Derry Council to set up web page for Irish Unity research

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Derry Councillors have voted in favour of setting up of a web page linked to research materials on Irish Unity to enable the public and stakeholders to respond to an engagement process.

The vote came after members of Derry City and Strabane Governance and Strategic Planning Committee received an update from the Working Group on the Unity of Ireland.

There will also be a public call for views which will be open from the start of January 2023 until March 2023.

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To date, five meetings of the Working Group have taken place with core elements discussed including research on economic, social and environmental well-being issues related to Irish Unity, and learning from Shared Island Dialogue.

Flags of Ireland and the UK.Flags of Ireland and the UK.
Flags of Ireland and the UK.

More than 20 documents and other research materials have also been uploaded to the Member Library to provide easy access and facilitate capacity building. However, the Working Group has requested that these materials are all also shared with the public in order to help inform dialogue/ engagement on the topic of Irish Unity.

Citizens and other stakeholders will be encouraged via a council social media campaign which will include weekly posts, to access the research materials on the council website from December and to give their views, evidence and or experience details via the council’s digital engagement platform from January 2023.

Proposing the recommendations were accepted, Sinn Féin councillor Conor Heaney said: “I’ve attended all five of the working group meetings and all discussions have been extremely constructive and fruitful.

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“This paper will begin a consultation process with rate payers and stakeholders across this city to bring forward views. That may also include people who have a different view and who may want to argue for the status quo and are not against constitutional change.”

Councillor Conor Heaney.Councillor Conor Heaney.
Councillor Conor Heaney.

Seconding the proposal, SDLP councillor Brian Tierney added: “There have been a number of very interesting conversations which will only grow. In my opinion they will become more interesting as we as a society plot out the path to unity.”

“It’s important we haven’t heard particular voices within the working group so that gives us the opportunity to hear from people right across this city and district to see what their opinion is.”

Members of the DUP and UUP voted against the recommendations, which passed with eight votes for and four against.

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter