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Brexit opens up unique opportunity to look towards a united Ireland - Carthy

28 November, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Speaking at the launch today of an important new Sinn Féin discussion document on Irish unity, MEP and head of the party's United Ireland Strategy Group Matt Carthy said:

"Brexit opens up a unique opportunity to look again at a future beyond partition, sectarianism and division, to a new, united Ireland.

"Sinn Féin’s discussion document outlines the case for unity, but is equally clear that the shape of a new Ireland is up for discussion.

"Sinn Féin wants to see a new Ireland with equal rights and equal opportunities for all citizens - an Ireland where citizens the right to a job, to a home, and a decent standard of education.

"A new, united Ireland must also deliver new politics and fundamentally change the political status quo North and South.

"There will be a need for a new Constitution and Bill of Rights, and safeguards for the British identity in a united Ireland. This may involve constitutional and political safeguards for the unique identity of Northern unionists.

"A united Ireland makes sense in terms of the economy, public services, investment, exports, agriculture, policing and justice and sport.

"There are no advantages for a small island of 6.4 million people on the edge of Europe in having two separate tax regimes, legal systems, and competing economic development programmes.

"Removing barriers to trade, created by Partition will lead to significant economic growth across the island.

"A united Ireland would allow us to build a truly National Health Service.

"The Good Friday Agreement provides for peaceful and democratic constitutional change through concurrent referendums North and South.

"Securing a referendum on Irish unity would be an historic opportunity for all the people of Ireland, allowing us to vote for the kind of government and society we wish to see.

"Sinn Féin has called for a Unity Poll to be conducted in the next political term. We are seeking an informed, reasoned and respectful dialogue on the issue.

"Now is the time to plan and to build the maximum support for unity. The leadership of those political parties which say they support Irish unity, acting together, could provide the leadership to deliver it.

"It is imperative now that the Irish Government prepares a real plan for unity. A first step in the next term of the Oireachtas would be the development of an all-party group to bring forward a Green Paper for Unity.

"In addition, plans should be developed for an all-island National Health Service and for all-island public services through a ‘United Ireland Investment and Prosperity Plan’.

"I would ask that people give this document careful consideration, that the media scrutinise the ideas contained within it and for a real debate on this issue commence now.

This is a Sinn Féin contribution to that debate and I would encourage other parties in the Dåil and indeed civil organisations to put forward their own ideas."

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