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Matt Carthy MEP- United Ireland- Árd Fhéis Speech

23 April, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP


If not us, then who?

If not now, then when?

This state is not the Republic envisaged by the leaders of 1916.

And, how do we know that?  Because the leaders of 1916 told us.  They told us in the Proclamation of the Republic.

They proclaimed that the republic consisted of ‘the whole nation and all its parts’ – not 26 counties. 

The very idea that the leaders of 1916 would have been satisfied with a partitioned island is an idea as ludicrous as it is laughable.

This is not the Republic.

What we require now is leadership with vision and a strategy to deliver the United Irish Republic. 

And, if not is not us, then who?

And, if we don’t move now, then when?

Our opponents will do whatever they can to knock us off course.  Since partition they have tried everything to diminish the demand for Irish Unity, usually by vilifying those who promote it.

And yet, here we are.

Sinn Féin is the largest political party on the island of Ireland.

In every poll undertaking on the national question Irish people have expressed their preference for Irish unity.

Certainly there is work to be done convincing people, north and south, of the practicalities and the feasibility of that objective.

But, that is our job.  Because, if we don’t do it – then who will?

And, If we don’t integrate the United Ireland project into all our work now; then when?

One of the regular arguments against reunification is a flawed economic argument.  “We cannot afford a United Ireland” the line goes. 

The truth is we can no longer afford a divided Ireland.

Recently, International economists demonstrated that Irish reunification could boost the whole island’s GDP by €35.6bn in the first eight years of unity.

Any neutral observer evaluating Ireland from afar would easily come to the conclusion that there are no advantages for a small island nation on the edge of Europe having separate tax regimes and legal systems, competing economic development programmes, divergent back-to-back health and education systems.

The arguments in favour of partition are very simple to break down once we deal with them systematically.

What we must do is bring our arguments to every family dinner table, every pub, every community centre across this island.  The way we do that is by putting the United Ireland project at the centre of everything we do. 

Look at what we have already achieved.  The orange one-party state of the north is no more. 

Just eight weeks ago, we brought the old two-and-a-half-party system of continuous conservative government to an end. 

We did that, and now Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are in convulsions because they cannot figure out how they can keep control of both government and opposition       at the same time. 

Michéal and Enda agree on lots of things privately but publically they agree on this – they don’t want Sinn Féin to be the biggest party of opposition. 

Once again, they completely underestimate our ambition.  We don’t want Sinn Féin to lead the opposition either. 

We want Sinn Féin to lead the government. 

And, not for the sake of the mercs, or the percs, or the pensions.  We want government because we want to deliver a better, fairer, United Ireland.

The only way there will be a poll on a United Ireland is if we deliver it.  The only way we will win such a poll is if we build support for it from now.

If not us, then who?

If not now, then when?

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