Majority in favour of united Ireland must be respected - Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has warned that commentators and politicians who sought to cast doubt on whether a majority vote in favour of a united Ireland would be recognised and implemented of adopting a mischievous and dangerous position.
Carthy also said that after decades of lecturing republicans about ‘the principle of consent’ the refusal of the British Government to respect the expressed will of a majority of voters in the Six Counties to remain within the European Union should not be lost on anybody.
Speaking at the Thomas D'arcy Magee Summer School in Carlingford, Co. Louth this evening, Matt Carthy said:
“The attempted imposition of Brexit on the North against the wishes of the majority living there who voted to remain within the EU, highlighted the undemocratic nature of Partition.
"After decades of lecturing republicans about ‘the principle of consent’ the refusal of the British Government to respect the expressed will of a majority of voters in the Six Counties should not be lost on anybody.
"Brexit has swept away many previous assumptions about the constitutional, political and economic status quo in Ireland. All of us now have an obligation to examine new constitutional, political and economic arrangements that better suit Ireland’s needs in 2017.
“The challenge of Brexit, puts an onus on all political parties North and South as well as the media to create space for a real debate on the prospects of a united Ireland in the future.
"As Britain jettisoned its previous relationship with Europe and became increasingly insular and isolated, the appeal of being part of a new and outward-looking Ireland would prove ever more attractive to young people from a unionist background.
"Some commentators and politicians had recently sought to cast doubt on whether a 50% plus-one vote would be sufficient to secure a United Ireland.
"This is both mischievous and dangerous. The Good Friday Agreement is specific and unambiguous on this point.
"I believe that all those in favour of Irish unity should work together with the common objective of convincing the greatest possible number of people across Ireland that Unity is in their best interest.
"There is now an urgent need for a constructive, inclusive debate on our future. This must include constitutional options and what a United Ireland might look like.
"Unionist representatives also need to be involved in that debate. They need to influence it. They cannot remain aloof from this discussion. Attempting to do so amounts merely to head-in-the-sand politics and does nothing to serve the interests of the people unionist parties claim to represent.
"The British identity of many people in the North can and must be accommodated in an agreed, united Ireland.
"This may involve constitutional and political safeguards including protections for the British cultural identity of a significant number of people in the North.
"Economy and society across the island of Ireland are intertwined. The prospect of Brexit has merely served to highlight that reality. It is time to come together to design a pathway to a new, agreed and inclusive Ireland.
"All our people, from all backgrounds and traditions, Orange and Green must be involved in that."