Irish Government needs to think nationally – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in the Dáil today on the outcome of the Brexit referendum called for the “maximum cooperation between the Executive and the government in Dublin upholding the vote of the electorate in the north … the Irish government must work to promote the interests of the whole island and the north in particular in future talks at EU level; and to support the rights of Ministers in the North to deal directly with the EU institutions. In the time ahead this should include a referendum on Irish unity.”
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“Sinn Féin has a consistent position of opposition to the unacceptable and undemocratic aspects of the European Union. We have also consistently argued for a more robust and less compliant policy from successive Irish governments.
“In 1972, Sinn Féin and other progressives campaigned against membership of the EEC. Over the decades since then we have modified our position to one of critical engagement. This position was formally adopted by our Ard Fheis in 1999.
“Reform of the EU has been necessary for decades now. The outcome of the Brexit referendum should encourage such a process and it should be undertaken with urgency.
“On this island, notwithstanding partition, we should also accept the vote in the north. People voted to remain within the EU. That should be upheld.
“Some will say we are bound by a so-called United Kingdom vote. Sinn Féin says we are not. We need to put the island of Ireland first. We stand by the vote of the people of the north. All of us need an island wide vision.
“There is a huge responsibility on the Irish government to think nationally – on an all-island basis. The government, as a co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, also has a responsibility to defend the agreement and its political institutions.
“The British government has forfeited the claim to represent the north at EU level. Their policy has been rejected by the people.
“The Irish Government must work to promote the interests of whole Island and the north in particular in future talks at an EU level; and to support the rights of Ministers in the North to deal directly with the EU institutions. This can be achieved by the maximum cooperation between the Executive and the government in Dublin upholding the vote of the electorate in the north.
“In the time ahead, this should include a referendum on Irish unity.
“The Democratic Unionist Party must also respect the Remain vote. The majority of citizens in the north, including many unionists, rejected its exit policy. The DUP should accept this.
“The task of everyone, therefore, must be to agree policies and strategies that can minimise any problems that will arise as a consequence of Brexit and to use this crisis, if we are able, to create a new Ireland and a new EU.”