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Irish Unity Referendum must be fact based - unlike Brexit Campaign

By Chris MacManus MEP

Uachtarán Shinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald has described this as “a decade of opportunity”. 2023 needs to be the year the Irish government seize the opportunity to properly plan and prepare for a new Ireland.

Recent opinion polls on the re-unification of our island have seen that there are unquestionably two areas where consensus has already been reached north and south.

These two areas are firstly the need for planning and preparing ahead of any such referendum, and secondly EU membership, with polls repeatedly highlighting that the majority of voters north and south favour EU Membership.

This leads me to the conclusion that it is incumbent upon the Irish government to establish a Citizens Assembly on the constitutional future of our island.

As an MEP, I recently hosted the launch of the independent report titled “Making the Case for Irish Unity in the EU”, by Professor Colin Harvey and Mark Bassett BL.

This report explores the legal mechanisms outlined in the Good Friday Agreement and recognised under international law, for the entire island of Ireland to be re-united within the EU, and the steps the EU can take in order to provide for such an eventuality.

I believe it is now time for the Irish government and the EU institutions to engage in this conversation on a formal level, to ensure any future referendum on Irish Unity is informed and fact based, void of the chaos and confusion seen in the Brexit campaign. The best way to do this is via an All-Island Citizens Assembly, bringing together people from all

walks of life to discuss and debate what a new Ireland would look like.

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