Sinn Féin MPs launch ‘Opening the Debate on Irish Unity’ Tour of England and Scotland
As part of a continuing outreach work with Irish communities in Britain, the Sinn Féin MP team has this week announced a Public Briefing Tour of Britain titled: “Opening the Debate on Irish Unity”.
The Tour will take place over the next two weeks. It is hoped that future dates and venues across Britain will be confirmed after Easter.
Speaking ahead of the opening meeting in London (4th April), Pat Doherty MP said:
“As Irish republicans, it isn’t a matter of if we will achieve a united Ireland – it’s is a matter of how and when.
“Obviously, Sinn Féin would like to see a Unity Referendum called as soon as possible. We can see Brexit is coming down the track and the implications this will have for us all.
“The recent watershed Assembly Election has also shown us that our vision of a shared future for all is on the forward march. Now is the time to flesh out the merits of Irish Unity.”
Mickey Brady MP, who will be addressing meetings in Manchester (7th April) and Liverpool (9th April), said:
“It has been estimated that around 35% of the population of Manchester has Irish ancestry. Meanwhile, up the road in Liverpool it’s estimated to be at least 50%. These are communities, which have endured and maintained their Irish identity against all the odds. These are proud communities.
“There is enormous potential to mobilise support and place Irish Unity on the political agenda in England.”
The Scottish leg of the tour will be undertaken by Francie Molloy MP, who will speak at meetings in Edinburgh (11th April) and Glasgow (12th April).
Looking ahead, Mr Molloy stated:
“The triggering of Brexit has changed everything in this debate.
“That’s why we are now hearing more people talking about a United Ireland – even people who previously wouldn’t countenance the idea. We welcome everyone to the discussion.
“It’s clear that the people in the North voted to remain in the EU – as did the people of Scotland – this democratic expression provides a unique opportunity to look again at building a shared future beyond partition, sectarianism and division.”
West Belfast MP, Paul Maskey concluded by saying:
“The campaign for a united Ireland needs to continuously attract allies and to build on its existing support.
“This is why we have set ourselves this challenge of engaging Irish communities, politicians, trade unionists and other progressive individuals right across our neighbouring offshore island.
“We appeal to the Irish in Britain – whether they be second, third or even fourth generation, whether they’ve been there for a long time or are newly arrived – to join us in plotting a pathway forward. No part is too great or too small. We hope this Tour opens a meaningful debate and discussion – and look forward to organising more meetings in the near future to keep the discussion going.”
LONDON with Pat Doherty MP & Cllr Mairéad Farrell
7pm - 4th April Chapel Suite, London Irish Centre, Camden Square, NW1 9XB
MANCHESTER with Mickey Brady MP
7pm - 7th April Ulster Gallery, Irish World Heritage Centre, 1 Irish Town Way, M8 0AE
LIVERPOOL with Mickey Brady MP
1pm - 9th April St Michael’s Irish Centre, 6 Boundary Lane, Everton, L6 5JG
EDINBURGH with Francie Molloy MP
7pm - 11th April Studio Room, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EL
GLASGOW with Francie Molloy MP
7pm - 12th April The Kirk Lounge, Renfield St Stephen’s Centre, 260 Bath St, G2 4JP