John S Ferry - Time for a border poll
In 1984, thirty years ago this year, the New Ireland Forum recognised the economic benefits of a United Ireland when it stated:
“‘A unitary state would promote administrative and economic efficiency in the island by ending duplication and separate planning and investment programmes and by facilitating integrated promotion of investment, exports and tourism. Natural resources, oil, gas and minerals will be developed for the benefit of all the people of Ireland and could make a significant contribution to securing the economic basis of the state.’
The points in this statement are as relevant today in 2014 as they were in 1984, as they were in 1914.
As an Irish Republican I firmly believe that reunification is the keystone to realising the full economic potential across this island. As we learn from the failed economic policies of the past, now, more than ever, is the time for a bold long term vision which will secure the sustainability of our national economy.
Now is the time to have a reasoned and respectful debate, to explore the impact of partition on communities across this island.
I challenge those who advocate the continuation of partition to make their case. Explain how maintaining two separate economies on an island of 6.5 million people is sustainable.
Explain how having two tax and education systems, with under developed transport infrastructure, is the best recipe to attract inward investment and to create jobs.
If you truly believe that partition works then let’s hear the evidence. The truth, free from misinformation.
Present the figures which back up the argument, that the south cannot afford the north, that Britain is doing us a favour in maintaining the six counties. That we should put up and shut up.
I have a message from this ard fheis – we will not put up and shut up.
We have moved on from 1984 when the attitude of the two governments towards reunification was famously displayed in the “out,out,out” press conference.
The Good Friday Agreement provides for a border poll to be conducted North and South with Britain bound to legislate for any change arising.
It ensures that the will of the people will determine the issue of irish unity rather than an arrogant British or an incompetent Dublin Government.
So let’s ask the people, let’s debate the issues, let’s have a border poll.
It is time for the people to have their say.