Wide spectrum of opinions necessary to meet the challenges Ireland faces – Senator Rose Conway-Walsh
Senator Rose-Conway-Walsh has welcomed newly elected Senator Ian Marshall, former head of the Ulster Farmers Union from Co. Armagh to the Oireachtas.
On his first day in the Seanad Conway-Walsh spoke of the value and virtue of hearing from those with different perspectives.
Senator Conway-Walsh said:
“Much has been made of the election of Senator Marshall and the fact that Sinn Féin made the decision to support him.
"Some even questioned if he is a real unionist, which made me wonder what constitutes a real unionist or a real Irish republican.
"Perhaps those who pose such questions should reflect on what they need to do to create an environment of mutual respect and equality.
"One in which we are all free to be whoever we are to create a society in which no human being is less equal and in which other individuals or communities do not have to be put down in order that we might elevate ourselves.
“The journey that began with the collective overwhelming support for the Good Friday Agreement has some way to go.
"There have been disappointments and frustrations on the pathway to agreement's full implementation.
"Most recently when the DUP was unable to close the deal agreed to get the institutions back up and running.
"However, we must not let these setbacks stop us on the journey to lasting peace and reconciliation.
“No problem is insurmountable. We have had to overcome problems in the past and we will do so again.
"Sinn Féin wants the institutions back up and running and I welcome the unionist perspective that Senator Marshall will bring to the House. After all, we only learn from those with a perspective that differs from our own.
"We agree on many important issues, most glaringly on the negative impact of Brexit, North and South.
"Our vision is of an inclusive Ireland. A new and united Ireland which it’s ok to be British, Irish, both or neither. That is the Ireland we want to build."