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Fine Gael members should question their leader on Irish unity - Ó Caoláin

9 August, 2005

Sinn  Féin  Dáil  leader  Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has challenged the Fine Gael
party  to state whether it still favours Irish reunification following what
he  described  as  the "opportunist and partitionist" comments of Fine Gael
leader Enda Kenny. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny sees in the welcome return of the Colombia
Three  an  opportunity  to  attack the Fianna Fáil/PD Government on the one
hand and Sinn Féin on the other. In doing so he has raised an issue totally
unrelated  to  the  Colombia  Three  by  rubbishing  proposals  to  provide
representation  in  the  Oireachtas  to  citizens  in the Six Counties. His
comments are both opportunist and partitionist.

"Deputy  Kenny  should  explain  to  the Irish people how allowing speaking
rights  to  MPs  of  all parties in the North - not just Sinn Féin  - would
undermine  the  democratic  institutions  of  the  State  as he claims. The
leading  figures  whom  Fine Gael regards as its founders all expressed the
desire to reunite Ireland - from Collins and Griffith to those in the 1930s
who  founded  Fine  Gael  in  its present form and subtitled it 'the United
Ireland  party'. Fine Gael members should ask their leader if this is still
part  of the ethos of their party, or has partitionism taken over in theory
as well as in practice.

"Railing  against  any plan to allow for limited Northern representation in
the Dáil has exposed the Fine Gael leadership's position as partitionist in
the  extreme  and  mirrors  the  comments  of  the  most reactionary of DUP
members.  Are all Fine Gael members happy to endorse such a position?

“It  should  be  noted  that Fine Gael voted for a Government motion in May
2003  which sought to ‘take forward’ the report of the All-Party Oireachtas
Committee  on  the Constitution which had recommended allowing for Northern
representation in the Oireachtas. This needs to be seen as an integral part
of the peace process and Sinn Féin will be pressing the issue in the months
ahead.  Fine  Gael  should  reflect  on its position and endorse the common
sense of All-Ireland politics.” ENDS

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