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Constitutional obligation on Irish government to pursue Irish unity

23 March, 2008


Sinn Féin Dáil Group leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin speaking at the Easter Commemoration in Galway City this afternoon said “There is a constitutional obligation on the Irish government to pursue Irish unity. This includes requiring the British government to facilitate unification, to persuade unionist opinion of the benefits of Irish unity and to prepare the ground for unity in all aspects of Irish life.”

 

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

 

“This Easter Sinn Féin is announcing the stepping up of our campaigning for Irish unity. We are closer to that goal today than ever before but national reunification will only be achieved through renewed effort on the part of all republicans. We must include all who share the belief in national unity. We must educate, organise and mobilise.

 

“The Irish Government was mandated by the people in this jurisdiction in 1998 to work for Irish unity. The constitutional amendment adopted then states that it is “the firm will of the Irish nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland in all the diversity of their identities and traditions”. There is a constitutional obligation on the Irish government to pursue Irish unity. This includes requiring the British government to facilitate unification, to persuade unionist opinion of the benefits of Irish unity and to prepare the ground for unity in all aspects of Irish life.

 

“A decade ago we took the decision to engage with the Good Friday Agreement and all that flowed from it. While short of our ultimate objective, we saw that the Agreement was based on the principle of equality and had the potential to move the struggle forward. Our judgement was correct and as a result politics on this island has been transformed.

“Sinn Féin is now in a power-sharing government in the Six Counties. The Good Friday Agreement and the St. Andrew’s Agreement have seen the establishment of an Assembly and an Executive in which power is shared between nationalists and unionists and an All-Ireland Ministerial Council. The All-Ireland Ministerial Council and the structures for All-Ireland co-operation should be seen as opening the way to a new era of governance on this island.

 

“We have seen major progress on the demilitarisation of the Six Counties with the dismantling of British military installations and the withdrawal of the British Army from the streets. A new beginning has been made in policing.

 

“Tuaisceart á shéanadh dá bharr sin. Mar sin leis an gceist seo, chomh maith le ceisteanna eile, tá gá le feachtaisí pobal. Ní féidir an próiséas seo a fhagáil i seomraí le coistí. Is leis an bpobal an próiséas síochána agus Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta. Is ar a son atáimíd ag obair.

 

“Much progress has been made but all these issues are also works in progress. Much remains to be done.”

 

Commenting on the upcoming Lisbon Treaty referendum Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

 

“Sinn Féin is opposing the ratification of that Treaty which is a bad deal for Ireland. It takes yet more powers away from Irish democracy and concedes them to unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels and Strasbourg and to the larger member states of the EU. In the Dáil recently, the Taoiseach, in answer to my question, refused to rule out a second referendum if the people do not give him the answer he wants. He refused to comment on the vote of the European Parliament against a motion that called on it to respect the vote of the people here whatever it might be. This alone demonstrates the type of fraud that the political establishment is trying to get away with. We in Sinn Féin are determined to deliver a resounding ‘No’ vote in the second week in June and I urge everyone to mobilise for this crucial referendum.” ENDS

 

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