Easter a time to reflect on vision for new Ireland, McNulty

April 18, 2017

SDLP MLA Justin McNulty MLA says real and meaningful dialogue must start now if “a new Ireland” where people can live in harmony, peace and respect, is to emerge in the coming years.

Endorsing the prospect of a united Ireland, Mr McNulty said “I firmly believe we will see a united Ireland in my lifetime.  I will work every day I have the honour of holding elected office to make it a reality, but in a way which promotes the endless possibilities a united Ireland will bring to every citizen on this island.  In preparation for that New Ireland, then we must make the Ireland of today work, both independently and together.”

“The future implications of the UK leaving the European Union are yet to unfold, but everything we have seen and heard thus far gives me great concern for this island, both north and south,” he continued.  “In recent years, especially since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement we have seen our people and our economies grow together. This is all positive, but is being put at huge risk with any exit from the EU never mind a hard, Tory-led Brexit.”

Mr McNulty says nationalists must become “persuaders for unity” for a united Ireland to be achieved.

“In 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement everyone accepted the principle of consent.  Let’s be bluntly honest, a united Ireland will not be achieved by a mere nationalist majority at Stormont and it’s wrong to make out that it will.  Ireland can only be united when we the nationalist people become persuaders for unity, when we encourage those who currently believe this place is better as part of the UK, to open their minds to a different constitutional arrangement.

“We need to set out what a New United Ireland will look like.  How it would respect and protect the traditions of the Unionist community in Northern Ireland.  The SDLP have published its Unity and the Agreement Policy which sets out this stance, but we now need to take that to the next phase,” he pointed out.

The SDLP will shortly begin engaging with civic society and political parties across Ireland as it seeks to build its case for unity, McNulty said.

“Unity by agreement, with respect and through dialogue threatens no-one.  Unity in the face of Brexit is now building apace, but let’s not fool ourselves to suggest that a Nationalist majority at Stormont will deliver Irish unity on its own,” he warned.