Achieving a United Ireland worth having will require patience, trust, compromise and imagination according to a Fine Gael TD.
Dublin Rathdown TD, Neale Richmond, will tomorrow, Monday April 19th, present his paper ‘Towards a New Ireland’ to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, as part of their series of discussions on Ireland’s future.
Deputy Richmond said: “For those of us who aspire to a United Ireland, there is a huge amount of work before us. We must create a vision of a New Ireland that is better than what we have today for everyone borne out of the principle of consent.
“When we have discussions regarding Ireland’s future, we must recognise that these strike a note of fear in many communities. While we should not apologise for a desire to achieve a United Ireland, we also cannot ignore or discount these concerns.
“A truly United Ireland cannot be achieved without building trust between communities and so there is much work that must be done well in advance of any possible border poll.
“In order to create the space and mechanism for that, we must greatly increase engagement across this island and these islands; maximising the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.
“I would never expect a Unionist to vote for a United Ireland, but I fundamentally believe that we must create a New Ireland where Unionists are welcomed and ensure they do not feel like second class citizens or that they feel compelled to leave.
“If and when the time comes to hold a border poll, we must learn from the Brexit referendum and remember that voting for a concept without a clear definition of what it will entail is a recipe for disaster.
“When the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland adjudicates that it is time for a border poll to be called, a clear process should be in place including a Citizens’ Assembly North and South followed by Parliamentary Committee hearings in the Oireachtas, the Assembly and Westminster.
“The initial focus of this work should be on the practical issues that impact everyone everyday including a truly representative political system, the economy, healthcare, education, policing, infrastructure and continuing European Union membership.
“Emotive and eye-catching issues like flags, anthems and symbols are important but decisions on these should be the final step of this process, not the first.
“After all that is considered then a border poll should be held at the same time in both jurisdictions on the island to decide if that is a New Ireland we can agree upon.
“I am delighted to have been asked to present to Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University on what my vision is for the future of Ireland and how we should go about planning for a New Ireland.
“Achieving a United Ireland worth having will require patience, trust, compromise and imagination.
“It can be achieved,” Deputy Richmond concluded.
To register for the event, please log on to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/towards-a-new-ireland-with-neale-richmond-td-tickets-150078975255
A full pdf of “Towards a New Ireland” can be found here: https://www.finegael.ie/towards-a-new-ireland