26 February 2009 Edition
Irish unity is an economic imperative
Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2009
BY MÍCHEAL Mac DONNCHA
The economic necessity of Irish unity was very much to the fore at the Ard Fheis as the party renewed its commitment to its central aim and reflected on it in the light of the current economic crisis.
Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said:
“This Ard Chomhairle motion affirms that the primary aim of Sinn Féin is Irish unity. And it is achievable.
“The current economic crisis demonstrates once more the folly of attempting to govern this small island on the basis of partition. It warps our economy and hampers our ability to democratically manage our affairs. Two separate currencies, two separate tax regimes, two separate administrations, two separate sets of public services on an island of just under six million people makes no sense. It leads to duplication, distortion and dysfunction. At present currency, tax and commercial differentials mean that trade in the Border Counties in this jurisdiction is suffering badly. In the past the same differentials have led to a flow in the opposite direction with trade and commerce in the Six Counties suffering. That turnaround will happen again with the ebb and flow constantly eroding the ability of the country to develop in a sustainable way.
“Ar aghaidh linn le chéile ag obair ar son Aontacht na hÉireann lenár linn.”
EU candidate and Donegal County Councillor Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said partition has been “a profound injustice to border communities and has failed us all”. He told the Ard Fheis:
“The economic challenges before us are huge but they can be overcome with honest leadership and decisive action. The starting point must be stimulating the economy. This means measures to encourage economic growth, economic strategies which invest in jobs, in people and in public services.
“I live in the Inishowen peninsula right on the border. I have seen the negative and debilitating impact of partition at first hand. I have seen cancer patients travelling hundreds of miles when they could have had those services on their doorstep. I have seen investment agencies compete rather than co-operate and ultimately fail us on either side of the border. I have seen our services taken away and economic prosperity pass us by again and again. Partition has been a profound injustice to the people of the border counties but it has also failed all the people of this island.
Economic cost of border
“Irish Unity is not just a dearly held republican aspiration. It is an economic imperative. In short Irish unity makes economic sense. A considerable market of six million people exists on the island of Ireland. Over three million workers across Ireland have fuelled extraordinary economic growth in the past 10 years.
“Despite these developments the continuing partition of Ireland creates impediments to economic development. These impediments cost individuals and businesses on a daily basis. They cost the island economy hundreds of millions each year. The identification and removal of these costs will create efficiencies, employment, wealth and opportunity across Ireland.
“Given the severe pressure being placed on public service budgets by the current crash in government revenue, duplication in service provision on the island of Ireland cannot be allowed continue. A root and branch review of all services must be undertaken to integrate services. This review will ensure the quality provision of services to our citizens and will reap savings from the efficiencies gained.
“Ireland today needs a new standard of patriotism that is not in thrall to gombeenmen, bankers and reckless profiteers. The foundation stone of that patriotism is the Democratic Programme of An Chéad Dáil.
“Republican values and republican politics have never been so relevant or so necessary.”