MEP calls for Irish Unity Referendum in Easter speech

0
429
galway daily unity referendum

MEP for the Midlands North West constituency Matt Carthy, has called on unionist leaders to engage in discussions on what a United Ireland could look like.

“Pretending that the debate isn’t happening or that change isn’t coming, doesn’t prevent the debate or the change, it just reduces your potential to shape it,” he said. “That is unfair on unionist communities who must be accommodated in our new, agreed Ireland”.

However recent talk of holding a referendum has been harshly criticised by Fine Gael.

Senator Neale Richmond commented: “At such a vital juncture in Brexit talks, with tensions across the UK, talk of a referendum on a United Ireland is wholly irresponsible.

“With emotions charged, the Irish Government is going to great lengths to reassure unionists in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain that the current negotiations are not an exercise in securing a United Ireland by stealth.

“It is vital that we respect the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom as a whole and crucially that of Northern Ireland.”

Matt Carthy used Brexit being imposed on the people of Ireland as a reason that the fate of people in Northern Ireland should not be decided by London and voters in England.

Matt Carthy MEP made the remarks during an address to the Easter Rising commemoration in Crossmaglen, Co. Armagh on Easter Sunday morning.

He said: “Ireland is once again at a point of great change. The Orange state is gone. The perpetual unionist majority in the North has ended. The forces of conservative Ireland no longer enjoy the unquestioning support of citizens.

“Orange and Green are now part of a rainbow of colours and identities. A new Ireland is emerging.

“We now have a real opportunity to end Partition and build a new and united Ireland.

“We must secure and win a referendum on Irish unity.

“We want to engage the unionist people and their representatives in the debate – we want them to tell us how a united Ireland can and should protect their identity, their culture, their place in this country.

“The refusal by unionist leaders, thus far, to engage in this conversation, is a failure on their part, a particular failure to those they represent.  Pretending that the debate isn’t happening, that change isn’t coming, doesn’t prevent the debate or the change, it just reduces your potential to shape it.  That is unfair on unionist communities who must be accommodated in our new, agreed Ireland.

“We don’t need to accept each other’s version of history to acknowledge the rights of everyone to remember their dead.

“The ongoing campaign by some unionist leaders against any element of commemoration for republicans needs to stop as does the facilitation of that campaign by elements within the media who should know better.

“Raymond McCreesh refused to be criminalised in 1981; we will not allow our remembrance of him and other IRA volunteers to be demonised in 2018.”

However, Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond argued that a referendum on a United Ireland can only be deemed required by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

He also said that Sinn Féin MPs should change the 100-year-old policy of not taking their seats in Westminster  – effectively ignoring their mandate – to ‘materially impact the lives of the people of Northern Ireland for the better’.

“It is clear that nothing of substance has changed in terms of political representation in the North that would merit such a referendum.

“Rather than floating such notions, the leadership of Sinn Féin should really be focused on re-establishing power sharing at Stormont.”