Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Imagining a New Republic - Gerry Adams TD

21 January, 2017 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today opened the Towards a United Ireland conference in the Mansion House in Dublin.

Today marks the 98th anniversary of the First Dáil in 1919.

Today’s speakers include Michelle O’Neill MLA, Susan McKay, Keven Meagher, Brian Feeney, Alex Kane, Mary Lou McDonald TD, Noel Whelan, Cat Boyd and Matt Carthy MEP.

Among the points Gerry Adams will make in his remarks:

·         we need to address the genuine fears and concerns of unionists in a meaningful way.

·         ending partition has now taken on a new imperative following last summer’s Brexit vote.

·         Sinn Féin’s proposition that the North be accorded a designated special status within the EU will not affect the constitutional question. Taking the North out of the EU will. It will destroy the Good Friday Agreement.

·         the North needs a special designated status within the EU. The Irish government needs to adopt this as a strategic objective in its negotiations within the EU 27 as they negotiate with the British Prime Minister.

·         there is at this time no strategic plan coming from the government. That is a cause of real concern.

·         all of this, and the current crisis around the RHI scandal is creating new political conditions. I believe that if we properly frame the positive arguments the potential of a new, reimagined, confident Ireland within the European Union, will prove attractive to some unionists.

·         there is an onus on the Irish Government to prepare a real plan for unity. A first step in this would be the development of an all-party group to bring forward a Green Paper for Unity.

The Full Text of Gerry Adams TD is attached:

“There are immediate challenges facing those of us who want a united independent Ireland.

These include getting the Irish government to change its policy from one of acquiescing to the union with Britain to one of becoming a persuader for Irish unity; getting the Irish government to begin preparations for Irish unity; and lastly engaging with Ulster unionism on the type of Ireland we want to create.

We need to address the genuine fears and concerns of unionists in a meaningful way. We need to look at what they mean by their sense of Britishness and be willing to explore and to be open to new concepts …

But what is clear is that partition has failed unionists. It has failed nationalists. It has failed the people of this island. And ending partition has now taken on a new imperative following last summer’s Brexit vote.

The citizens of England and Wales voted to leave the EU. The people of Scotland and of the North voted to remain. As the dire economic implications of Brexit take shape there is an opportunity to promote a new agreed Ireland.

Sinn Féin’s proposition that the North be accorded a designated special status within the EU will not affect the constitutional question. Taking the North out of the EU will. It will destroy the Good Friday Agreement.

Clearly the preferred option of many unionists and many nationalists is to remain within the EU.The speech by Theresa May will have reinforced this. The dangers of a hard Brexit are now more obvious than before. The North needs a special designated status within the EU. The Irish government needs to adopt this as a strategic objective in its negotiations within the EU 27 as they negotiate with the British Prime Minister.

I have raised this consistently with the Taoiseach. However, as we saw this week in the Irish governments response to the speech by Theresa May there is at this time no strategic plan coming from the government. That is a cause of real concern.

The British government’s intention to take the North out of the EU, despite the wish of the people there to remain, is a hostile action. Not just because of the implications of a hard border on this island but also because of its negative impact on the Good Friday Agreement.

The British Prime Minister repeated her intention to bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court. Along with her commitment to remove Britain from the European Convention on Human Rights this stand threatens to undermine the fundamental human rights elements of the Good Friday Agreement. The British position also fails to take account of the fact that citizens in the North, under the Agreement, have a right to Irish citizenship and therefore EU citizenship.

All of this, and the current crisis around the RHI scandal is creating new political conditions. I believe that if we properly frame the positive arguments the potential of a new, reimagined, confident Ireland within the European Union, will prove attractive to some unionists.

This too is an opportunity and a challenge that political leaders in this state need to rise to. That would be helped by those parties and organisations and individuals on this island agreeing steps that advance the goal of unity.

Regrettably at this time neither Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael or Labour have a strategy to achieve Irish unity and the PBP/AAA alliance are against it. This has to change. Irish unity makes sense. Political sense. Economic sense. And it is in the best interests of the people of this island. Sinn Féin is prepared to work with all parties with a professed United Ireland objective.

There is an onus on the Irish Government to prepare a real plan for unity. A first step in this 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’.

Now is the time for all parties who support Irish unity to come together to design the pathway to a new, agreed, inclusive united Ireland – an Ireland that is built on equality and which is citizen-centred and inclusive.”

Connect with Sinn Féin