Saturday, 14 May 2011

Paving the Way to a United Ireland

From Gerry Adams TD

The full normalisation of relationships between Ireland and Britain is important. This will require the ending of partition and the emergence of a New Ireland.

The Peace Process, to which Sinn Féin has contributed significantly, has transformed the political landscape in Ireland and resulted in a peaceful political dispensation based on an historic accord between Irish nationalism and unionism.

The Good Friday Agreement is the foundation upon which new relationships between unionists and nationalists and between Ireland and Britain can be forged. It has fundamentally altered the political landscape, levelled the political playing field, removing the despicable Government of Ireland Act and opening up a peaceful, democratic route to a united Ireland.

And because nationalists and unionists are governing the North, decisions affecting the lives of people there are increasingly being made in Ireland and not in Britain.

Republicans want to continue and to accelerate this process.

The united Ireland that republicans seek to build encompasses all the people of this island, including unionists.

It will be a pluralist, egalitarian society in which citizens’ rights are protected and in which everyone will be treated equally.

Sinn Féin wants a new republic. That of course, is a matter for the people of this island to decide.

But no matter how we shape our society, the new Ireland must embrace our island’s diversity in its fullest sense.

This includes English and Scottish influences, the sense of Britishness felt by many unionists, as well as indigenous and traditional Irish culture and the cultures of people who have come to Ireland in recent times.

Ireland and England are not strangers to each other. We should build on what we have in common while at the same time respecting each other’s sovereignty and independence.

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