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Dislocation of the ‘United Kingdom’ has been a slow but steady process

4 December, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson speaking in the Assembly today has said that the dislocation of the 'United Kingdom' has been a slow but steady process and encouraged unionists to begin to debate a new future within the context of Irish Unity.

Speaking against a unionist motion calling for a Royal Commission to strengthen the union, Ms Anderson said:

"The dislocation of the "United Kingdom" has been a slow but steady process. For the first time since the act of Union of 1801 we are an island united in how we govern ourselves; through agreed and evolving structures outlined in the Good Friday Agreement. With strand 2 mapping out how we can pool sovereignty for the benefit of the whole island.

"Indeed Sinn Féin would not be sitting in the Assembly if it were not intrinsically part of an all-Ireland executive body.

"The notion that the 6 counties is part of some insulated set up with Britain that can be supported by a Royal Commission is a forlorn hope - and is disconnected from reality.

"While the 6 counties for the moment remains constitutionally linked to the island of Britain - politically, socially, infrastructurally and economically it is becoming increasingly integrated with the rest of the island. And it is doing so for the best of reasons - for the common good and mutual benefit of all our people.

"On the island of Britain 'the Union' is dislocating through the transfer of powers to the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies. The 'Unitary State' in Britain is history - it is politically dead. What develops in Britain regarding the Union now is firmly beyond the control of anybody in this Assembly.

"The destination of this process of dislocation does not lay with a Royal Commission - but with the sovereign will of the people of Ireland, Scotland Wales and England. Standing still is not an option. The Scottish and Welsh people are moving on - and so should we.

"Rather than doing a King Canute - our time would be better served by promoting and shaping new emerging relationships through the designated structures outlined under the GFA - to the mutual benefit of all concerned." ENDS

Note to Editors

In Wales the Assembly now supports the findings of the Richard Commission which has called for the Welsh Assembly to have the equivalent powers of the Scottish Parliament.

In Scotland their Parliament has outlined the parameters for a "National Conversation" on Scotland's future and there are only two 'real' areas for debate on the table (1) A significant increase in the Powers of the Scottish Parliament and (2) National Independence.

The recent Steele Commission, which looked at fiscal practise across the EU - recommended, amongst other things, a form of fiscal federalism - that would see the Scottish Parliament raise and retain some of its own taxes. (See Steele Commission, Recommendation 19, p.118

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