British Govt Must Accept Right To Self-Determination - SF

The British government must accept the right to Irish self-determination and begin work to manage the transition to a United Ireland.

This was the message delivered by Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney speaking at the Cambridge Union during a debate on the motion - 'This House believes NI Ought to Remain Part of the UK'.

Minister Kearney said: "I oppose this motion because the continued jurisdiction of the British state in the north of Ireland represents a denial of the universally recognised right to self-determination.

"But your debate itself is very timely.

"Brexit has been a catastrophe not only for the north of Ireland where the majority of citizens voted to remain, but for businesses and workers in England, Scotland and Wales.

"It has created an earthquake at the heart of the British state and in Ireland the momentum for a united Ireland has never been greater."

And the South Antrim MLA said that as attitudes change in the north the Irish government needs to convene a national Citizens' Assembly on constitutional change.

He said: "Attitudes are changing in the north. Fundamental demographic change is happening.

"In April 2017, the EU announced that in the event of Irish unity the island of Ireland will have an automatic route back to full EU membership.

"A united Ireland would allow for the economy and society on the island to be organised and managed in the interests of Irish citizens.

"But we also need to plan the milestones of an orderly transition to Irish unity. 

"That is why the Irish government should immediately convene a national Citizens' Assembly on constitutional change to positively address the key policy areas and mechanisms for change. 

"It should begin to plan for Irish unity."

Declan Kearney said that British government policy towards Ireland has run out of road and that the two governments need to work in genuine collaboration.

He said: "These are unprecedented times. British government policy towards Ireland has run out of road. It needs to change.

"The British government should begin to work in genuine collaboration to manage the transition.

"Acceptance of the right to Irish self-determination and full implementation of the GFA should be adopted within British government policy.

"Both governments should set out a timetable of transition which facilitates reasoned, inclusive and respectful discussion.

"They should agree a date for concurrent Irish unity referenda north and south in accordance with the GFA."

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

18 November 2010
Guardsman Killed In Afghanistan Named
The Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson has expressed his sympathy to the family of a soldier from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards who has been killed in Afghanistan.
08 March 2023
NI Industries 'Left Out' of Supercharger Scheme
The British Government has been urged to address the "unfairness" of industries in Northern Ireland being left out of their British Industry Supercharger scheme. The scheme is designed to ensure the energy costs for industries are in line with other major economies and puts measures in place to help provide jobs and investment.
02 May 2003
Adams attacks Irish justice minister
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has launched a scathing attack on Irish justice minister Michael McDowell claiming he wouldn't trust him "to go to the shop for a bottle of milk". Mr Adams made his remark after the Dail TD claimed the Irish Government's role within the current peace process was that of an honest broker.
02 June 2010
Irish Activists To Be Released By Israelis
Six Irish activists currently being held by Israel are to be released as international pressure and public outrage mounts over the attack on the flotilla taking aid to Gaza. The Irish activists have been detained in an Israeli camp for the past two days are to be released and flown home either today or tomorrow.
25 February 2002
Nesbitt addresses Sellafield issue at British Irish Council meeting
The newly installed Minister of Environment Dermot Nesbitt has attended his first meeting of the British Irish council in Edinburgh.