Countdown to unity conference

Donegal Sinn F�in Councillor Jack Murray (Buncrana) Councillor Gerry McMonagle (Letterkenny) Derry Councillor Colly Kelly, Sinn F�in activists Michael Kinsella and Paddy Canning distributing billboard's at Bridgend for the Uniting Ireland conference to Counties Derry, Donegal and Tyrone. (1701MM06)
Donegal Sinn F�in Councillor Jack Murray (Buncrana) Councillor Gerry McMonagle (Letterkenny) Derry Councillor Colly Kelly, Sinn F�in activists Michael Kinsella and Paddy Canning distributing billboard's at Bridgend for the Uniting Ireland conference to Counties Derry, Donegal and Tyrone. (1701MM06)

Billboards advertising the ‘Uniting Ireland’ conference which will be held in the Millennium Forum later this month have been erected on all major approach roads to Derry.

The conference, which is being organised by Sinn Féin, will feature contributions from leading Ulster Unionist, Basil McCrea, and former senior civil servant, George Quigley.

Mr Quigley was a central figure in the civil service in the north for several decades and is also a former chairman of the Ulster Bank.

It will also be addressed by Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, and Donegal TD Pearse Doherty, and chaired by prominent trade unionist, Inez McCormick.

Derry Sinn Féin councillor, Colly Kelly, encouraged as many people as possible to attend the event on January 28.

“As Irish republicans we obviously do not need to be convinced of the merits of Irish unity. However, many people are not Irish republicans. Their willingness to support the political project of Irish unity will be dependent on whether that project improves the social, economic and cultural reality of their day to day lives.

“That’s why this conference in Derry is very important in ensuring that the big conversations on how we bring that about takes place,” he said.

“At a time when the economic crisis continues to be at the forefront of the minds of both politicians and the electorate there is a real need for republicans to present the case for economic unity in clear, accessible and practical terms.

“If we do this, the support for our project will grow and Irish unity will come increasingly within our reach,” he added.

Inishowen Sinn Féin councillor, Jack Murray, also encouraged people from Donegal to attend.

“As elected for representatives for Donegal and Derry we see at first hand every day the negative impact of partition on the social and economic life of the communities we represent.

We have two different currencies, two different tax regimes, and two different systems for accessing public services, two different systems of support for small and medium sized businesses.

“On an island as small as ours, such duplication makes neither political nor economic sense. Moreover, such duplication is highly inefficient; particularly at a time when public spending is under increasing pressure.”