Sinn Féin councillor Aoife Finnegan has said that it is incumbent on the Irish Government to set up a nationally representative Citizens’ Assembly to plan and prepare for Irish unity.
Councillor Finnegan said;
“Tonight the Sinn Féin group on Newry Mourne and Down Council brought a motion forward calling on the Dublin Government to establish a Citizens’ Assembly to begin the structured planning and preparation required ahead of the referendum on Irish reunification.”
“It is our firm belief that all who call this place home should be invited to participate in the discussions around what the new Ireland could look like. The Citizens’ Assembly must be an inclusive forum welcoming those with apprehensions to participate fully in the discussion.
“The time is now for the Dublin government to step up to the plate, this is a conversation which is taking place nationally and internationally as demonstrated by the huge attendance at the recent Ireland’s Future showcase in the 3 Arena.
It is a discussion which is being had by people of all backgrounds. Those from a traditionally unionist background are questioning in ever greater numbers, ‘What future constitutional arrangement will serve me and my family best?’
“What is certain is that there can be no repeat of the disastrous Brexit referendum, that is why the planning must begin now.
“The opportunities presented by a new Ireland are too numerous to ignore. It is clear from recent research undertaken by Queen’s University Belfast and the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin, that partition has stifled the northern economy. This cannot continue.
“The Irish government is constitutionally bound to pursue Irish unity and the establishment of the Citizens’ Assembly is the first step in the necessary planning and preparation to achieve this.”
Councillor Finnegan’s motion has been deferred to the Council’s Good Relations Committee which will consider it in the New Year.