“Where Tipperary leads, Ireland follows.”
Tipperary is often referred to as the “Premier County,” a term attributed to Thomas Davis, editor of ‘The Nation‘ newspaper in the 1840’s. Davis gave Tipperary this name as a tribute to the strong nationalistic feeling held here at that particular time. It was he who also coined the phrase, “Where Tipperary leads, Ireland follows.”
The idea of Republican democracy did not begin in Dublin in 1916. It began in Co. Tipperary with a rather naive, yet thoroughly well-meaning rebellion in 1848, some 68 years previous. The venue; the Widow McCormack’s cabbage patch, in Ballingarry South, in Co. Tipperary. Ireland was three years into the middle of a famine which had cost the lives of some 1.3 million Irish people nationally. The 1916 rebellion in O’Connell Street, was also a failed, naive rebellion, which regrettably saw the execution of thoroughly well-meaning patriots, including Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary born Thomas MacDonagh; himself a signatory of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
Ask yourself the following questions: (A) “Identify the government regime currently existing in the Ireland of 2016, one hundred years after the 1916 rebellion?” (B) “Do we currently reside in a Democracy or under an Authoritarian Regime?”
The term democracy comes from the Greek language, meaning “rule by the people”. This means just that; rule by all the people, not just some of the people; some rich people; some poor people or some middle income earners, – no it means all of the people.
Some simple dictionary definitions of democracy are described as: (1) A form of government in which people (yes all people) choose their leaders by voting; (2) An organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has full equal rights. (3) A meaningful political participation by all citizens.
Our theory of modern democracy was not really formulated until the so called ‘Age of Enlightenment’; when between the 17th and 18th century, then theorists; truth-seekers; thinkers – whatever you will, defined the essential elements of democracy as; A Separation of Powers; Basic Civil Rights & Human Rights; Religious Liberty and the Separation of Church and State.
‘Authoritarianism’ stands in fundamental contrast to real ‘Democracy’. Under Authoritarian Regimes there usually exists one ruler or a small group of leaders who hold the real power in the political system. One example of blatant Authoritarianism is the ‘Chief Whip’ system. Same operates within Irish political parties to ensure that all Deputies, including Ministers, attend for Dáil Business and follow the reigning government line on all issues. Politicians therefore are being forced to disregard the precise wishes of their electorate.
Usually Authoritarian Governments hold elections and those going forward for election may have had, as is the case in Ireland, very limited contact with their citizens. But citizens, as we have amply observed in the last 5 years, are not necessarily permitted to have any real voice in how they themselves wish to be governed. Their elected leaders do not give their subjects free choice. Instead, they decide what the people can or cannot have. Citizens are observed as subjects who must obey, have no independent will and are not participants in any government decisions made on their behalf.
Thus individuals or small groups such as Prime Ministers, Taoisigh, Presidents, Dictators, Aristocrats, Kings / Queens, Military Leaders, and Emperors may rule at the head of an Authoritarian Government, while hiding behind the face of apparent democracy. Numerous examples of an authoritarian regime can be examined over the past 5 years under our present Labour / Fine Gael government. In highlighting just two; namely the introduction of Water Charges and Property Tax, we find that despite continuous massive street protests the voter / electorate has been ignored in the governments pursuance of an authoritarian regime; thus disregarding their voters democratic wishes.
Other authoritarian activity now abounds abundantly in our midst, which must be recognised as an affront not just to voters in Co. Tipperary, but far more seriously to Ireland’s attempts to achieve future real and full democracy.
This activity is being aimed at the Tipperary electorate through the so called “free press”. “Are you prepared to enter into government supported by Michael Lowry TD”, is the daily question fired by the press at our present authoritarian coalition members. “No way” states Labour member Minister Alan Kelly and company.
Here in Tipperary our electorate see that as – If Michael Lowry TD is elected and invited to support any future government, Alan Kelly (assuming he is elected; a situation which on a daily basis seems ever more unlikely, unless Noel Coonan passes on second preference votes), together with his possible diminished 8 seat authoritarian Labour government, his party will no longer wish to prop up a coalition. A possibly larger retained Fine Gael party will now not have any difficulty in finding others to take Labour’s place. The same goes for other political groupings. Of course this scenario now begs the question; “Why bother to vote for Alan Kelly and his diminished, dishonest Labour Party membership at all?”
To the members of the Dublin based, so called ‘Free Press’ and their ‘Copy & Paste .ie colleagues’, please take note:- The Tipperary electorate will vote and choose their 5 elected representatives in the forthcoming February 2016 General Election. They will vote for the representative whom they believe will:- best represent them in Dáil Éireann; whom they believe will democratically support this county; whom they believe will enhance our local communities; whom they believe listens intently to all people as individuals; whom they believe has the ability to solve the problems communicated, by taking same to the heart of government; and finally, whom they believe will fight their corner to bring about democratic change.