Mary Lou McDonald in Irish unity citizens' assembly call as Partition 'has failed generations'
Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald TD has said the evolution of a new united Ireland will offer a new dawn for all, while warning that Partition has failed generations of people of here.
The party leader also called on the government to establish a Citizen’s Assembly on Irish Unity ‘to urgently plan for constitutional change and unity referendums’.
Mary Lou McDonald's was speaking at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis 2022 in Dublin.
Recent elections have seen Sinn Féin make history, becoming the most popular party in the north and south of the island.
Mary Lou McDonald told the large attendance gathered at the RDS that they had entered an “exciting stage of what is the most important conversation of our generation”.
“Together, we look to an Ireland beyond partition. We reimagine the future of our country, discuss our ideas for a United Ireland and a tomorrow that captures all the potential and immense opportunities for this island.
“We are here in the spirit of ambition. To seize the day. To exceed even our own expectations for Ireland’s future, to reach beyond the trenches of the past, and see the light of a new dawn. Friends, we have come together to build our nation anew.”
Ms McDonald said that discussion around nation building often gets lost in complexity. “To me,” she added, “it’s very simple. Building a nation means building a home.
“The two conversative, reactionary states established on this island following partition failed generations. Born out of colonisation and division, and broken further by economic collapse, by inequality and greed, by strict social rules and by religious dogma. The dream of and right to a good life was lost to so many. It is our duty as a generation to fix what was broken. To make Ireland the home we know it can be, for everybody.”
This new home was for every person ‘regardless of community, colour, creed, sexual orientation, identity, or background’, those gathered were told.
“North, South, East, West, Urban and Rural joining together in common purpose and under the banner of ‘no one left behind.’
“A unified nation fuelled by confidence and compassion, driven by talent and ingenuity, rising together, claiming our future and our rightful place amongst the nations of the world. A home is where you are loved, respected, nurtured, encouraged to succeed. It’s where you are protected. Home is where family comes together, despite all differences, under one roof. Where everything is organised in a way that reinforces that unifying message - this is where you belong. That’s the foundation for building a nation and for governing a nation too.”
She said this involved proactively shaping how healthcare, housing, and public services are delivered in the future, as well as good jobs, decent wages, dynamic businesses and ensuring that ‘workers and families can live good, secure, prosperous lives’.
“Together we can build prosperity and end poverty in Ireland. Together we can make equality real for every person. Together we can achieve energy independence... We can do all these things and more and we must do them as a nation united, not divided.”
Those who seek to guard the status quo have had their day, she contended. “Make no mistake, history is happening now. The challenge is now. The moment is now.”