Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice and Equality Martin Kenny TD, responding to comments by the Taoiseach that a referendum on Irish unity may be divisive, has said that the Taoiseach’s remarks are “shortsighted” and “out of step with the electorate, north and south”.
Teachta Kenny said:
“In a series of recent polls, a majority in the north have indicated that there is now a real demand for a United Ireland and polls indicate a similar sentiment in the south.
“At a time when the demand for Irish unity is growing, logic dictates that we must prepare for the prospect of a United Ireland in the coming years and to do that, we need institutional and legislative arrangements in place now to ease the transition to unity, because we are behind the curve in preparing to facilitate constitutional and political change on the island.
“That preparation should involve the immediate establishment of an All-Ireland Forum on Irish Unity, as well as a dedicated Oireachtas Committee to plan for legislative changes needed.
“In addition, the government needs to bring forward a Green Paper on the issues that need to be addressed to tackle the hangovers of partition.
“It is high time that the Taoiseach and his government began meaningful engagement with the British government to arrange a date for a referendum on Irish unity in the north within five years – as well as putting in place plans for a referendum in this State; in line with the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The issue of Irish unity is not going away, no matter how much the Taoiseach may want it to.
“His comments today are utterly shortsighted, are out of step with the electorate – north and south – and do not reflect the reality of where people are at.”