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

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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Reuters – “Britain seeks Brexit without borders for Northern Ireland”

By William James and Conor Humphries, Reuters:

Some 30,000 people cross the 500-km (300-mile) border every day without customs or immigration controls; negotiators must work out new arrangements without inflaming tensions in a region that suffered decades of bloody turmoil before a peace deal in 1998.

As part of a series of papers that Prime Minister Theresa May hopes will push forward talks with the EU, the government on Tuesday outlined its vision for a “frictionless” customs system, which one EU politician described as ‘fantasy’.

Wednesday’s publication drew heavily on those proposals as a solution for Northern Ireland that would not involve “physical border infrastructure and border posts”, or electronic surveillance. Reaching agreement with the EU on this was top of Britain’s list of Brexit priorities, the government said.

The aim is “to find a practical solution that recognizes the unique economic, social and cultural context of the land border with Ireland, without creating any new obstacles to trade within the UK,” Northern Ireland minister James Brokenshire said.

May also said Britain would consider stepping in to replace some EU funding for peace projects in Northern Ireland after it leaves the bloc in March 2019, to prevent a resurgence of violence between pro-British Protestants and Catholic Irish nationalists.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the proposals, saying Britain had acknowledged for the first time that it would not be practical to depend on technological solutions to monitor the border.

“Of course what we don’t have, though, is the detail as to how it’s going to work,” he said.

But Senator Mark Daly, deputy leader of Ireland’s opposition Fianna Fáil party, said the proposals for a frictionless border appeared “more like fiction, and clueless on this island”.

“It will be a smugglers’ charter,” he told BBC Radio Four.

Northern Ireland sold 2.7 billion pounds ($3.5 billion) of goods into Ireland in 2015, according to official figures, and many businesses have complex supply chains that involve crossing the border multiple times during the production process.

The Sinn Fein party, which wants a referendum on ending British rule in Northern Ireland and uniting the island under the Irish flag, said it doubted an open border could be delivered.

“They have not put anything concrete on the table . ….we are a fleeting concern to the British government, collateral damage in the Brexit negotiations,” said Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Fein’s leader in Northern Ireland.

Britain said it wanted to maintain the Common Travel Area (CTA), a pact that allows free movement between the United Kingdom and Ireland for British and Irish citizens, with no need for passport controls and “no question of new immigration checks operating between Northern Ireland and Ireland”.

That would mean EU citizens wishing to enter Britain could do so by traveling legitimately to Ireland and crossing the border unchecked – something that is likely to antagonize the many Britons for whom controlling immigration was a key reason for backing Brexit.

“If you don’t have any of these checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland – the UK-EU border – and you don’t have any between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, well then, where do you check immigration?” Conor McGinn, a spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, told Sky News.

“It seems to me that the government has handed back control of its border to the EU.”

The government said control over migration from the EU into Britain could be exercised by restrictions on access to the British social security system and labor market. Further details would be set out in a future document on immigration.

Britain also wants to introduce new ‘trusted trader’ arrangements to help larger companies and make smaller firms exempt from customs processes.

It rejected the idea of an effective customs border in the Irish Sea that separates England, Wales and Scotland from Ireland and Northern Ireland as “not constitutionally or economically viable”.

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The New York Times – “U.K. Sets Out Goals for an Open Irish Border. Trade Is More Complex.”

LONDON — The militarized checkpoints that once stood along the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland became flash points for sectarian violence during the Troubles, and no one wants to see their return after Britain quits the European Union in 2019.

But a document released by the British government on Wednesday on how to preserve the open border there has underscored the sprawling complexity of Britain’s planned departure from the bloc, known as Brexit.

Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, while Ireland has been an independent nation since 1921. Both are members of the European Union — a shared status that has helped London and Dublin put aside historical differences and develop such a close relationship that border controls have disappeared. Travelers generally do not even know when they have passed from one country to the other.

After Brexit, however, the roughly 300-mile frontier with Ireland will be the United Kingdom’s only land border with a bloc whose economic arrangements, including its customs union and single market, it plans to leave. That creates a host of problems.

The customs union allows members to trade freely among themselves while charging a single tariff on some goods from nonmembers. When Britain leaves the bloc, goods crossing the border from Britain into Ireland could be subject to varying tariffs, unless the British adopt the same tariffs as the European Union or strike a special deal with it. Policing those varying tariffs could be burdensome.

The same principle holds for the single market. It is maintained through a complex and detailed set of standards that Britain would either have to abide by or face the logistical nightmare of checking goods entering the European Union from its territory.

Adopting the same tariffs and standards as the European Union would clear up a lot of problems, but would undermine the supposed purpose of Brexit in the first place, which is to re-establish control over immigration and national sovereignty. It would also complicate, or perhaps even preclude, forging trade deals with countries like the United States, another major goal of Brexit.

The document published on Wednesday represents the first, if somewhat vague, attempt to deal with these problems as they affect the Irish frontier. It rules out the reintroduction of physical infrastructure such as customs posts, and there appear to be no plans to use security cameras or license plate recognition technology at or around the border.

Immigration would not be policed at the Irish frontier, nor would there be passport checks on people entering mainland Britain from Northern Ireland.

That would seem to raise the possibility that European Union citizens could enter Britain indirectly through Ireland, perhaps undermining control over immigration. But the document hints that European citizens would probably be allowed to enter Britain freely and directly from Europe even after Brexit, though they might face some restrictions on their right to work or to claim welfare payments as people from outside the European Union do today.

The bigger problem is trade. The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, warned last month that “frictionless trade” would not be possible if the United Kingdom left the bloc’s economic arrangements.

Wednesday’s document calls on the European Union to agree to a series of waivers for small businesses and farmers, to avoid the need for them to complete customs formalities.

But that is only part of the problem. Even if that were agreed, larger companies would surely face higher costs. The British government is hazy on this point, talking about setting up simplified customs procedures and applying technologies — so far unspecified — to track goods, reduce bureaucracy and prevent costly delays.

British officials say there is so far no estimate of the increased cost that some businesses would face. Stephen Martin, the director general of the Institute of Directors, a business lobby group, described the document as a “significant step forward,” while adding that it “throws up even more questions about how much flexibility and imagination will be needed to overcome some very fundamental challenges.”

John Bruton, a former Irish prime minister, said the document failed to address the need for tariffs to be collected by Ireland on some goods imported into the European Union. “Brexit is going to increase the cost of doing business,” he told the BBC.

Farmers may have to adapt, too. More than 10,000 pigs are exported from Ireland to Northern Ireland every week, while a quarter of all milk produced by dairies in Northern Ireland is exported to Ireland for processing.

To minimize disruptions to trade, the document suggests setting common regulatory standards on agricultural products traded between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Yet that could complicate London’s efforts to strike global trade deals with countries such as the United States, if they involve importing agricultural goods.

Ireland’s government gave the document a polite but cautious reception, with its foreign minister, Simon Coveney, welcoming the principles behind its approach. Yet he added, according to the Irish broadcaster RTE, “What we don’t have, though, is the detail as to how it’s going to work.”

Mark Daly, a senior member of Ireland’s opposition Fianna Fail party, was less diplomatic, describing the plan as “pie in the sky” and warning that the proposals amounted to a “smugglers’ charter.”

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