Taoiseach & Government’s refusal to include possibility/probability of a referendum unifying the people of Ireland in the National Risk Assessment, claiming it is ‘not a risk’ leaves a void

Deputy Sean Fleming TD and Senator Mark Daly lodge submission to National Risk Assessment Consultation

Deputy Sean Fleming TD and Senator Mark Daly have today sent a joint submission to the government’s 2019 Draft National Risk Assessment. Closing date for observations is Tuesday, 25 June 2019. They’re calling on the Taoiseach and Government to include the possibility/probability of a future referendum on unifying the people of Ireland in the final National Risk Assessment report.

There is no mention of the possibility of a referendum on new Agreed Ireland uniting the people of Ireland in the 2019 Draft National Risk Assessment. Meanwhile, topics as diverse as global warming, cyber security, terrorism, the healthcare crisis, the housing crisis and even the possibility of another referendum on Scottish independence are included.

The Taoiseach has spoken about his desire to achieve the main aim of the State, in accordance with articles 2 and 3 of the constitution. However, his own department’s Draft National Risk Assessment report makes no mention of any necessity for policy preparation in advance of any referendum. The Taoiseach has said in a Parliamentary Question reply to Deputy Fleming that the topic ‘would not be regarded as a risk’, and yet went on to say that ‘the very important and sensitive policy issues related to it would not be dealt with in the Risk Assessment process’.

Deputy Fleming, commenting on this reply, said, “This reply leaves a void in the National Risk Assessment process. What other issues has the Taoiseach decided are too sensitive to be dealt with in the National Risk Assessment and have been hidden from the people of Ireland?”

Senator Daly commented, “As I have said before, the Brexit referendum has taught Ireland an important lesson: you do not hold a referendum until there is debate and discussion with all sides and all necessary preparations are made. Policy neglect seldom goes unpunished and this is very true of the lack of policy preparation for a referendum on a new Agreed Ireland by the Government.”

In March, Senator Daly wrote to the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, all Government Ministers and chairs of each Government’s Risk Committee to request their policy preparations on uniting the people of Ireland. To date, none have been received.

The Taoiseach and the government are not listening to voices as diverse as those of the British Prime Minister Theresa May, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Congressman Paul Ryan and DUP leader Arlene Fosters who have all spoken about the issue of a referendum on a new Agreed Ireland. Lady Sylvia Hermon, Independent Unionist MP for North Down, said in an interview with the BBC, “I am worried about the consequences of Brexit. In my lifetime I never thought that I would see a Border poll and I am now convinced that I probably will see a Border poll.” She is right when she said in the same interview that, “Brexit has and will change everything.”

In 2017 the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement published its report entitled ‘Brexit & the Future of Ireland: Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace & Prosperity’. That report, compiled by Senator Mark Daly, is the first report by a Dáil or Senate Committee on the steps required to achieve a United Ireland as stated in articles 2 & 3 of the constitution and as provided for in the Good Friday Agreement. None of the 17 recommendations put forth by the joint committee have been carried out by the government to date, despite being adopted unanimously in July 2017. These key recommendations should be implemented as a matter of extreme urgency.

Deputy Fleming and Senator Daly are calling on the government to include the possibility/probability of a referendum on a New Agreed Ireland in the 2019 National Risk Assessment.

Deputy Fleming and Senator Daly’s full submission to the 2019 National Risk Assess is available at https://bit.ly/2KDQAdx

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