The Irish Post – “Irish Government sets out how to achieve a united Ireland”

THE IRISH Government has laid out how to peacefully achieve a united Ireland.

By Erica Doyle Higgins, The Irish Post:

Points have been laid out in a Joint Committee report on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement called Brexit and the Future of Ireland: Uniting Ireland and Its People in Peace and Prosperity.

Released on August 2, the report proposes setting up a New Ireland Forum 2 to set a pathway to achieve the peaceful unification of Ireland.

The New Ireland Forum in 1983 was established for consultations on the manner in which lasting peace and stability could be achieved in a new Ireland through the democratic process.

Recommendations for Ireland post-Brexit and to achieve a united Ireland include passport controls between Ireland and Britain to remain the same; no passport controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic; establishing an expert security task force to ascertain risks and examine legal and constitutional changes pre and post-unification.

Labour MP Conor McGinn, chair of Westminster’s All Party Parliamentary Group on the Irish in Britain, welcomed the report but also hit out at the British Government over its current stance on borders in Ireland.

“This is a welcome contribution from our colleagues in the Oireachtas to a debate that is taking place on both sides of the Irish Sea,” he said.

“Brexit has put Ireland high up the political agenda at Westminster, and many people here are beginning to see that a united and agreed Ireland is not just an aspiration for an unspecified time in the future but a realisable, sensible and practical option to start planning for now.

He added: “If the Tory Government continues to play fast and loose with the Good Friday Agreement and keeps pursuing a hard Brexit leading to a hard border – against the wishes of the majority of people in Northern Ireland – then that view will only become more widespread both in Britain and on the island of Ireland.”

Report rapporteur Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly said Northern Ireland is most at risk in the UK post Brexit.

“It is clear from all the reports written on the issue of Brexit that its effect on Northern Ireland will be significant,” he said.

“In February 2016 research commissioned by the UK Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment on the economic implications of a UK exit from the EU showed that Northern Ireland is more vulnerable to Brexit than Britain.”

He added: “The loss to Northern Ireland of EU membership and funding will be significant, and the subsequent effect on the economy and the potential to destabilise the peace process is a central concern.

“Ireland believes that in relation to Brexit, Northern Ireland is a special case and its peace process is worthy of on-going support from the EU and Britain.”

Read the report’s recommendations for Ireland post-Brexit and achieving a united Ireland below… 

  • There should not be a return to passport controls on the borders between the North and South of Ireland.
  • Further research into the income and expenditure for Northern Ireland should be carried out.
  • Welcome the declaration agreed by the European Council in April 2017 which provides for Northern Ireland automatically becoming part of the EU in the event of a future united Ireland.
  • It is recognised that World Trade Organisation rules and hard border would have a detrimental impact on the island of Ireland.
  • Establish an international expert security task force so plans to meet any risks may be devised and implemented.
  • Fears and concerns of the Unionist community need to be examined, understood and addressed comprehensively in advance of any referendum.
  • Legacy issues and the inter-generational impact of the Troubles in terms of mental health and substance abuse needs to be addressed.
  • Explore solutions to resolve disputed that may arise from the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
  • Lessons from referendums need to be learned to ensure the Irish Government fulfils its constitutional obligations.
  • The Irish Government needs to carry out an audit in relation to the legal and constitutional changes pre and post-unification.



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