting device in agricultural machinery), the Dunlop pneumatic tyre and the Holland submarine.

Historically the transformation of scientific discovery into technological utility within Ireland for application in the Irish context is rare. Science is international; technology is need-driven in a specific situation, and once invented is exported for profit, giving an advantage to the inventor.

The Problem in Fringe States like Ireland
The central problem is posed by the fact that creative people are mobile and will tend to migrate to further their individual careers.

Creative scientists, who work in Ireland and publish in the international specialist journals, are seldom recognised within Ireland, except by a few in their specialist discipline, who happen to know them.

Creative technologists have the choice of working within, or in association with, an already existing firm, and being constrained by a development policy probably determined abroad, or starting their own firm, in which case they are constrained by lack of venture capital and distance from markets.

(The label 'engineer' covers a range of technologies which have been around for some time and where there are established practices. I use the label 'technologist' to include both engineers and others who are in the process of transforming scientific knowledge into useful innovative technology, but whose technologies are not yet such as to have an established routine practice. This latter category includes 'information technology', 'biotechnology' etc.)

Technologists in fringe countries like Ireland have a problem identifying local scientists as knowledge-sources relevant to their technologies, because often they do not know who and where they are. This is a consequence of the practice of publication in the specialist journals abroad, leading to non-recognition at home.

Scientists, similarly, if they discover something with application potential, have difficulty in identifying a development path, and often go abroad to do so.

Towards a post-Baconian model.
We have the opportunity in Ireland for developing a new approach to science without the Faustian pact; we have no significant 'military-industrial complex' dominating State policies; we are close in our culture and thinking to the Third World; the Famine is within living memory.

What we need to do is to maximise the creative potential of scientists working in Ireland, and make it visible.

The 'basic science' community consists primarily of those who teach science, primarily at third level, also to some extent at second level, and students working under their direction, pursuing research goals motivated primarily by knowledge-based curiosity.

This process should be supported with with basic funding, as of right, subject to the proviso that when results are published in an international journal, an abstract is also sent in to a National Science Abstracts publication. This way is becomes possible to keep an ongoing record of who knows about what, and where they are, accessible to technologists who might need them.

There is also an embryonic 'applied science' community, consisting of scientists working in firms, on problems related to sources of supply, market outlets or the production process. This group needs to be expanded, by means of tax concessions etc, so as to maximise the uptake of local knowhow in local industry.

We also need to maximise the creative potential of technologists working in Ireland, and to ensure that the technologies which they develop are focused on the need for economic development based on renewable resources and, as far as possible, locally available scientific knowhow.

The key interface between science, technology and local industry is the College of Technology, and the arena for this interaction is the Region. The key focus is therefore the Regional Technology College, in which people engaged in teaching and research in science and technology can interact with people concerned with sustainable development of regional resources, and supply them with the necessary knowledge.

In this context, Dublin must be considered as several 'regions' with overlapping scopes. Policies within each region must be adapted to resources and needs; the development of governmental structures at regional level is a necessary part of the process.

Within the regional political structure, it should be possible to develop policies and procedures for encouraging creative networked groupings between scientists, technologists and elements of the local community, focused on renewable resource projects leading to wealth-generation and employment. The study of the feasibility of these proposals would need to be funded from Regional Government according to transparent criteria, and investment encouraged in their further development once shown to be feasible, by means of tax and other incentives.

Immediately Feasible Next Step
With only relatively minor investment it should be possible to set up nationally a query-able database, based on abstracts of published work, enabling an overall picture to be obtained of who knows how to do what and where they are. To ensure that this remained alive and up to date, is would be necessary to introduce the principle of unconditional discretionary research funds for all College staffs, at a level of the order of 10% of salary, on condition that they publish at an agreed minimum rate, and keep the 'national abstracts' database updated with the results of their work.

Green Science Policy in the 1997 Election:

Statement issued by the Green party, drafted by the present writer, in response to an enquiry about science policy from the Irish Research Scientists Association June 1997 (cf John Donovan jdonovan@iol.ie).

....It is now post-election, and our influence in these matters is not likely to be decisive, but for your record let me give you the following Green policy points, culled from our 'shopping list policies' paper:

1. We want a Minister for S&T at the cabinet table, not a junior post. Science is so all-pervasive across all departments that it deserves explicit recognition at government level.

2. We want renewable energy to get recognition as a strategic resource, with favourable pricing policies such as to encourage development and utilisation of technologies alternative to dependence on fossil fuels.

3. We want maximal support for energy conservation, and we urge that this be done through taxation policy.

4. We are supportive of investment into scientific research into the basics of sustainable ecologically benign development, and we understand that this involves the funding of basic scientific research at a level appropriate to our overall economic development, as suggested in the STIAC Report; this involves increased funding for basic research by a factor of about 3.

5. Basic scientific research and applied research with industry sponsorship can co-exist and be mutually reinforcing; we urge the development of tax incentives to encourage the science-intensive industries to support the scientific community collectively.

6. The interface between industry and the academic research community needs to be strengthened and made more transparent; we need a 'one-stop shop' Web-site for access to the all-Ireland research system, in a well-engineered and user-friendly knowledge-base.

7. The public needs to be made aware of our scientific cultural heritage, as it is largely aware of our literary cultural heritage.

8. It is necessary to teach to scientists the socio-economic and political implications of their discoveries, in a specifically Irish as well as European and global contexts.

9. We are against the idea of genetic engineering being used to enable plants to survive herbicides and pesticides, but would be in favour of genetic engineering being used to render economically important plants resistant to pests and competitive with weeds, rendering chemical pesticides and herbicides unnecessary. We would urge the development of an ethical dimension to applied-scientific research policy decision.

Please ask your members to feel free to lobby the Green TDs with briefings on relevant current issues which reflect the foregoing general philosophy of action.

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Copyright Dr Roy Johnston 1999