Delivered at Carrickcarnon on 31st January 2020 – Brexit Night on behalf of Ireland’s Future
Ireland’s Future is a collective of voices which is highlighting the harms of Brexit and advocating for the only way back to Europe available to us.
The Irish people did not ask to be forcibly occupied by England.
The Irish people did not ask for the artificial partition of our country by England.
The Good Friday Agreement was a peace settlement that attempted to address the injustices of occupation and partition. It attempts to recognise all of our identities, our cultures and our national aspirations. In the heaviest of compromises, it insists on the artificial majority vote of the northern six counties having a veto on where our future arrangements lie.
We voted overwhelmingly on this island for a principle of consent for the constitutional future of the Six Counties annexed from the rest of Ireland. But when it came to membership of Europe our consent was not asked for. Our clear and unequivocal position that we wished to stay in Europe was dismissed. Consent was undermined. Our confidence in Britain’s commitment to the principle of consent was undermined and our confidence in its commitment to the Good Friday Agreement was undermined.
The Good Friday Agreement enshrined the rights of citizens from British and Irish backgrounds, it turns out those rights rely on membership of the European Union. The Irish government has promised to protect our rights as Irish citizens on this island. We know this has not happened yet. Emma De Souza is still deemed to be British. Our children’s access to education across the island has not been secured. We are second class Irish citizens.
The majority of the people in those Six Counties voted to remain in Europe. For all kinds of economic, social and cultural reasons the population of this statelet did not give their consent to leave the EU. And yet we are leaving the EU. We remain European but we are out of the EU. While there is a commitment to protect trade on the island there is no such protection of the rights of people. The European Convention on Human Rights is under attack. The Bereaved and injured of our conflict are treated disgustingly, the British state killed their loved ones, and deny them justice, sometimes as in today even denying they are victims at all. On an island where the two main parties are embarrassed by partition only Europe formally sees Irish citizens living in the North as equal.
We did not ask for partition
We did not ask to be taken forcibly out of Europe by a majority vote in England.
If England can vote or pass an act in their English Parliament to take us out of Europe against our will despite the Good Friday Agreement, they can do anything they like in the future.
Our economic stability meant nothing to them
Our peace agreement meant nothing to them.
There is only one way that Irish citizens rights can be secured. There is only one path back to Europe.
If there is Irish unity. Unified politically, ciulturally, economically. Peacefully and with consent and legally – under the terms of our precious peace agreement.
Ireland’s Future has written to all parliamentary candidtates in the Leinster House election asking them to pledge support for formation of an all island Citizens Assembly, to discuss future constitutional arrangements if they are elected. The least – the very least we can ask for given the seismic change on this island
The current position re confirmed responses is
13 positive responses:
2 Soc Dem
Nothing from FG or Labour whatsoever.
Only party leader to reply is Mary Lou McDonald.
We are asking for a positive. Constructive conversation – let us at least talk about the only secure and positive option available to us. Why are parties afraid of a conversation?
Some are afraid because partition works in their selfish political interest. That will not last. There is a growing legitimate and legal demand for this conversation and for strategic planning. Tonight brings the potential for Irish unity closer. But not the way we want it. It must be positive. It must not be negative.
The Irish people did not vote for partition. The people of the Six Counties did not vote for Brexit. The remedy to both will be done by democratic votes on this island. We must plan now