A key Bill which would allow MPs elected in the North of Ireland speaking rights in the Dáil passed 1st stage in the Dáil today. Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD tabled the Bill. He stated;
“The discussion on Irish Unity has gathered significant pace in recent years. Brexit has convinced many in the north that London is not interested in their future. Many in the south now see that its illogical that a hundred years after the War of Independence Tories still have a say on what happens in Ireland. Demographics are changing apace, political unionism is now a minority and Scotland is edging towards the British Departure lounge”.
“FF and FG are talking positively about Irish Unity, but like St Augstine they say ‘Lord make us united but not just yet’. Some within the establishment parties in the south have tried to hide behind economics. However at partition, over 80% of Ireland’s industrial output came from three counties around Belfast. Belfast was the largest city in Ireland and the north was by far the richest part of Ireland. London treats the north as an economic backwater. The north of Ireland has been impoverished by London’s lack of interest in the 20th Century in the same manner the south of Ireland was impoverished in the 19th Century.The key economic difference between the two jurisdictions is the south can self-determine economically but London’s focus is on the English home counties”.
“Unity is the key to unlocking Ireland’s potential. Economies of scale, efficiencies of public service delivery, increased market size, larger EU representation are all obvious advantages. There is also the question of justice. The founders of this state recognised that there was an inherent justice in all Ireland independence and self-determination. That justice is as real today as it was then. Many supporters of FF are heartbroken that their current leadership wear the cloths of FF’s founding fathers but has detached himself from their objectives”.
“The political establishment continually say that there is nothing that we can do. That the DUP and London hold a veto. There is plenty that we can do. We can start the process of north south service and infrastructure convergence now. This will save money and ensure that we have more efficient and effective public services. We can create a New Ireland forum inviting civic and political society to start discussion in how to ameliorate Brexit and build a more unified Ireland. We could allow MPs in the north attend Oireachtas Committees right now. There is no law stopping it, just the necessary will”.
“It is also in our gift to allow Irish citizens in the north of Ireland who are MPs attend the Dáil. Think about it there is no impediment for this Dáil, to in large part realise the objectives if the 1st Dáil, peacefully and without any cost. This Aontú Bill simply enables MPs elected in constituencies in the north of Ireland to sit, pose questions and speak in the Dáil on the same terms, and subject to the same conditions, as a member of the Dáil. It does not seek to provide voting rights for these MPs as unfortunately that may be a step too far for this government”.
“Two and half years ago I had a conversation with Francie Brolley about the building of a New All Ireland Movement. We decided that we wanted to build a common sense movement that would help Unite Ireland north and south but also unite the people of Ireland north and south. We discussed the need not just to call for referendums or to hold white line pickets along the road but to take practical steps towards service convergence north and south and incrementally erase the border in people’s lives”.
“Francie Brolly was an Irish Republican, a musician, a teacher and a Gael. He was an MLA in Stormont for his beloved County Derry and Dungiven. He was a founding member of Aontú and a proud father. He sadly passed away just over a year ago. I proudly dedicate this Bill, the All Ireland Representation Bill to Francie’s memory today”.