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A step change toward unity is now possible - Gerry Adams TD

19 July, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the comments last night by the Taoiseach about “the potential for a referendum on Irish unity arising from the Brexit decision in Britain.”

Gerry Adams said:

“In the wake of the Brexit vote Sinn Féin said that an opportunity existed for the referendum on Irish unity contained in the Good Friday Agreement.

“I welcome the fact that after some initial criticism of our proposal the Fianna Fáil leader and the Taoiseach have come around to this position also.

“On 23rd June the overwhelming majority of citizens in the north voted to remain within the EU.

“I was in Stormont yesterday and it is clear that there is widespread concern within the business community, the voluntary and community sector, within the agriculture and tourism sectors that Brexit will adversely impact on the North’s economy.

“The Good Friday Agreement allows for national reunification if a majority in the North consent to that.

“In the context of the North being dragged out of the EU by England, there is now a greater opportunity to achieve this.

“In the time ahead more and more people, who would have either opposed Irish unity or would have been dubious of it, will be open to the idea of exploring new relationships on this island in the context of remaining in the EU.

“To make best use of this opportunity all of those parties on the island which support reunification need to discuss how best this can be achieved.

“There is a need to be open and imaginative about the possible new constitutional arrangements and political structures that might be needed.

“Last week at a meeting of party leaders I urged the Taoiseach to push ahead with an island-wide dialogue to discuss how the remain vote in the North can be respected; what agreed strategy can be put in place to minimise the impact of Brexit; and how we can make progress on reunification through a referendum.

“That project needs to move ahead speedily so that in any negotiations involving the EU, Britain and the Irish government, the proposal for a referendum on Irish unity is on the agenda.”

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