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British insistence on imposing Brexit on North undermining Good Friday Agreement - McDonald

6 October, 2016 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that that the British Government's insistence on imposing Brexit on the North -  against the wishes of voters there, is undermining the Good Friday Agreement.

Addressing a meeting in central Dublin entitled 'Irish Unity Makes Economic Sense', Mary Lou McDonald said:

"The prospect of a strengthening of the border and the undoing of so much of the progress that was made over the decades of the Peace Process is of deep concern to many people.

"This British Government's insistence that it will impose Brexit on the North -  against the wishes of voters there -fundamentally undermines the Good Friday Agreement."

She said that the Agreement's inclusion of  a peaceful, democratic route to Irish reunification has come into sharp focus as a result of Brexit.

She continued:

"While Brexit is bad news for Ireland, it does open up opportunities to look to a future beyond Partition.

"All of us now have an obligation to examine new constitutional, political and economic arrangements that better suit Ireland’s needs in 2016.

"This island is currently administered by two states and three governments in Dublin, Belfast and London. That is clearly wasteful and inefficient.

"There is a mounting body of academic research, which supports what we all know is only logical - that a United Ireland would be much better off economically, socially, and in terms of all major services than a divided Ireland.

"There is now an opportunity to look at building a new, shared and agreed Ireland which accommodates all traditions on this island, including those who are new to our shores."

The Dublin Central TD said the Irish Government must now develop a genuinely all-island view for the future and that the same applied to Fianna Fáil.

"Why should unionists move to explore new relationships on this island if the establishment parties in the South are determined to maintain outdated approaches and partitionist attitudes?

"And I do believe that attitudes within the unionist community, to many things, are changing, however slowly. I think that is particularly true among young people from a unionist background.

"It has become clear now that austerity is the price of the union with Britain. It is also becoming clearer that the right wing and conservative social attitudes of the unionist political leadership, on a range of issues, from marriage equality to Brexit, are unrepresentative of many younger and liberal unionists."

McDonald said that Sinn Féin's United Ireland campaign seeks to promote debate, discussion and analysis.

She said a referendum on unity is a key part of the process of  people coming to conclusions about what they want for the future of the island.

She concluded:

"A unity poll would allow citizens, North and South, participate in an informed, reasoned and respectful dialogue.

"What is vital is that an open, inclusive and fully informed discussion on the future of Ireland, and involving everyone, begins now."

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