Category Archives: Press Coverage

Below is some of the press coverage of issues Senator Daly is working on

PROPER STEPS Senator Mark Daly says long-term planning and preparation needed for united Ireland

LONG-term planning and preparation is required for a united Ireland, an Irish senator has said.

Mark Daly said the Brexit crisis showed the unforeseen consequences of holding a referendum without proper preliminary steps.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has previously warned that now is not the time to prepare for a referendum on a united Ireland.

Senator Daly said: “The major lesson for Ireland from the Brexit crisis is the unforeseen consequences of holding a referendum without proper planning.

“A united Ireland requires long-term planning and preparation with all sides.”

He analysed court documents from victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord’s recent legal challenge surrounding Brexit.

Mr Daly said: “As it stands, a referendum on a united Ireland could potentially be decided by the Secretary of State before a single vote is cast.

“The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland cannot say the majority are or are not in favour of a united Ireland until it is decided who will be allowed to vote in a referendum.”

He said there was an urgent need for more policy and greater clarity.

A recent poll revealed more than two-thirds of voters in Northern Ireland believe Brexit will make a United Ireland more likely within the next 10 years.

Senator Daly said: “My response to the Taoiseach is that policy neglect seldom goes unpunished and we are well aware that Northern Ireland has a tragic history of denying people the right to vote.

“The future referendum on a united Ireland cannot be another chapter in that story.”

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Senator: Long-term plan needed for united Ireland

https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/senator-long-term-plan-needed-for-united-ireland-960331.html

Senator: Long-term plan needed for united Ireland

Long-term planning and preparation is required for a united Ireland, an Irish senator has said.

Mark Daly said the Brexit crisis showed the unforeseen consequences of holding a referendum without proper preliminary steps.

Policy neglect seldom goes unpunished and we are well aware that Northern Ireland has a tragic history of denying people the right to vote. The future referendum on a united Ireland cannot be another chapter in that story

Mr Daly said: “The major lesson for Ireland from the Brexit crisis is the unforeseen consequences of holding a referendum without proper planning.

“A united Ireland requires long-term planning and preparation with all sides.”

He analysed court documents from victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord’s recent legal challenge surrounding Brexit.

Mr Daly said: “As it stands, a referendum on a united Ireland could potentially be decided by the Secretary of State before a single vote is cast.

“The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland cannot say the majority are or are not in favour of a united Ireland until it is decided who will be allowed to vote in a referendum.”

He said there was an urgent need for more policy and greater clarity.

Mr Varadkar has said the time is not right to begin official planning for a referendum on Irish unity.

A recent poll revealed more than two-thirds of voters in Northern Ireland believe Brexit will make a United Ireland more likely within the next 10 years.

Senator Daly said: “My response to the Taoiseach is that policy neglect seldom goes unpunished and we are well aware that Northern Ireland has a tragic history of denying people the right to vote. The future referendum on a united Ireland cannot be another chapter in that story.”

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Op Ed: A united Ireland will depend on long, careful planning- and on finding out who can actually vote

Referendum Opinion Piece Irish Indepndent

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/mark-daly-a-united-ireland-will-depend-on-long-careful-planning-and-on-finding-out-who-can-actually-vote-38640471.html

A united Ireland will depend on long, careful planning- and on finding out who can actually vote

As it stands, the referendum on a United Ireland may be decided before a single vote is cast. Under the Good Friday Agreement, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has not only the sole power to call a referendum, but also has the sole power to decide who gets to vote in the referendum.

This little-known fact is central to the future of this island. To date the Secretary of State has declined to make clear who will be allowed to vote in a referendum on a United Ireland and also declined to produce a policy on how it would be determined that a majority are in favour of a United Ireland.

Would it be based on recent election results, opinion polls or a combination of both?

Under the Good Friday Agreement, the Secretary must call a referendum when they believe the majority of people are in favour of a United Ireland.

If the Secretary of State has not decided who is entitled to vote in a referendum how, logically, can he or she say that the majority are, or are not, in favour of a United Ireland?

All these questions were recently highlighted in a little reported on High Court case in Belfast that I attended and published a research report on working alongside a group of legal experts. Remarkably, the case was taken against the Secretary of State by Raymond McCord, a Unionist and victims’ rights campaigner. His goal in bring the case was to force the Secretary of State to formulate and publish a definitive policy on how it would be determined a majority were in favour of a United Ireland and under what circumstances a referendum would be called.

 

So why did Raymond pursue this case, even though he is not in favour of a United Ireland? Raymond took the case, he said, aiming to “remove the politics of Orange and Green and to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is respected”.

Currently in a UK referendum, only British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens aged 18 or over on polling day are entitled to vote. However, in the previous Scottish independence referendum, those entitled to vote also included EU citizens and those aged 16 and over.

That referendum was lost 45% to 55%. A YouGov survey found that only 51% of Scottish-born respondents voted ‘No’ whereas a striking 74% of those born elsewhere in the UK voted ‘No’ as did 59% of those born outside the UK. The referendum in Scotland clearly shows the key importance of deciding who is allowed to vote in a referendum in determining its ultimate outcome.

For example, if the Secretary of State decided that only UK citizens of 18 and over should be allowed to vote in Northern Ireland’s referendum, then as we have seen in the Scottish referendum, this could potentially have a significant impact on the result. Northern Ireland has a tragic history of denying people the right to vote, the future referendum on a United Ireland cannot be another chapter in that story.

The Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Girvan stated  in his ruling on the case that while having a policy on how and when to call a referendum “would be sensible and desirable”, under current legislation he cannot compel the Secretary of State to draft such a policy. Justice Girvan goes on to confirm that under the Good Friday Agreement a ‘duty’ is imposed upon the Secretary of State to exercise the power ‘If the evidence leads the Secretary of State to believe that the majority would so vote then she has no choice but to call a border poll’.

He goes on to say, ‘Evidence of election results and opinion polls may form part of the evidential context in which to exercise the judgment’. However, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland’s defence team in the McCord case stated, “She does accept that she does not consider that an election result alone can be a determining indication of political opinion in Northern Ireland in relation to a border poll”.

In this line the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland appears to make the point that even in the event that the political parties in Northern Ireland – whose aim and policy is to achieve a United Ireland – were to win the majority of votes and seats in an election, the Secretary of State may still decide not call a referendum.

The major lesson for Ireland from the Brexit crisis is the unforeseen consequences of holding a referendum without proper planning. A United Ireland requires long term planning and preparation with all sides. The Taoiseach has previously warned that now is not the time to be preparing for a referendum on a United Ireland.

The urgent need for more definitive policy, better preparation and greater clarity on this matter is underlined by the findings of the recent LucidTalk’s Northern-wide poll which were published in the Sunday Times this weekend. The poll revealed that over two thirds of voters in Northern Ireland currently believe Brexit will make a United Ireland more likely within the next ten years.

The clear message to our own Government is that policy neglect seldom goes unpunished.

 

 

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Northern Ireland could return to violence, study shows

Romanticising the Troubles contributes to the risk of a return to violence, experts warn

Murals in Republican and loyalist areas can give a one-sided view of the conflict, anti-terrorism experts say. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

Murals in Republican and loyalist areas can give a one-sided view of the conflict, anti-terrorism experts say. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy

 

Romanticising the Troubles in Northern Ireland is contributing to the risk of a return to violence, experts have warned.

Some 40 per cent of people in Northern Ireland are under the age of 25 and have no memories of the Troubles which ended in most cases before they were born.

This is leading to “loss of memory of harm” with young people being prone to a one-sided view and a romanticising of the conflict.

The warning is contained in a paper by Prof Mark Brennan and Prof Pat Dolan who are co-founders of the global network of Unesco chairs on children, youth and community. They specialise in the study of violent extremism worldwide.

The paper, commissioned by Senator Mark Daly of the All Party Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, also features Michael Ortiz who was appointed by the Obama Administration to act as an expert on countering violent extremism (CVE).

Professors Brennan and Dolan observe that after violent conflicts, people find it difficult to talk about the things that happened because of personal trauma.

They warn that this can “unintentionally act in favour of those who would prefer to give youth (and particularly vulnerable and impressionable young people) a false, almost romantic, retrospection of the past up to and including a very sectarian analysis.

“This can take the form of only seeing harm as occurring from one side and caused by enemies. This in itself and alone is a very real legacy risk from the Troubles.”

It also says many of the North’s murals depict a “jaundiced version of history that is not fair or objective and again for vulnerable youth this creates a serious risk in terms of their turning to violence towards those who are of a different religion, or living in a different community”.

The pair observed that young people in Northern Ireland are more ethnically isolated than their parents’ generation and live in more segregated localities with less diversity – an environment they warn is “ripe for fostering extreme beliefs, actions, and violence”.

They also note the continued lack of integration in education in Northern Ireland.

“The reality remains unfortunately that young people are (with noteworthy exceptions) not educated together.”

While the older generation believe they are living in a post-conflict society, young people have no such feelings.

Both sides in the Troubles have been accused of glamorising violence in recent days with the Apprentice Boys having to apologise for a flute band which wore the emblem of the Parachute regiment on their uniforms in Derry last week while Republican youths at a Wolfe Tone concert were heard singing IRA slogans.

The pair believe there will be a return to violence in the event of a hard Border “the only issue is the scale of the violence”, but there is also a real risk of violence in loyalist communities in the event of a unity referendum.

“All indications are that without direct efforts to engage youth and citizens of all backgrounds, there will also be a return to violence in the event of a rushed Border poll on the island of Ireland. The only question in both scenarios will be the scale of the violence”.

Mr Ortiz said there was an urgent need on the part of the British government to set up a national-level task force involving politicians, police and civil society leaders to examine potential threats and to understand the drivers of violent extremism.

This would lead to a national strategy to deal with the potential for violent extremism with a view to establishing a government agency to deal with it.

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Mark Daly: For sake of the ‘Agreement Generation’ we must not repeat the mistakes made in 1969′

50 years ago, this week Northern Ireland erupted into violence we hope that violence and those dark days are in our past.  However, we all suspect and all fear there will be a return to violence in Northern Ireland as a result of a hard border due to a no deal Brexit or a rushed border poll. This is why the Taoiseach, all shades of politics in this state support the backstop. A report which I complied with Michael Ortiz who served as the first US diplomat focused on countering violent extremism (CVE) policy at the US Department of State and research by  2 UNESCO chairs, Professor Pat Dolan and Professor Mark Brennan, concluded that, ‘it is possible that a hard border could materialize due to a no deal Brexit, triggering a return to violence in Northern Ireland. All indications are that without direct efforts to engage youth and citizens of all backgrounds, there will also be a return to violence in the event of rushed border poll on the island of Ireland. The only question in both scenarios will be the scale of the violence.’

The research report highlights the issue of ‘Loss of memory of harm’, among the ‘Agreement Generation’ a term which applies to the generation born just before or since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. This generation has no first-hand knowledge of the horrors of conflict and some will have been given a romanticised account of the ‘troubles’.

The serious problems of poverty and depredation facing the present generation, especially those who live in the most disadvantaged loyalist and republican areas are exacerbated by the toxic influence of paramilitaries intent on using young people to maintain their criminal and drug empires.

The first person in the Republic of Ireland to be awarded the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement Professor Pat Dolan explains in the research “Firstly, at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland most young people were not involved and were peaceful by nature. Secondly the human harm and damage that can be done by a small population of dissident youth from either or both communities can lead massive harm to people up to and including tragic death. So, this is not a simple matter of scale.” Proof of this tragic truth was shown to be a reality with the murder of Lyra McKee and the growing ability of dissidents in both communities to mobilise young people.

The research highlights the fact that a key element in preventing violent extremism is the role of community level leadership. However, all too often in some areas of Northern Ireland some of those vital community leaders are the ones involved in the radicalisation of the youth.

Professor Brennan, who along with Professor Dolan has been at the forefront of UNESCO research, programming, and policy in the area of Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) explains how this activities are a breach of these young people’s human rights “we argue that where children (and youth) are being supported by adults to willingly or unwillingly become involved in acts of violence in the North, that this is a violation of their human rights under the United Nations.”

The Professors do however acknowledge in the research the much positive work done in Northern Ireland by many individuals, groups, schools and civil society organisations but as we are aware it only takes a small number of people to cause a huge amount of harm.

The Professors address those who are calling for an immediate border poll in the event of a no deal Brexit and a return to a hard border “In anticipation of a future referendum on unification and a new Ireland, regardless of when this emerges, program and policy makers need to establish a basis for cross-society interaction, integrated schooling, and integrated existences (housing, work, and other settings). It is only through this sort of interaction, communication, and experience sharing that all sides realize common, general needs as well as the fact that they have nothing to fear from the ‘other’ side.” Those looking for a rushed border poll would simply not be learning the lesson of Brexit, that all the preparation, engagement and planning needs to be done in advance and then and only then would the referendum be held

Michael Ortiz, who also served as a principal policy advisor on counter terrorism to the National Security Advisor in the Obama White House, outlines how a return to violence can be prevented in advance of a referendum on a new agreed Ireland “Ireland and Northern Ireland have long struggled with terrorism, but have made tremendous progress in recent years. As leaders across the island grapple with the concept of a United Ireland, it is important to consider the ways, in which future violence could be prevented, including the strengthening of counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts, supporting civil society organisations, and religious and educational institutions, and providing citizens with the tools they need to intervene during the radicalization process”

Political leaders must not repeat the mistakes that led to August 1969 and the Troubles where disastrous political decision resulted in decades of death, destruction and a lost generation. The ‘Agreement Generation’ who are the inheritors of the peace process deserve a better future.

The research report ‘Northern Ireland Returning to Violence as a result of a Hard Border due to Brexit or a Rushed Border Poll: Risk to Youth’ is based on one of the recommendations in the report adopted unanimously by the All Party Oireachtas Parliamentary Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, “Brexit and the Future of Ireland, Uniting Ireland and Its People in Peace and Prosperity”  compiled in 2017 by Senator Mark Daly.

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