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Government amendment to Irish Reunification motion 'absurd' says Morgan

3 November, 2005


Concluding the Sinn Féin Private Members Business motion debate on Irish reunification in the Dáil today Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Arthur Morgan described the Government amendment to the motion as "absurd" saying it would effectively make the whole peace process "dependent on the response of rejectionist unionism."

He said the "Irish Government has a particular responsibility to commence planning for reunification.  Central to this is the need for the Government to initiate and sustain a planned programme of all-Ireland social and economic development, which aims to remove the obstacles created by partition."

Deputy Morgan said: "An all-Ireland economy would serve business and would serve the people of Ireland best.  This is recognised by the business community, including by many unionists.

"There was not one word in it (the Sinn Féin motion) that any reasonable person could object to, let alone those who claim to be committed to unity.

"This motion was put forward in the spirit of constructiveness with the aim of achieving a consensus among the parties in this House, who avow to support unity.   Why is it that Fianna Fail in particular are running away from having a constructive debate on Irish Unity?  All reference to unity is absent from the amendment put forward by the Government.

"I would like to refer for a moment directly to the government amendment and in particular the following section: 'Opposes any political move or initiative which would increase tensions between the two main traditions on this island'.

"This is an absurd notion that would see the process stagnate and would make the process dependent on the response of rejectionist unionism. Arguably to advocate the restoration of the institutions is enough to increase tensions among some sections of unionism.

"I challenge grass roots members of Fianna Fáil to step back and appraise what is actually being done to achieve their aspirations for a United Ireland; to ask themselves if they are satisfied with empty rhetoric which is not matched by actions.  Are the PDs going to be allowed to dump the Taoiseach’s proposal for very limited participation of Six County MPs here?  I urge the Taoiseach, once again, to press ahead with his proposal.

"There is an imperative for us to begin the preparations for Irish Unity now.

"In conclusion my Sinn Féin colleagues have set out our vision of an inclusive Ireland, a better Ireland, an Ireland where diversity is valued and the greatest possible participation of the people of the island in the civil and political life of the country is a primary objective.  We are working to create an Irish Republic which vindicates the rights and entitlements set out in the 1916 proclamation and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil." ENDS

 


 

Full text of Irish contribution by Arthur Morgan TD to Dáil debate on Irish reunification

It is not often that this House has taken the time to debate what this state needs to do to prepare politically, socially and economically for Irish re-unification. 

The Irish Government has a particular responsibility to commence planning for reunification.  This is vital if we are to have a successful transition to the United Ireland which the majority of parties in this House profess to support.

As Deputy Ó Caoláin said last night we must strengthen and build upon the all-Ireland aspects of the Agreement.

Central to this is the need for the Government to initiate and sustain a planned programme of all-Ireland social and economic development which aims to remove the obstacles created by partition. 

We need to integrate the economy.  An all-Ireland economy would serve business and would serve the people of Ireland best.  This is recognised by the business community, including by many unionists.  The IBEC-CBI Joint Business Council are currently promoting 20 key North-South actions to increase economic co-operation on the island of Ireland.  These moves are to be to welcomed.

The Sinn Féin motion was succinct and straightforward.  There was not one word in it that any reasonable person could object to, let alone those who claim to be committed to unity.

This motion was put forward in the spirit of constructiveness with the aim of achieving a consensus among the parties in this House, who avow to support unity, regarding how this state prepares politically, socially and economically for Irish unification.  Why is it that Fianna Fail in particular are running away from having a constructive debate on Irish Unity?  All reference to unity is absent from the amendment put forward by the Government.  Taoiseach, when will you live up to the ideals of Padraic Pearse, whose picture adorns your office wall.

I would like to refer for a moment directly to the government amendment and in particular the following section:

“Opposes any political move or initiative which would increase tensions between the two main traditions on this island”. This is an absurd notion that would see the process stagnate and would make the process dependent on the response of rejectionist unionism.

Arguably to advocate the restoration of the institutions is enough to increase tensions among some sections of unionism.  Who could accept that element of the Government amendment

Last month Minister Seamus Brennan claimed that Fianna Fáil should not be ashamed of saying it still wants a united Ireland and that this should not frighten unionists.  From the contributions last night and the Fianna Fail amendment he appears to be alone within the parliamentary party in holding this view.

In the absence of any strategic preparation for Unity the supposed new found republicanism of the larger government party rings very hollow.  Though plans for an annual commemoration to commemorate the men and women 1916 are welcome and long overdue, it would be a greater honour to their memory if this State was to commence, through the process of bringing forward a green paper on unity, identifying steps and measures  which can promote and assist a successful transition to a united Ireland. 

I challenge grass roots members of Fianna Fáil to step back and reappraise whether that party any longer represents their aspirations for a United Ireland, to ask themselves if they are satisfied with empty rhetoric which is not matched by actions.  Are the PDs going to be allowed to dump the Taoiseach’s proposal for very limited participation of Six County MPs here?  I urge the Taoiseach, once again, to press ahead with his proposal.

It seems that for Fine Gael and the PDs to seek to unite Ireland by peaceful means is inflammatory and will destabilise unionism. To invite ALL MPs from the North to participate even in a very limited way in this Oireachtas will offend unionists. But it seems that it doesn’t matter that the refusal to work for Irish Unity will disappoint nationalists in the Six Counties. It doesn’t matter that Fine Gael, Labour and the PDs have slammed the door in the faces of the SDLP and Sinn Féin, the representatives of nationalist in the North. That is what the opposition of these parties to the Taoiseach’s proposal means. The sensitivities of nationalists mean nothing to these parties.

The contributions made by deputies Allen and O’Keefe on behalf of Fine Gael do not merit response.

I am surprised that the Labour Party which claims to follow in the footsteps of Connolly is willing to take its policy lead on this issue from a party such as Fine Gael that has its routes in the fascist movement and is opposing even limited northern representation in the Dáil.  I know many members within the Labour party aspire to a United Ireland and are genuine in their adherence to the ideals of Connolly who vociferously opposed any partition of Ireland and warned of the “carnival of reaction” that would follow the cutting of Ireland to “pieces as a corpse would be cut upon the dissecting table”.

Briefly on the issue of demilitarisation, some progress has been made but the pace is too slow.  The deployment of foreign troops is occurring in such a way as to be extremely provocative and totally unnecessary.

I recently attended a conference in the Ti Cuchulan Centre in Mullaghbán in South Armagh and on my way there I met two PSNI cops accompanied by more than 20 British troops.  This carry on – this nonsense needs to stop.   It is ludicrous that there is still nearly twice as many British troops in the north as there are Iraq

There is an imperative for us to begin the preparations for Irish Unity now.  My colleague Deputy Ó Caoláin at the commencement of this debate outlined the necessity for bringing forward a green paper on Irish Unity.  I hope that people will come away from this debate with an understanding of why such a green paper is crucial.

In conclusion my Sinn Féin colleagues have set out our vision of an inclusive Ireland, a better Ireland, an Ireland where diversity is valued and the greatest possible participation of the people of the island in the civil and political life of the country is a primary objective.  My colleague Deputy Crowe has made clear our commitment and ongoing work to engage with unionism.  We are working to create an Irish Republic which vindicates the rights and entitlements set out in the 1916 proclamation and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil.

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