We must build, shape and lead a New Ireland together – Michelle O'Neill
Speaking at today’s conference on Irish Unity at Cork City Hall, Sinn Féin Vice-President, Michelle O’Neill MLA told delegates;
“We are about transforming Ireland and uniting our country for everyone.
“I don’t want to hark back to old Ireland.
“I don’t want us to face inwards and talk about a united Ireland.
“We must face outwards and listen to those don’t want a united Ireland.
“It is our task to persuade those people, sectors and communities of why it’s in their best economic and political interests to share power not only at Stormont – but on an All-Ireland basis together.”
Michelle O’Neill added, “Irish nationalism and unionism must reach a sustainable compromise through respectful dialogue, premised on anti-sectarianism, that will move us to the point of exploring how we can accommodate each other’s aspirations in a manner that does not demand the surrender of cultural or traditional identity.
“I believe that Irish unity, on the basis of equality, offers the best future for all the people of this island.
“Therefore, it is our responsibility, to spell out to unionists what sort of united Ireland we as republicans seek and to reassure the unionist people of their place in an Ireland of equals.
“That they too must belong.
“Not as a minority.
“Not we as a majority.
“But as equals.”
Speaking in relation to the Good Friday Agreement, Michelle O’Neill said:
“The Agreement provides a peaceful democratic pathway to Irish Unity based on consent.
“A unity referendum is a critical part of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The Good Friday Agreement political institutions, human rights guarantees, all-Ireland bodies, and the constitutional and legal right of the people to exercise their right to self-determination and to a united Ireland through consent, by referendum north and south, must all be protected.
“I am confident that as the consequences of Brexit become clearer and as we get closer to the withdrawal stage that more and more people from a unionist background will be open to the idea of exploring new relationships on this island.
“Brexit demonstrates the undemocratic nature of partition.
“The Irish Government has a clear responsibility in this regard and need a political plan to unite and reinvent the country in a modern era.
“The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has rebranded Fine Gael ‘the United Ireland party’, so he should stand that up by doing something about it.
“I am calling on Leo Varadkar and the Fine Gael Government to publish a Green Paper on Irish Unity which identifiess the steps and measures for a successful transition to a united Ireland.”