Derry-based Sinn Féin MEP, Martina Anderson, has predicted republicans will be back representing the people of the North in Europe whether the UK leaves the EU or not.
In a valedictory address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday night she reiterated her belief that Irish unity still remained the perfect solution to Brexit.
But she acknowledged it seemed highly unlikely that she would be contesting the European elections on May 23 or 24 with the EU having already passed legislation reallocating Ms. Anderson’s seat, as well as those of her colleagues Diane Dodds of the DUP, Jim Nicholson of the UUP, and the 70 other UK MEPs, to the EU 27.
“This just might be the last Monday night that I get an opportunity to stand here and represent the people of the North of Ireland who voted to remain with the EU because Brexit is dragging us out of the EU against the democratically expressed wishes of the people who voted to remain,” said the Sinn Féin MEP.
“Brexit is dismantling the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). It is knocking down its pillars bit by bit and the British Government is no longer pretending to act with rigorous impartiality or political neutrality,” she continued.
Ms. Anderson complained that the British Conservative Party’s coalition with the DUP under its ‘Confidence and Supply’ arrangement was alienating the nationalist and republican community in the North.
“It is appeasing unionism by scrapping 50/50 recruitment in policing and scrapping the GFA guarantees for rights and equality,” she claimed.
The Sinn Féin said more and more people from the North were rejecting Westminster as an an elected forum that routinely acted against their interests.
“Nationalism and republicanism has turned its back on Westminster rejecting all of the candidates who were willing to take their seats in that partliament.
“This is because the majority of the people in the North of Ireland who voted to remain within the EU are seeing what the British Government is doing as a consequence of Brexit and the majority of people in the nationalist/republican community are rejecting the fact that the British Government is dragging us out of here against our wishes,” she said.
Whilst the reallocation of the UK’s 73 seats, including Ms. Anderson’s, will not take place until the UK’s withdrawal becomes legally effective, the Derry MEP said it was likely her speech on Monday would be one of her last in Strasbourg.
She predicted, however, that it would not be the last time republican voices from the North were heard in the Louise Weiss building in Strasbourg or the Espace Léopold in Brussels.
“Even though this is the last opportunity that I might get here on a Monday night to represent them, perhaps, if the solution to Brexit, which is Irish unity, is something that is embraced by al,l then there may be an Irish republican back here representing the people of the North of Ireland in future,” declared the local Sinn Féin MEP.