Gerry Adams, President of the political party Sinn Fein, has announced the launch of a campaign for a Border poll. This poll will allow voters in the North to determine the “status” of the area and “provide opportunity for a historic debate on the future of this island”.
In November last year Adams called on the Irish American community to help gain support for the border poll.
Writing in the Irish Times Adams explained that it is the Belfast Agreement which allows this poll to go ahead. The campaign Sinn Fein plans to launch will be to persuade the Irish and British governments to hold the poll.
Adams continues stating that the partition of the country, into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, has had an adverse impact on the economic potential of Ireland.
He added, “The additional and unnecessary costs of running two competing economies and states on an island this size; the inefficiencies in the duplication of essential public services; and a relatively small population have added significantly to the financial, political and social consequences faced by citizens.”
“Partition created two conservative states on the island. In the North, this led to institutionalised and structured discrimination and sectarianism, and to nine decades of division and conflict. However, despite the efforts of tiny minorities to cling to the past, the peace process has dramatically changed the situation.”
Adams commented on the recent census in Britain which shows more hope for deep rooted change. He said the results show the presumption that Protestants are unionists and Catholics are nationalists or republicans isn’t necessarily correct.
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The census, which looked at identity for the first time, showed that 48 percent of people in the North consider themselves British and Northern Irish or Irish. Just 40 per cent said they considered themselves British only.
Adams said these figures show, “The North is in transition. It is no longer an orange state.”
The Sinn Fein leader also suggested that the major changes in the last 15 years in Ireland will give way to this Border poll being possible. He commented on “the enormous economic changes of recent decades, the diminished influence of the Catholic hierarchy, and the disclosure of corruption in the golden circles and in politics, have dramatically and fundamentally changed societal attitudes.”
He ends by saying, “Politics across this island is in flux. A new Ireland can be what we make it. The Border poll is a key element of this. It provides an opportunity to focus on the future: to build a modern, dynamic, new Ireland – in which there is genuine reconciliation, and out of which a more equitable society can emerge.”
Read more: Gerry Adams calls on Irish Americans to support referendum on a United Ireland