The Sheena Campbell Sinn Féin Cumann, Queens University, Belfast is hosting a debate "This House believes A United Ireland Makes Economic Sense" tonight Thurs 27th of March at 7pm at the Emeleus Lecture Theatre.
Speaking in advance of the event, Sinn Féin MLA Cautríona Ruane said:
"I welcome this opportunity to debate the economic viability of a United Ireland with my unionist colleagues.
"I am delighted to share a panel with such a broad spectrum of opinion which includes economists, journalists and political commentators. The strength of the panel shows clearly the level of interest that is generated by the topic of Uniting Ireland.
"It is important that we discuss and debate the economic future of this island. As dialogue and discussion was central to the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, creating the process whereby constitutional change can take place, so too do we need dialogue and discussion as to what is the best model to deliver sustainable economic prosperity to all the people of this island.
"The GFA rests on the foundations of equality, respect and solely peaceful and democratic change. It is the basis for stable government, cross border working and the relationship between this island and Britain. But central to fulfilling all of these conditions is a sustainable economy. Sinn Féin sees the future as being a unified island economy that will allow for the development and implementation of economic policy for the benefit of the nation as a whole.
“As a republican I believe that a United Ireland will best serve the economic, social and cultural interests of all our people. As a democrat I believe that the people should have the right to govern themselves free from external interference.
“The GFA provided for a border poll to gauge support for a United Ireland or continuation of the status quo.
"Sinn Féin is for peaceful and democratic change. This is one of the reasons that debates such as this are important in order that the people are fully informed of exactly what the consequences of their vote in a border poll will entail. We believe that it is best to plan for change and to maximise agreement regarding the future of this island. That is why I welcome this debate as an opportunity to convince those in opposition to a united Ireland and the wider population that it is the only viable long-term option.
"An island population of 6.5 million people split into two separate tax, currency and legal systems, and two separate economies in competition makes no sense. An island economy would provide the opportunity for fair and harmonised progressive taxation, regulation and trade.
"Co-operation and planning would free up enormous resources presently being wasted on this duplication. If we are to maximize job opportunities for all our people, if obstacles to business expansion are to be removed and if we are to deliver the highest quality, most effective public services to our citizens, we must be open to maturely and objectively looking at what is possible.
"If we are to realise the full potential of our island and our people, we require full economic and political integration across this island.
"A New, agreed and united Ireland to serve the interests of all"