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Sinn Féin accuses Fianna Fáil of trying to 'shut down legitimate conversation' on a United Ireland

MEP Matt Carthy responded today to comments made by Micheál Martin about a United Ireland border poll.

FF's Micheál Martin (left) was criticised today by Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy
FF's Micheál Martin (left) was criticised today by Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy
Image: Rollingnews.ie

A SINN FÉIN MEP has accused Micheál Martin and Fianna Fáil of “deeply concerning” rhetoric in “dismissing” calls for a United Ireland.

Speaking today to RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy said: “It’s deeply disappointing the leader of a so-called Republican party would categorically rule out – as Micheál Martin has done – allowing the people of Ireland to choose their own future.”

Carthy was speaking after comments made by the Fianna Fáil leader who said that his party wasn’t planning for a border poll if they’re in government after the next election. 

“My position is very clear, and one of the objectives of the party since its foundation is for a united Ireland, but this is about the Irish people,” Martin said.

One of our biggest achievements is the Good Friday Agreement, and now parties are trying to push the Good Friday Agreement aside. I was very clear at the outset of Brexit, I wasn’t going to conflate Brexit with unity, and was very against the border poll which Sinn Fein put forward.

“I’ve been very clear not to mix up a border poll with Brexit,” Martin added.

Supporting this position not to have a unity vote in the next five years, Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary told Morning Ireland today that it was more important to get the Stormont Assembly back up and running and have a stable political situation in the North at present. 

“It’s far too premature [to discuss what would happen if there was a United Ireland poll in the next five years],” Calleary said.

Carthy, however, said that it’s “an absolutely legitimate and progressive aspiration” to be discussing a United Ireland in the near future.

“It’s an aspiration that drives many people north and south,” he said.

You’ve a responsibility to work for it. Rhetoric of Fianna FÁIL to dismiss those of us striving to achieve a United Ireland on the principles of the Good Friday Agreement is deeply concerning.

He said Sinn Féin had been working in a variety of areas on how institutions could work in a post-border poll Ireland, but that the party needed the support of the other main parties.

“It won’t happen if we’re the only ones, and we want others to get involved,” Carthy said.

Fianna Fáil is trying to shut down a legitimate and progressive conversation on the future of our country and they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

If a border poll was to take place, the people of Northern Ireland would be asked whether they want to remain part of the United Kingdom or create a united Ireland.

Depending on the result, the Republic would then vote on the matter.

Under the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State can initiate a border poll in circumstances where it is clear public opinion had swung towards Irish unity.

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Sean Murray

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