16 July 2009 Edition
Pearse Doherty lays down challenge to the Seanad
Who fears to speak of Irish unity?
SPEAKING on Tuesday after a Seanad debate with the Taoiseach and representatives from all parties, Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty criticised other parties for fearing to speak of a united Ireland.
The Donegal senator pointed out that a British MP was due to chair a debate on Irish unity the same evening in the Grand Committee Room of the House of Commons at Westminster while, in the Seanad, a whole host of Irish politicians could not even bring themselves to mention the words Irish unity in a debate on the North.
Pearse Doherty, who is joint chairperson of Sinn Féin’s Task Force for Irish Unity, said:
“For a full hour today, not one of the representatives of the main political parties in this state bar Sinn Féin could bring themselves to mention the words Irish unity during a debate on the North. This is a sorry state of affairs when you consider that a British MP, Diane Abbott, is due to chair a debate on Irish unity in the Grand Committee Room of the House of Commons this evening and the event is due to be attended by a host of British politicians.
“Irish unity is the stated objective of all of the main political parties in this state yet their representatives can’t even bring themselves to mention the words let alone come up with a strategy for how that eventuality will come about or a vision of how it will look.”
The Sinn Féin senator said he does not buy into the excuse that we are somehow offending the unionist community by stating our perfectly legitimate goal of Irish unity.
“This is a recognised legitimate political objective and a major plank of our history and culture. Unionists have never been ashamed of their desire for the North to remain under British rule and certainly never worry about offending nationalists and republicans by stating their views. So why should we, as Irish political representatives, refrain from stating and pursuing our goal of Irish unity?
“If we truly want to bring about the reunification of our country then we can’t afford to be afraid to talk about it. We need to begin the discussion on how a new united Ireland will look, the benefits to our economy and to all sections of our community, including the unionist community. For that to begin, the members of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Labour Party and the Green Party need to get over this complex they have about discussing Irish unity.”