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Pressing responsibility on Irish government to actively prepare for reunification - O'Dowd

10 July, 2020 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin MLA John O'Dowd has said there is a pressing responsibility on the Irish government to actively prepare for Irish unity. 

John O'Dowd said: 

"Across Ireland people are thinking about their future and a conversation on Irish unity and how to shape it is already well underway. 

"People from all backgrounds are involved in that conversation but there are still some who profess to support Irish unity who appear afraid to get involved in the discussion. 

"The Irish government in particular have a responsibility to play a major role in leading the conversation around Irish unity, not only in relation to its responsibilities under the Good Friday Agreement but also under the constitution. 

"Brexit and the Covid-19 emergency have reshaped how people think and talk about what it means to share this island. These crises have shone a spotlight on the cost of having a border on the island, while showing starkly the merits and strengths of a shared and united Ireland.

"There is a pressing responsibility on the Irish government to lead an inclusive discussion and to start planning for our constitutional future and a referendum on Irish unity. This responsibility must be discharged while also fulfilling all legal obligations arising from the Good Friday and subsequent agreements.

"Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has now written to An Taoiseach calling on him to urgently demonstrate his commitment to preparing for Irish unity by taking practical steps as part of the proposed new Shared Ireland Unit.

"These should include establishing a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Irish Unity, establishing a Citizens Assembly representative of the whole island to discuss the issue and preparing a White Paper on Unity.

"The people of Ireland are already involved in the conversation. Sinn Féin will play our part; the Irish government must now play its part."

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