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London conference to put Irish unity on the agenda

11 February, 2010 - by Pat Sheehan

Sinn Fein today announced details of a major conference the party is holding in London next week, entitled `Putting Irish unity on the agenda – opening the debate’.

The conference will take place at Congress House on Saturday 20 February. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP will be joined by the north's Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MP as keynote speakers at the event, alongside a broad range of speakers from across the political spectrum, from the Irish community, the trade unions, and a range of commentators, academics and figures in the arts and cultural fields.

These include former mayor of London Ken Livingstone, GAA personality Jarlath Burns, author and historian Margaret Ward, (Lord) Professor Paul Bew, former President of the ICTU Patricia McKeown, Irish Times columnist and former loyalist politician David Adams, Jeremy Corbyn MP, former Labour minister Lord Alf Dubs, Mick Halpenny from SIPTU and former Shadow Secretary of State for the north, Kevin McNamara.

Commenting on the forthcoming conference, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said:

`Sinn Fein is delighted to be hosting the conference, and are pleased that there has been such a positive response to it. It takes place in the context of last Friday’s very important and symbolic agreement, which saw the final piece of the jigsaw of devolution, with Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist party agreeing on the transfer of policing and justice powers and other outstanding matters arising from the Good Friday and St Andrews agreements'.

`New and important progress has been made in consolidating the political institutions. We have an opportunity to build a society based on respect, equality, partnership and fairness. Sinn Féin is an Irish republican party. We believe in a united Ireland. But that does not mean that Irish republicans and unionists cannot work together in the interests of those we represent. We can, and Sinn Féin is determined to make positive use of the opportunity that now exists to do that.’

Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty, who will also speak at the conference, added:

`The Good Friday Agreement recognises that it is for the people of Ireland alone, north and south, to decide their own future, and we hope to open a wide debate. We hope to engage with the Irish in Britain but also with wider British political opinion. The discussion aims to look at many key fields of life, such as the economy, culture, social justice, equality, constitutional mechanisms and many issues of specific concern to the Irish in Britain reaching back over many generations. This conference will be an important opportunity to have a serious debate and engagement.’

Seminar discussions will include

Ireland ’s Economy – from crisis to reunification;
The rise and role of the Irish in Britain - looking to the future;
Debating Ireland ’s future – constitutional, social and political
Building an Ireland of equals – creating a dialogue with unionism

Full information about the conference and to register visit the website at:

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