Cllr Pearse McGeough – Time to talk about a United Ireland

Pearse McGeoughSinn Féin this week launched an important new discussion document on Irish unity.

Councillor Pearse McGeough, speaking today, said “Brexit opens up a unique opportunity to look again at the idea of unity. A united Ireland makes sense in terms of the economy, public services, investment, exports, agriculture, policing and justice and sport.”

“There are no advantages for a small island of just over six million people in having two separate tax systems, legal systems, and competing economic development programmes. Removing barriers to trade, created by the border will lead to significant economic growth across the island.”

The discussion document launched by Sinn Féin this week entitled ‘Towards a United Ireland’ outlines the case for unity.

Cllr McGeough explained “Sinn Féin wants to see a new Ireland where citizens have the right to a job, to a home, and a decent standard of education. A new, united Ireland must deliver new politics and fundamentally change the political status quo North and South.

“There will be a need for a new Constitution and Bill of Rights, and there may need to be constitutional and political safeguards for the unique identity of Northern unionists. The Good Friday Agreement provides for peaceful and democratic constitutional change through concurrent referendums North and South.

“Securing a referendum on Irish unity would be an historic opportunity for all the people of Ireland, allowing us to vote for the kind of government and society we wish to see.

“Sinn Féin has called for a Unity Poll and we are seeking an informed, reasoned and respectful dialogue on the issue. Now is the time to plan and to build the maximum support for unity. The leadership of those political parties which say they support Irish unity, acting together, could provide the leadership to deliver it.

“I believe the Government should start preparing for unity by establishing an all-party group to bring forward a Green Paper for Unity. I also believe they could start now to develop a plan for an all-island National Health Service and give citizens of this country what they deserve.

“I hope everyone gives this discussion document careful consideration and I would like to see other parties and organizations putting forward their ideas on this important issue.”

To view the discussion document please go to www.sinnfein.ie

Brexit threatens cross border Health projects and requires a National debate – Adams

DSC_3254_6510Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has warned that Brexit threatens cross-Border health care agreements.

Teachta Adams said: “Patients from this state have been availing of health services in the North under the EU cross-Border directive. It meant that where there was an overly long waiting list, people could travel with relative ease to receive the treatment that they needed. The waiting lists are not going away; neither are the demands. Going North across the Border was manageable, but it may now become unmanageable. This is a priority area of cooperation that the government and the Executive must address as they seek to coordinate their response to Brexit.”

In this context the Louth TD and Sinn Féin party leader has called on the Irish government to consider establishing a National Forum to discuss how the vote of the clear majority of citizens in the north who want to remain in the EU can be respected and defended.

The purpose of this Forum would be to bring together all of the different strands of opinion on the island of Ireland to discuss our future in the EU following the Brexit vote.

Gerry Adams said:

“I have written to the Taoiseach to ask him to consider establishing a Forum to discuss the future for the people of this island – North and South – and the European Union following the Brexit vote. I have asked him to meet with me and other political leaders to discuss this proposal.

“This Forum should aim to have island wide participation and involve the Assembly parties, the Oireachtas, European Parliament and civic society.

“The vote of the clear majority of citizens in the north who want to remain in the EU must be respected and defended.

“The Remain vote brought together unionists, nationalists, republicans and others in common cause on the same platform. Those who campaigned for a Leave vote should also be invited. There is an imperative on all of those who are concerned about the consequences of the Brexit vote to work together in the time ahead.

“There is a particular onus on the Irish government to defend the Good Friday Agreement and its institutions, and to work closely with the Executive to achieve maximum co-operation.

“A Forum, similar to the New Ireland Forum and the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, should be open to all political parties on the island. It would have the clear objective of discussing the implications of Brexit and producing papers on strategies and policies that might assist in coordinating efforts in the time ahead.

“Such a Forum could be invaluable in providing information both to the public and to all of those sectors of our society likely to be affected by Brexit.

“The Forum could reach out to those in Scotland who voted to remain in the EU.

“It could also hold plenary sessions to which experts on aspects of EU policy could give evidence.

“Critically, the agenda for such a Forum would need to be agreed with the participants to ensure maximum buy-in.”