In November of last year, following several months of discussion held across the country, Irish republicans made what has been described an historical announcement in Derry.
At the first in a series public debates, the first of which was titled "The GFA: Ten Years On", those in attendance witnessed the formal launch of "The Republican Forum for Unity".
Despite the usual torrent of abuse and media sensationalism against it, at what can only be described as a one of the largest gatherings of aligned and non-aligned republicans over the past number of years.
In a founding statement organisers pointed out that: Over the past ten years - since the signing of the Good Friday agreement - Irish Republicans have witnessed a dramatic change in the manner in which the struggle for National Liberation and the establishment of a 32 county Republic has been waged.
To say that not all Republicans agree with, nor comprehend how such changes are leading to the establishment of a 32 county democratic socialist Republic, is to point out the obvious and is evidenced by the large number of groups that now exist with the stated aim of establishing such a Republic.
There are those for whom the local British assembly represents the best route forward while for others the very existence of a local assembly stands as a bulwark against National Sovereignty and as such hinders not helps the struggle for National Liberation.
Still others are so frustrated by the lack of progress or a clear strategic way forward or a unity of purpose that they have given up on the Republican struggle ever arriving at its revolutionary objective.
In short, the Republican vision, as eloquently articulated in the Proclamation of 1916, appears to be distorted by divisions and lack of agreement around core Republican positions.
That being the case a number of Republicans feel that ten years on from the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the time is appropriate for Republicans to review where the Republican struggle stands and how best we can collectively pursue the sentiments expressed in the Proclamation.
Such a review needs to address not only were we stand in relation to core Republican beliefs but also how we attempt to be pro-active on those beliefs within the Republican tradition. This is vital to ensure that we move our core aims beyond the aspirational and into the attainable.
Towards this end all views should be encouraged and given equal weight using the rule of thumb that at this juncture it is of equal importance to consider where we, individually and collectively, are going to as were we are coming from.
Towards this end a grouping of Republicans comprising members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the Republican Network for Unity and a number of individual Republicans are formally launching "The Republican Forum for Unity".
Within this Forum all issues of importance to Republicans can be openly discussed with the intention that the ideas generated will be taken back to existing organizations for the purpose of focusing political activity to achieve more definitive results.
In this way Republicans can begin to address the areas of division that have been created due to lack of open, frank and democratic discussion and begin the process of establishing an agreed Republican agenda rather than Republicans merely responding to a series of 'contrived' crises.
The Republican Forum for Unity will undertake a series of public meetings throughout the country to outline our position and secure as much support for it as possible.
It is an open forum and it’s future is in the hands of those who freely participate in its workings.
For our part, as republican socialists, we fully endorse the project. The IRSP has since it’s inception fully supported the idea of a broad front with other political currents in pursuit of common goals and achievements.
It is clear to many Republicans a that the current set up at Stormont is not a steppingstone to a Republic but a cementing of British rule in Ireland.
We urge all republicans to work in harmony with each other to expose the weaknesses of the current constitutional set up. It is not a time for "ourselves alone" philosophy.