'˜We are not leaving our own nation state'

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has said that there is not going to be any united Ireland in a response to a new report stating that groundwork should begin for a future referendum.

Tuesday, 8th August 2017, 9:46 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:01 am
Gregory Campbell (DUP)

Mr Campbell made his views known following the publication of an official report on the Republic of Ireland entitled ‘Brexit and the Future of Ireland, Uniting Ireland & Its People in Peace and Prosperity’.

The report called for preparations to begin for a “pathway to achieve the peaceful reunification of Ireland.”

It also called for unionist fears to be addressed in preparation for a future referendum on Irish reunification.

Responding via his Facebook profile, Mr Campbell said: “The Republic has now set out its stall. I presume they would like responses.

“My response: We are British, we are not leaving our own Nation State precisely BECAUSE we are British.

“We would like good relations with your Country after we gain freedom from the bureaucratic EU which has cost our Nation hundreds of billions, but there is not going to be a United Ireland, either peacefully or any other way.

“Those good relations will operate much better if we all understand exactly where each other stands,” he added.

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

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

In light of 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, has 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.”