Category Archives: A United Ireland in Peace and Prosperity

In 2017, Senator Daly was appointed rapporteur by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement of the report Brexit & The Future of Ireland, Uniting Ireland and its People in Peace & Prosperity. Full information on the report including all submissions and reference documents are available at

Section 1 Recommendations

The Irish government must negotiate for Northern Ireland to be
designated with special status within the EU and for the whole island
of Ireland to have a unique solution as part of the Brexit negotiation.

If current EU funding programmes cannot be protected then the
eligibility of Northern Ireland for receipt of EU Structural funds and
other funding schemes and mechanisms must be clarified as a matter
of urgency, to help underpin the peace process.

The Report on the All-Ireland Economy: compiled in 2016 by Peadar
Tóibín TD for the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and
Innovation in the light of Brexit should be updated.

Any passport controls between Ireland and the UK should be along the
same basis as for people traveling between these islands from 1939 to
1952. There should not be a return to passport controls on the borders
between the North and South of Ireland.

Given the likely impact on certain categories, including women, in border
counties and employment in these areas there is a need for impact
analysis on these sectors of society

Further research into the income and expenditure for Northern Ireland
should be carried out

Section 2 Recommendations

Welcome the declaration agreed to by the European Council on 29 April
2017 which provides for Northern Ireland automatically becoming part of
the EU in the event of a future united Ireland.

This declaration known in Brussels as ‘The Kenny Text’ is similar to that
of Commission President Jacque Delors in January 1990 on the issue of
German Unification ‘East Germany is a special case’.
Section 3 Recommendations

It is recognised that World Trade Organisation rules and a hard border
would have a detrimental impact on Ireland North and South & Further
impact assessment is required on the economic impact of reunification.

The Committee urges that the matter of EU funding for Northern Ireland and
the border region remains high on the agenda and an expeditious solution is
found for successor programmes after 2020.

Section 4 Recommendations

The establishment of a New Ireland Forum 2 is recommended to set a
pathway to achieve the peaceful reunification of Ireland.

Establish an international task force with experts in security so that 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 by all stakeholders in advance
of any referendum.

The legacy issues in society outlined by Senator Frances Black and the
inter- generational impact of the troubles in terms of mental health
consequences and substance abuse needs to be addressed
Section 5 Recommendation

Explore potential solutions to resolve disputes that may arise from the
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, as recommended by High Court
Justice Kevin Humphreys.

Section 6 Recommendation

Lessons from referendums need to be learned to ensure that the Irish
government fulfils its constitutional obligations.

Section 7 Recommendation

The Government needs to carry out an audit in relation to the
legal and constitutional changes pre and post-unification

Watch: Senator Daly questions Minister Coveney on the impact of Brexit on the Border and Peace Process

I join others in congratulating the Tánaiste on his hard work and that of his officials. We all support their efforts. His recent trip to the US was a great success, in that it galvanised Irish America. The support of Congressman Richard Neal and the House Ways and Means Committee is enormous, as it sent a message to the UK that Irish America and its powerful position on that committee, which will decide on the future trade arrangements between the US and the UK, will not support any trade arrangement. When we met Congressman Neal and other Irish American Congressmen, they told us that they wanted to know where the border between the UK and Ireland and the EU would be and how it would function. They wanted Britain to sign up to the backstop, which people seem to forget it negotiated. Those congressmen are concerned about the Good Friday Agreement and the peace.

We are discussing the Border poll and related matters. The issue of unification is not just a name or aspiration. As the former Attorney General, Mr. Rory Brady, stated, achieving it is a constitutional imperative and an obligation, not simply an aspiration to have. The policy neglect in that context that we are currently suffering needs to be resolved. I agree with Deputy O’Dowd about the roadmap, but one of the concerns about that relate to the Belfast High Court case last year in which Mr. Justice Paul Girvan ruled that, although it would be prudent for the Secretary of State to have a policy on how a referendum would be called and how she would determine that the majority of people were in favour of a referendum, he could not legally require her to do so. Although we need clarification in this regard, it is not a matter for the next 36 days. That conversation around a new agreed Ireland – a vision that we can all share of the best future for everyone in the island – is probably not for the 36 days.

I wish to bring the Tánaiste’s attention to a report – I partly assisted in compiling it – by two experts on preventing violent extremism. Professors Pat Dolan and Mark Brennan are chairs in UNESCO. This is about having facts. Their view is that, if there is a return to a hard border, there will be a return to violence. The question is the scale of the violence. It is important for the UK Government to listen. It needs to know. When the UK had its debate on the Brexit referendum, it did not have the facts. If the UK Government is deciding to do a U-turn on the backstop, it needs to be aware of the fact that there will not just be economic consequences for this island, but also circumstances that we do not want to see returning. There was a reason for the Good Friday Agreement and the backstop, and it is the reason we do not want a U-turn on the latter.

I thank the Chair for allowing me to contribute and the Tánaiste for attending the meeting.


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February 2019 Tracking Poll

2019 Feb Q12019 Feb Q22019 Feb Q32019 Feb Q42019 Feb Q52019 Feb Q6

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Northern Ireland Returning to Violence as a Result of a Hard Border due to Brexit or a Rushed Border Poll: Risks for Youth Research Report

Full Report UNESCO Professor’s Report on Return to Violence

Return to violence cover


In 2017 I was honoured to be appointed Rapporteur for the first report in the history of the state by a Dáil or Senate committee on achieving a united Ireland. The 1,232 page report ‘Brexit & the Future of Ireland: Uniting Ireland & its People in Peace & Prosperity’             was adopted unanimously by the All Party Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement

One of the key recommendations in this report is to:

Establish an international task force with experts in security so that plans to meet any risks may be devised and implemented.’

Following on from this recommendation I began working with global experts on the issue of counter terrorism and the prevention of radicalization. Those who helped carry out this study were initially asked to assist in carrying out research on maintaining the peace in Northern Ireland in advance of a border poll.

The remit of the research expanded due to the realisation that there could be a return of a hard border on the Island because of a no deal Brexit. The genuine fear is that as a consequence of a return to a hard border there will be a return to violence in Northern Ireland.

Those who helped me compile this report on a return to violence in the event of a hard border or preventing violence in advance of a premature border poll on a united Ireland are experts in the area of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) and Counter Terrorism.

I am grateful to the experts who have contributed to this report including Michael Ortiz, Professor Pat Dolan and Professor Mark Brennan.

Michael Ortiz was appointed by Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as the first US diplomat focused on countering violent extremism (CVE) policy at the Department of State. As Deputy Counterterrorism Coordinator, Ortiz led diplomatic efforts to persuade foreign governments and the UN to implement CVE policies and programmes. Previously, he served as Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor at the White House, was the Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council, and worked in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. Earlier in his career, he worked in the offices of Senators Obama and Reid.

Professor Pat Dolan is Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at the National University of Ireland, Galway and holds the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, the first to be awarded in the Republic of Ireland. Professor Dolan and his team deliver a comprehensive research and education programme of work towards the objective of promoting civic engagement and leadership skills among children and youth, including resiliency building and empathy education. He has worked with and for families as a practitioner, service manager, and academic. Professor Dolan has completed an extensive body of research on family issues including Family Support and Prevention, a longitudinal research on adolescents, their perceived mental health, resilience and social support. He is joint founder of the ‘Youth as Researchers’ international programme and has published vastly in a wide range of academic publications. He has acted as child youth and family policy and practice advisor to national and international NGOs and Governments around the world.

Professor Mark Brennan is the UNESCO Chair for Community, Leadership, and Youth Development and Professor of Leadership and Community Development at the Pennsylvania State University. Professor Brennan’s teaching, research, writing, and program development concentrate on the role of civic engagement, leadership, agency, and empathy in peacebuilding, youth and community development process. His work has also increasingly focused on the role of youth as active contributors to peace building, social justice, and functioning societies. Professor Brennan has over 25 years of experience in designing, conducting, and analysing social science research related to community and youth development. This work has involved extensive comparative research throughout Ireland, the United States, Europe, Africa, Asia and Central/South America.

Professors Brennan and Dolan are co-founders of the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Children, Youth, and Community, which includes the UNESCO Chair programme at the University of Ulster, and UNESCO Chairs in Uganda, Brazil, Korea, USA, and Mexico. Through this network and their related work, they have been at the forefront of UNESCO research, programming, and policy in the area of Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE).

The UNESCO Chairs praise the great work that is being done and has been done in Northern Ireland that has helped transform many parts of the society. However they do point out that some in the ‘Agreement Generation’, particularly those youths living in the most deprived communities, are suffering from a ‘Loss of memory of harm’. They were born in the decade before and since the Good Friday Agreement. Thankfully they have no first-hand memory of the destruction and devastation of the troubles. However some have been given a distorted version of the troubles.

The challenge for us all is to make sure the peace process is not jeopardised by a return to a hard border due to Brexit or a premature border poll. The peace won by previous generations must not be jeopardised by the current generations and that peace must be passed on intact for generations to come.

Senator Mark Daly

Seanadóir Marcus O’Dalaigh





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Irish people want a United Ireland, see a referendum in the next 10 years


First of its kind tracking poll shows the majority of Republic of Ireland residents are in favor of a United Ireland and there should be an all-island citizens assembly established.

The first survey of its kind the “Unifying Ireland Tracking Poll” commissioned by Fianna Fail Senator Mark Daly showed that 73.4% of residents in the Republic of Ireland would be in favor of unifying the people of Ireland.

The face to face survey was carried out by Brandtactics on behalf of Senator Daly. The anonymous survey conducted in September and October, in the Republic of Ireland provinces of  Munster, Leinster, and Connaught with a 500-person sample. What makes it unique is that this is the first of four tracking polls that will be carried out – meaning four of the questions will remain the same while three will vary.

Senator Daly said, “I commissioned Brand Tactics to carry out the polling and we will follow on with tracking polls every 4 months to obtain the views and options of the Irish people on the main aim of the Irish state in our constitution.”

The Republic of Ireland residents were asked if they would “vote Yes in favor of unifying the people of Ireland”. A massive 73.4% voted “Yes”, with just 26.6% voting “No”.

When asked if they believed there would be “a referendum on Unity” 29.68% said they believed a referendum would be held within ten years, another 21.7% believed a vote would be held within five years. Only 19.53% said they did not believe a referendum on a United Ireland would take place.

There was a resounding response to the question of whether an all-island citizens assembly should be established to “plan for unity and the future of Ireland”. A huge 64.34% said “Yes”.

Similarly when asked if the Irish government should “establish a task force to ensure the current peace” in the island of Ireland a large portion (47.81% ) said “Yes”, while 19.52% said “No” as they believe “the violence has ended”.

Sadly, when asked when asked which country, the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, ranks higher in the United Nations Human Development Index on the topics of health, education, income and Northern Ireland the answer was overwhelming “The Republic of Ireland”. A massive 78.76% believed that the Republic ranks higher than the North.

The final question asked if the public in the Republic were “aware that the current budget of Northern Ireland would be balanced in a reunification scenario”. A majority, 73.4% said they “No” they were not aware.

Reflecting on the results of the “Unifying Ireland Tracking Poll” Senator Daly said “The results are not surprising and consistent with other polls. The wish of the vast majority of Irish people is for peaceful unification and there is a growing belief that a referendum will happen in the near future, in fact, Unionist MP for North Down Lady Sylvia Hermon, said the “there will be a border poll in her lifetime.”

Senator Mark Daily, who commissioned the poll.

Senator Mark Daily, who commissioned the poll.

He explained that in a post-Brexit world what he is now doing is being preparations to look at the issues surrounding the possible referendum on the unification of Ireland.

Daly said “Sixty-three percent of those surveyed believe that the government should establish an all-island citizens assembly to look at all the issues in advance of a referendum.

“The lesson of Brexit is you do not hold a Referendum and then tell people what the future looks like. Policy neglect seldom goes unpunished and Irish government need to do the long-term preparation that is required.”

Senator Daly compiled the first report by the Irish parliament on the issue of the reunification of Ireland. The report was unanimously adopted by the all-party Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

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October 2018 Tracking Poll


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