Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy, and MLAs and Councillors from both sides of the border were in Dundalk on Friday for the local launch of Sinn Féin’s campaign for a border poll.
Sinn Féin Louth TD and Party President Gerry Adams said that the “disastrous impact of partition is nowhere more evident than along the border corridor”.
The Sinn Féin leader specifically addressed those ‘who are usually described as dissident’.
He said:‘I would urge all republicans and nationalists, whatever their opinion of the peace process, and irrespective of which political party or tendency they support, to seize this opportunity to advance republican and nationalist objectives.
I would especially ask those who are usually described as ‘dissident’ to recognize the potential that this initiative holds.
There is now a democratic and peaceful way to bring about Irish unity. There is no reason whatever for any group to engage in or promote or support violent actions.
The challenge for thinking republicans is to find ways to engage with and to listen to the concerns and ambitions of our unionist neighbors.
As the anniversary of the Easter Rising approaches I want to appeal directly to groups which claim to follow in that tradition to reflect on their position.
Now is the time for them to show courage and in the spirit of the 1916 Proclamation to embrace a peaceful way forward.
This is a phase of political activity that is about persuasion; it’s about democratic conversations and winning support for Irish unity.
Violent actions will not assist this process. Violent actions will make the task of achieving a YES vote more difficult. So, consider the options. Examine the possibilities. And don’t miss this opportunity.
I believe Irish unity makes sense. I believe it makes political and economic sense and that it is in the best interests of the people of these islands.
The Good Friday Agreement provides a legislative, peaceful and democratic route to Irish unity. A Border Poll is the means.
So, let the people decide!’
The full text of Mr. Adams remarks:
“The Memorandum of Understanding between Newry and Mourne Council and Louth County Council, and the cross border support for the construction of a bridge at Narrow Water are just two examples of local communities grasping the challenging of breaking down the barriers created by partition.
Ending partition would be good for communities and business along the border.
Partition inhibits trade, investment, co-operation and creates a cycle of boom and bust for towns straddling the border.
There will be times when economic and political circumstances and differences between the euro and sterling will favour one side of the border over the other.
This is bad for business, bad for the communities that depend upon those small towns and bad for the economy of the island.
It also encourages criminality, particularly in respect of fuel smuggling which costs each state money in revenue as well as leaving behind a toxic sludge that is an environmental danger and threat to citizens and which costs huge amounts of money to clean up.
It’s time for partition to go.”
The Sinn Féin leader also urged those republicans who do not support Sinn Féin to “consider carefully the implications and possibilities presented by a border poll.
The Good Friday Agreement allows for the people of the island of Ireland to determine the future shape of this island, including the right to opt for a united Ireland.
It provides for a peaceful and democratic means by which the Irish republican and nationalist objective of Irish independence and freedom can be achieved.
This has been the core political objective since Wolfe Tone and the Society of United Irishmen.
It has been the goal of Irish people since England first involved itself in Irish affairs.
The Good Friday Agreement has created the means by which this can be achieved.
Sinn Féin has called for the British and Irish governments to set a date for a border poll and for that referendum to be held in the next term of the Assembly and Oireachtas.
Already this initiative has seen a significant increase in debate around the issue of possibility of Irish unity and the ending of the union.
Dialogue and conversation and persuasion is an important part of this process.
Sinn Féin wants to encourage the widest possible debate of all of the issues involved whether it’s the economy, political allegiance, the protection of traditions, the shape of the new Ireland and reconciliation.
These are just some of the matters which will need to be discussed in the time ahead.
I would urge all republicans and nationalists, whatever their opinion of the peace process, and irrespective of which political party or tendency they support, to seize this opportunity to advance republican and nationalist objectives.