A senior source in the Republican movement has commented that: “Sinn Féin has moved a long way from it’s roots, if it were to allow one of it’s members to be President of the ‘Republic’ of Ireland – even if elected.
The Irish Free State was merely renamed as a Republic in 1949, and on a day-to-day basis most people refer to the Southern 26 Counties as a Republic.
However, no Republic has 2nd class citizens, not on the ground of gender, but also not on the ground of religion.
Clearly, only Christians can become President of the State because of the religious oath of office.
While some will argue that this is merely part of the State tradition, the Oath from Article 12.8 clearly discriminates against Irish people who have moved beyond religion. Almost 25% of Irish people are now atheists, Humanists, or others of no religion. This 25% of the voting population are without voice.
The Father of Irish Republicanism, Wolfe Tone, was most clear that all of Catholic, Protestant, and Dissenter were welcome, and all were equal.
Clearly this is not the case with the Dublin administration.
Sinn Féin would be truer to it’s roots were it to support an abstentionist candidate nominated by the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) – who founded the original Sinn Féin and were the organisers of the 1916 rising from which the 26-county ‘Republic’ of Ireland claims legitimacy – or to declare that Sinn Féin’s own candidate would refuse to take the discriminatory oath.
If the Irish people were to remember their roots, and to seek to reclaim their sovereignty by electing a Humanist Republican, the side-effect of not taking a religious oath – which a true secular Republican could not do – would be the crippling of the Irish Free State.
As that State is dysfunctional already, it would be best to show that clearly.
This is where Sinn Féin’s tradition would take it, if Mary Lou McDonald were true to the aim of a Republic of Equals.”