Winning the Campaign for Irish Unity – Gerry Adams TD

This weekend Ógra Sinn Féin held a weekend of conversation and discussion in the Muirhevnamor Community Centre in Dundalk. Among the speakers were Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald, Louise O’Reilly TD, Megan Fearon MLA and Caoimhe Archibald MLA.

Local Louth TD Gerry Adams spoke at the event on Saturday. The former Sinn Féin leader spoke on the role of women and the campaign to achieve Irish unity.

Gerry Adams said:
“Women have played an essential role in the struggle for Irish freedom. At the turn of the 20th century Republican women were indispensably involved in many of the emerging organisations which were giving voice to the cultural, sporting and language renewal and rebirth that was taking place. Today that involvement continues and Sinn Féin is now led by two formidable women activists; Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill. And at this time the Sinn Féin candidate for the Presidency of Ireland is another formidable women Liadh Ní Riada”.

On the issue of a unity referendum and winning that referendum Gerry Adams said:

“We won’t have any kind of a republic until we have a united Ireland. We won’t have a united Ireland until we end the union with Britain. We now have a way of achieving this. Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement – a majority vote in a unity referendum obliges the British government to leave.

Despite the negativity of the Irish and British governments there is growing support for a referendum on unity and for a united Ireland. But there is much work to be done. Republicans have a responsibility to map out the kind of shared new Ireland, we are working to build.

To advance this objective we must foster a ‘Yes for Unity’ movement which is much wider and broader than Sinn Féin. We don’t own the unity debate and we know that throughout Irish history progress has been best served when likeminded individuals and groups come together to work for a common goal.  

That was evident in 1916. It was most evident in the recent successful referendums on marriage equality and women’s health. We need to reach out to others and persuade them to join the campaign for a referendum and for unity.

There is also a responsibility on the Irish government and all of those parties which proclaim their commitment to a united Ireland, to work together and bring forward plans to achieve this. That means the Irish Government must advocate for, and plan for, a unity referendum and Irish Unity.

Ending partition and the call for a unity referendum have been given an added impetus by the threat Brexit it poses to the Good Friday Agreement and to the two economies on this island. The British government’s intention to take the North out of the EU, despite the vote by a majority of people there to remain, is a hostile action.

Despite this I believe that working together we can win a referendum on Irish unity. It is no longer a matter of if but when. After almost 100 years of a failed partitionist system and centuries of British involvement in Irish affairs, it is time for the Irish people, all of us on the island of Ireland, to shape out our own future”.

Adams calls for referendum on Irish Unity

Micky Brady, Cathal Boylan, Gerry Adams, Ruairí Ó Murchú, Megan Fearon & Conor Murphy

Sinn Féin Louth TD and former Party President Gerry Adams has addressed the annual republican commemoration at the republican Memorial Garden at Tí Chulainn, Mullaghban, on Sunday 1st July.

The commemoration is for those republicans killed during the conflict. A stone was unveiled in honour of Martin McGuinness who officially opened the Memorial Garden in 2010.

On the stone are engraved the words of local 18th century poet Art MacCumhaigh, one of the last of the Ulster poets in the Irish language tradition. They are taken from his poem Úrchill an Chreagáin.

“A  fhialfhir charthannaigh, Ná caitear thusa I néaltaí bróin. Ach éirigh Go tapaidh Is aistrigh liom siar sa ród”. It is an anthem for south east Ulster and was a lamentation for the fall of the O’Neill’s of the Fews. “My kind young man do not sleep in sorrow.  But rise swiftly and come along the road with me.”

Commenting on the current crisis in the institutions, Brexit and Sinn Féin’s goal of a referendum on Irish unity Gerry Adams said:

“The DUP have tied themselves to the English Tories; they embrace Brexit. They continue to deny citizen’s rights enjoyed elsewhere on these islands. But that will all be sorted. Of that there is no doubt.

“We can say with certainty that the DUP position is not sustainable. It is for them to come to terms with that.

“Everyone here knows that the Taoiseach’s position on the North, the border and rights is a direct consequence of the strength of Sinn Féin. So we will persist and we will prevail.

“We also reject Mr. Varadkar’s suggestion that a referendum on Irish unity is not desirable at this time. He has a duty to uphold the Good Friday Agreement. He cannot cherry-pick it. So we will continue to look for a referendum and we will do our utmost to win that convincingly.

“This is not a task for Sinn Féin alone. All political parties and others who support the Good Friday Agreement and an end to partition should also campaign for this modest step forward.

“How a shared Ireland, an agreed Ireland is created is another matter deserving of careful, generous and positive inclusivity. To begin with we need to understand that many unionists hold to their sense of identity as strongly as we do. So new thinking is needed by us all.

“We are a diverse people. That should be proudly proclaimed and not used to divide us. Ireland is an island – a society – in transition. The future is bright despite the dire threats of Brexit.”

Time to plan for Irish Unity’ – Gerry Adams TD

DSC_3254_6510Speaking in Washington last night Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD called on “all parties which see the value of Irish Unity to act together.”

Gerry Adams said:

“The academic paper by Professor Kurt Huebner of Vancouver University, entitled, ‘Modeling Irish Unification’, which was published in November 2015 is an important contribution to the debate about Irish unity. The author concluded that political and economic unification would likely result in a sizeable boost in economic outcomes and incomes in the North and a smaller boost in the South.

“In November 2016 Sinn Féin launched ‘Towards a United Ireland’. It is a detailed discussion paper setting out the arguments for a United Ireland. It addresses the impact on the economy, on inward investment, on exports, on the health service, on the border region and much more.

“It tackles head on and demolishes the argument that the people of the North and South cannot afford a United Ireland.

“The cause of uniting Ireland is not the property of any one grouping or party. That has always been Sinn Féin’s position. I therefore welcome Fianna Fáil’s entry into the discussion. It will be interesting to read the detail of whatever paper Fianna Fáil publishes. They should also engage with campaigning in communities and political actions and cooperation within the Oireachtas.

“For Sinn Féin’s part we are currently exploring the possibility of establishing a Dáil Committee on Irish Unity, that would bring forward proposals for what a United Ireland might look like, how we get there and how the Irish State needs to plan for reunification across all areas of the economy and society.

“To inform that discussion we are also working on a follow-up paper to our ‘Towards a United Ireland’ discussion document. It is a white paper-type document that lays out the benefits and outworkings of Unity across a range of areas, including enterprise, health, education, agriculture, energy, infrastructure and taxation on a short/medium and long term basis.

“It is expected that the British government will trigger Article 50 shortly to commence the negotiations on Brexit. This, the Assembly election results, which saw the Unionist parties lose their Assembly majority; and the announcement by the Scottish First Minister of a second Independence referendum, are the context for the current discussions on a United Ireland.

“It is crucial that Irish-America is fully aware of the hazard that a hard Brexit poses for the island of Ireland.  The reality is that Brexit is bad for the island as a whole. It runs contrary to the political, economic and social interests and aspirations of the Irish people. In the Brexit referendum vote in the North last June Brexit was rejected. This was repeated in the recent Assembly election which saw a majority of MLAs opposed to Brexit elected.

“The people of the six counties have not consented to being dragged out of the European Union. For the British government to ignore this fact flies in the face of the progress that been made in the North since the start of the peace process and the signing of the Good Friday.

“On Monday, Michelle O’Neill warned that Brexit will significantly undermine the Good Friday Agreement and lead to the imposition of a hard border. She argued that all of this increases the urgency for a referendum on Irish unity.

“The Good Friday Agreement obliges the Irish and British governments to legislate for unity if that is the choice of the people north and south. These changing times present real challenges and real opportunities. We need to continue to strategise, organise, and persuade for Irish Unity. We need to plan for a United Ireland. There is no short cut. Irish America has a real and crucial role in this transition.

“Reunification cannot be simply a case of adding the north to the south. It must be an agreed Ireland – in which unionists can feel comfortable and secure.

“It is about creating a new Ireland – in which the rights of citizens are upheld by the state. A new Ireland built on the principles of equality and inclusion. A new Ireland with a new constitution and Bill of Rights.

“A new Ireland with symbols and emblems to reflect a fair and inclusive society, that includes the safeguarding of British Citizenship and recognition of the Unionist Identity.

“This cannot be a rhetorical debate. All parties that see the value of reunification and hold to the ideal of unity must act together.

“There is an onus on the Irish government to plan for unity. To become a persuader for unity. To build the maximum agreement and to secure and win a referendum on unity.

“The days of leaving the debate on a united Ireland for another time are over. History has presented us with an unprecedented opportunity to advance this entirely legitimate and logical objective. Let’s not waste it.”