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4 November 2012 Edition

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Enda Kenny pressed to support Border poll

Scottish independence referendum date agreed with Westminster

• Enda Kenny and Gerry Adams

“Partition has failed the people of this island, it is uneconomic, unjust and inefficient. Now is the right time for a debate on this issue in the context of rebuilding the economies on this island and beginning a process of dialogue and consultation around Irish unity.”

24 HOURS after Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed on a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, Gerry Adams told the Dáil he was disappointed that Taoiseach Enda Kenny still refuses to support a poll for a united Ireland under the Good Friday Agreement.

The Constitutional Issues section of the Good Friday Agreement makes provision for a poll on Irish unity. It says:

“If, in future, the people of the island of Ireland exercise their right of self-determination . . . to bring about a united Ireland, it will be a binding obligation on both governments to introduce and support in their respective parliaments legislation to give effect to that wish.”

But Enda Kenny, leader of a party that until recent years proclaimed itself to be ‘Fine Gael — The United Ireland Party’, has set his face against a ‘Border poll’.

Partition: uneconomic, unjust and inefficient

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil on 16 October, Gerry Adams expressed his disappointment at the Taoiseach’s refusal to support a Border poll.

“Partition has failed the people of this island,” the Belfast-born TD for Louth said. “It is uneconomic, unjust and inefficient. Now is the right time for a debate on this issue in the context of rebuilding the economies on this island and beginning a process of dialogue and consultation around Irish unity.”

Noting the previous day’s agreement between the leaders of the Scottish Government and the British Government, the Sinn Féin president said “the British Union is now a live debating issue and the people of Scotland will have their say in 2014”.

Reminding TDs that the Good Friday Agreement they endorsed makes provision for a Border poll, Gerry Adams argued:

“There is an onus on the Irish Government to prepare a strategy – in co-operation with others, and including a Green Paper on Irish unity – that has the Irish Government take the lead on the issue of Irish unity, including the setting of a date for a Border poll.”

This is “one of the great historic challenges facing the Irish people at the start of the 21st century”, Gerry Adams said.

“A united Ireland will only happen when those who believe that partition is a costly, inefficient, bureaucratic duplication of services on this island persuade those who wish to retain the Union that Irish unity will be better for them and for their children.

“We have to demonstrate in practical ways why working as partners and living together as equals on this island is better.”

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