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Brexit outcome creates a new impetus for Irish unity - Carthy

28 August, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy MEP has outlined the far reaching consequences of Brexit, as well as the possibilities that have arisen from the referendum’s outcome. 

Speaking this evening during a debate entitled ‘Brexit: What does this mean for the North?’ hosted by the 1916 Clubs, Carthy said:

“Brexit changes everything - The referendum result has swept away many of the previous political assumptions about the constitutional, political and economic status quo in Ireland.

“While the referendum result is undoubtedly bad news for the people of Ireland North and South, it also opens a unique opportunity to look again at a future beyond Partition, sectarianism and division.

“Political partners, civic society and popular opinion must now work together to meet the latest political challenges by designing constitutional, political and economic arrangements that better suit Ireland’s needs now.

“The type of nation-building and island-wide reconciliation that Sinn Féin is working towards is not about grafting the North onto the current political, cultural and economic status quo of the South.

“It is rather, about the creation of a new, and agreed Ireland for all of us, in all our political and cultural diversity, who share this island.

“The Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael parties proclaim a commitment to the achievement of Irish unity. This commitment has been reiterated in recent weeks by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fianna Fáil Leader Mícheál Martin and Minister Leo Varadkar.

“However, when Sinn Féin seeks to move beyond such rhetoric and begin the important debate on how to progress that aim, we are told by these same parties and individuals that we are being divisive; that the time is not right.

“Irish republicans are being told - 18 years after the Good Friday Agreement, 22 years after the first ceasefires, 95 years after partition and 100 years after the Easter Rising – that it’s too soon to talk about a United Ireland.

“The reality is that unity will not happen through wishful thinking. It needs a realistic political strategy with clear objectives and actions.

“The ‘head in the sand’ approach of some within the leadership of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael does a serious disservice, not just to the cause of Irish unity, but to also to the Good Friday Agreement and the foundations on which the Peace Process itself was built.

“It is imperative now that the Irish Government prepares a real plan for unity. A first step would be for an Oireachtas all-party group to bring forward a Green Paper for unity.

“Constitutional change is now in the hands of the people, North and South.

“Now is the time for all parties who support Irish unity to come together to design the pathway to a new, agreed and inclusive united Ireland.”

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