Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking in Dublin this afternoon, has called on the Irish government to consider establishing a National Forum to discuss how the vote of the clear majority of citizens in the North who want to remain in the EU can be respected and defended.
The purpose of this Forum would be to bring together all of the different strands of opinion on the island of Ireland to discuss our future in the EU following the Brexit vote.
Gerry Adams said: “I have written to the Taoiseach to ask him to consider establishing a Forum to discuss the future for the people of this island – North and South – and the European Union following the Brexit vote. I have asked him to meet with me and other political leaders to discuss this proposal.
“This Forum should aim to have island wide participation and involve the Assembly parties, the Oireachtas, European Parliament and civic society.
“The vote of the clear majority of citizens in the north who want to remain in the EU must be respected and defended.
“The Remain vote brought together unionists, nationalists, republicans and others in common cause on the same platform. Those who campaigned for a Leave vote should also be invited. There is an imperative on all of those who are concerned about the consequences of the Brexit vote to work together in the time ahead.
“There is a particular onus on the Irish government to defend the Good Friday Agreement and its institutions, and to work closely with the Executive to achieve maximum co-operation.
“A Forum, similar to the New Ireland Forum and the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation, should be open to all political parties on the island. It would have the clear objective of discussing the implications of Brexit and producing papers on strategies and policies that might assist in coordinating efforts in the time ahead.
“Such a Forum could be invaluable in providing information both to the public and to all of those sectors of our society likely to be affected by Brexit.
“The Forum could reach out to those in Scotland who voted to remain in the EU.
“It could also hold plenary sessions to which experts on aspects of EU policy could give evidence.
“Critically, the agenda for such a Forum would need to be agreed with the participants to ensure maximum buy-in.”