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McDonald questions motivation of those opposing Northern Representation in the Oireachtas

29 October, 2005

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today said that there is 'space for everyone on the ground of Irish republican politics and plenty of work to be done to achieve Irish unity'.

Ms McDonald made her comments after speaking at the Kerry Literary and Cultural Centre, Listowel under the auspices of the John B Keane Festival on the theme: 'Irish Republicanism 1916-2006'. Other participants include Martin Mansergh and Dr Diarmaid Ferriter. The event was chaired by Vincent Browne.

Speaking after the event Ms McDonald said:

"In this the 100th year of Sinn Féin it is clear that Irish republicanism is more popular now than at any period since the 1920s. It is about building on that popularity to create a mass movement for Irish unity and real political change. It is also about reaching out to others, to our political opponents through dialogue and discussion.

"The recent decision to establish a committee to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising is a very welcome development. The decision is indicative of the changed political climate across Ireland. Equally the proposal to invite MPs from the Six Counties to participate in the Dáil is a small yet welcome move which should be advanced as speedily as possible. These proposals are in line with the recommendations of the all-party Committee on the Constitution. I find it bizarre that some of those parties - who were represented on this Committee - are now desperately trying to find excuses to oppose this development.

"Far from being incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement this proposal is an important part of the all-Ireland agenda at the core of the agreement and is something which should be supported by all republicans and nationalists. Such developments are also important to the economic prosperity of the country and are in the interests of everyone on this island - nationalist, republican, socialist and unionist.

"There is space for everyone on the ground of Irish republican politics and plenty of work to be done. Irish unity will come about much more speedily if we can build a broad based coalition to end partition and create an Ireland of Equals.

"The IRA initiative of September 28th has redefined the political landscape on the island and created the space for new momentum to be injected into the peace process. All of us must seize on this unprecedented opportunity." ENDS

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