Crossmaglen & Creggan Upper to hold mock Referendum on Irish Unity

May 7, 2013

The United Ireland – You Decide campaign which was officially launched on Friday morning in Crossmaglen will see people from Crossmaglen County Armagh and neighbouring Creggan Upper in County Louth going to the polls on 25th May on the question of Irish Unity.

The campaign group have taken on the ambitious plan to host a mock ‘Border Poll’ asking almost 3,000 people ‘Do you think Ireland should be reunited?’

Chairperson of the group Emma McArdle outlined the vision of the campaign saying,

‘Our group has come together to tell the story of the people on the ground who actually live day and daily with the effects of the border. Our voice has been lost in this debate so far and so we want to articulate how the border impacts on us.

‘We want to start a conversation at community level on the future of Ireland and we call for the people to have their say.  The Good Friday Agreement, which is now 15 years old, states that there will be a Border Poll when it appears likely that a majority of those living in the north want Ireland to be reunited.  We think that the time has come to begin a debate on the issues associated with a United Ireland.’

The group will manage a campaign over the next three weeks until polling day incorporating a number of events including a 10k run and a family walk on 12th May, a live debate on 14th May and a car cavalcade and balloon launch on the 18th May.

Members of the group will be calling at homes in the area over the coming weeks to talk about the campaign and on the day of the vote polling stations will be located at Crossmaglen Community Centre and Naomh Malachi GFC Shelagh and will be open from 7am – 8pm.

Ms McArdle concluded,

“We want to make our poll as inclusive as possible and reach as wide an audience as possible and for this reason we have decided to encourage voting by those aged 16 years old and over.  We have  also opened our campaign office on Friday which is located at 5 North Street and can be contacted on 30 860 163.

“We are hopeful that our campaign will garner widespread political engagement and for this reason we invited all local councillors from Newry & Mourne, Dundalk and Louth Councils as well as MLAs from the Newry Armagh Constituency and TDs from Louth to Friday’s launch.

“We hope that by holding this poll Crossmaglen and Creggan Upper will make a positive contribution to the debate for Irish Unity.”

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh, Conor Murphy, welcomed the launch of a grass roots led Border Poll in Crossmaglen in Co. Armagh and Creggan Upper area in Co. Louth.

Speaking after attending Friday’s launch Mr Murphy said:

“The launch of the People’s Referendum on Friday is about local people living in Co. Armagh and in Co. Louth demonstrating their will to engage with the debate on the border poll and the future of a United Ireland.

“This is essentially about local people who face a myriad of difficulties in every day life due to the continuation of partition on this island.

“Things that many people take for granted are compounded along the border corridor such as access to health and education services, rural development or having to endure two seperate tax, benefit and currency mechanisms.

“As such communities in both the Crossmaglen area in Co. Armagh and the Creggan Upper area in Co. Louth are being asked to take part in a People’s Referendum to further the debate and highlight the need for a Border Poll to be called.

“These communities cannot wait for a British Secretary of State, who may fly in and out at irregular periods, to say when Ireland can vote on its future.

“This is about ordinary people demonstrating positively the need to have such a poll and actively change the social, economic and cultural dynamics on this island.

“As a locally elected representative I look forward to polling day which will be on the 25th of May. This is an important initiative and those who have organised it are to be congratulated for giving local people the opportunity to have their say.”