Opinion: A New Ireland in a New Europe - Martina Anderson Sinn Féin MEP
In light of the ongoing chaos around Brexit and the threat to our economy, jobs and citizenship rights, I believe it is time for political leaders throughout Ireland to calmly reflect on the course of action that is in the best interests of all the people of this island – Nationalist, Unionist and others.
To ask why, against the democratic wishes of a majority of the North’s population, we should be dragged into a Brexit situation where government policies and economic decisions will increasingly be made in the interests of Britain and primarily the south-east of England?
In that scenario, the economy of the North of Ireland will only ever be peripheral to the decision making processes of the British political establishment.
Unionists, nationalists and others in the north voted to remain part of the EU.
It is democratically unacceptable that we should be forced out of the EU at the behest of English votes supported by a minority DUP political ideology which ignores the wishes of the majority in the North to remain in the EU.
We are now in an unprecedented situation where – through an inclusive debate - the benefits and logic of Irish unity within a reformed EU could receive a positive response from a majority of people in both jurisdictions on this island.
This is particularly true given the multiplicity of reports and analysis showing that Ireland, north and south, would be better off, economically and socially as part of the European Union.
An in depth study undertaken by eminent academics from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, drawing on the experience of the unification of Germany, found that in the event of Irish unity the island economy would benefit over the first eight years by over €35 billion.
It is, therefore, time that all those advocating or claiming to support Irish Unity, particularly the Irish Government, produce a blueprint for unification that sparks and leads an inclusive debate that reassures unionists that they will not be economically, socially or culturally disadvantaged in the event of reunification.
There is nothing to fear from inclusion.
There is nothing to fear from a New Ireland that we all shape together.