Reuniting Ireland: report calls for groundwork to start on Referendum

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A new official report has called for preparations to begin for a “pathway to achieve the peaceful reunification of Ireland.”

The report on ‘Brexit and the Future of Ireland, Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace and Prosperity’ has called for unionist fears to be addressed in preparation for a future Referendum on Irish reunification.

The Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement published the report, which was compiled by Senator Mark Daly on Wednesday.

Its findings, based on detailed research and examinations of key reports, included input from former Taioseach Bertie Ahern, senior international politicians, a range of expert European Professors and Counter Terrorism experts from the US and the Pat Finucane Centre

Various reports on the economic impact of Brexit were examined, including a UN study measuring health, education and income. This report ranked the Republic of Ireland eighth in the world, while Northern Ireland was ranked 44th at present, with predictions it will slip further in the rankings post-Brexit, ranking alongside Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Key recommendations in the new committee report, meanwhile, include the establishment of a second New Ireland Forum “to set a pathway to achieve the peaceful reunification of Ireland.” The establishment of a new international task force with experts in security has also been advocated.

In light if its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish Government has now been tasked to look at the legal and constitutional changes necessary before and after unification, and also to negotiate for the North to be designated special status EU and to have continued access to EU funds post Brexit.

The report states: “Brexit means that the best future for the citizens of Northern Ireland could well be remaining in the European Union in a reunified Ireland. This option must be explored.”

Sinn Féin MP, Elisha McCallion, said the report launch “makes the case for the need for a Joint-Oireachtas Committee on Irish Unity much more compelling,” adding: “The establishment of such a committee would further research, develop and utilise the detail collated in this report and also help action and scrutinise government obligations on planning for unity within the context of both the Good Friday Agreement and the negative ramifications of Brexit.”

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA also welcomed the report and repeated his call for nationalism across the island to advance the process of mapping Irish unity in a way that includes and respects all traditions. He said: “The SDLP continues to believe that Irish unification is the biggest and the best idea around.

“This report should now prompt a national discussion on unity, our constitutional and economic future that includes and respects all traditions on the island.”

“Irish nationalism needs to get down to the kind of work undertaken by Scottish nationalists in advance of their independence referendum.”