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‘A New Ireland. A Nation Home for All’: Speech by Mary Lou McDonald TD to Ireland’s Future

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD addressed the Ireland's Future gathering in Dublin on Saturday, October 1. Her address to a capacity crowd of more than 5,000 at 3Arena Dublin focused on the work of coming together to build our nation anew.


The full text of her address:

"We’re here today in big numbers for 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.

Ireland Future’s - A Nation Home

Often, discussion on nation building gets lost in complexity.

To me, it’s very simple. Building a nation means building a home.

The two conservative, 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.

A home for every person regardless of community, colour, creed, sexual orientation, identity, or background.

Recognising and embracing that while we have many tribes and traditions, we are but one nation.

North, South, East, West, Urban and Rural joining together in common purpose and under the banner of‘no one left behind.’

A unified nation fueled 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.

For if we aspire to build our new Ireland as a real home for everyone then that must shape how we deliver healthcare, housing, and public services.

It must shape how we create good jobs, decent wages, dynamic businesses and how we ensure that workers and families can live good, secure, and prosperous lives.

We can achieve big things.

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 and use our renewable resources to drive a just transformation to a green, clean future.

We can do all these things and more and we must do them as a nation united, not divided.

Friends, I love our young people. They’re great.

A generation brimming with compassion, solidarity, and talent.

Refusing to be held back by the limitations of the past.

Calling-out the inequalities in our society.

Demanding a better future.

Good for them, I say.

No one is more deserving of change than our young, more deserving of a nation home.

In our young people, we have everything we need to achieve a new Ireland, and we will not tolerate another generation of forced emigration.

We want our young people to stay where they belong.

But if you do leave for however long or short, leave knowing that we are determined to build a new Ireland for you to come home to.

An Ireland where you have opportunity. Where you can make it. Where you can build your future.

Friends, building Ireland as a nation home for all our people isn’t beyond us.

The title of today’s conference is ‘Together We can’.

I say together we can and together we must.

We must move forward. We must unite. We must build our new Ireland.

For too long, Ireland’s progress was held back by the oppression of second-class citizenship, by the politics of ‘them and us’.

There is no doubt that we have had very different experiences, different perspectives, different traditions

But in the end, there is no them. There is only us.

Us who call Ireland ‘home’.

Ireland’s future will be determined by choices made today, by decisions of this generation.

So, the question before us is clear.

Do we remain hemmed in by the narrow boundaries of the past, by a dogma that told our parents and grandparents ‘this far and no further’ or do we, together, choose ambition, courage, and the belief that we can build anew?

I think we should choose courage; I think we should choose ambition; I think we should choose hope.

Those who say ‘yes, but not now’ have long lost sight of the bigger picture.

The Irish government is represented here today and rightfully so.

The days of treading water are over.

This is a time for leadership.

A time for energy and action.

It is time for the government to establish a Citizen’s Assembly on Irish Unity.

To urgently plan for constitutional change and unity referendums.

Our change must be orderly, democratic, peaceful,and planned.

Those who seek to guard and defend the status quo have had their day.

Make no mistake, history is happening now. The challenge is now. The moment is now.

We are all nation builders. Ireland’s future belongs to us all.

We can achieve a new Ireland. We can realise the promise of a better tomorrow. Here in our time, we can make Ireland a nation home for everybody."

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