The partition of Ireland in 1921 was a denial of the right of the Irish people as a whole to determine our own affairs. It created and sustained decades of conflict, discrimination and sectarianism.
In 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was endorsed by 71% of the votes in the North and 94% in the South. The Agreement established power-sharing institutions in the North, all-Ireland institutions and new institutions between Ireland and Britain. It included provision for a peaceful and democratic path to Irish unity.
The Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements have radically changed relationships within the North, between North and South, and with Britain. The Government of Ireland Act is gone. The institutional elements of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements have improved joint working. In almost every facet of life, co-operation has improved and people’s lives are better.
However, today, partition continues to stunt the political, economic, social and cultural potential of Ireland and its people.
The island of Ireland is currently administered by two states and three governments – in Dublin, Belfast and London. This system is wasteful, inefficient and incapable of successfully prioritising the interests of the Irish people that require an integrated vision for the island.
Sinn Féin believes strongly in a new, united Ireland. A united Ireland is not about welding together the two parts of Ireland. It is an opportunity to build a New Ireland. An opportunity to take the best of both states and build anew.
An opportunity to create a new state in which religious and civil liberties are guaranteed, where equal rights and equal opportunities exist for all citizens and where citizens have rights – including the right to a job, to a home, to a decent standard of education, a clean environment, and a health system that cares for all. An opportunity to celebrate and include all our cultures and identities.
The Good Friday Agreement places the future constitutional position of Ireland in the hands of the people who share this island. There is an onus on us all to create the debate and plan for a new, agreed, united, equal and inclusive Ireland.
Sinn Féin is ambitious – ambitious for our country and for our people.
We should always have the highest hopes and understand that there is nothing we cannot do, nothing we cannot achieve, if we are determined to make it happen.
We need every party, organisation and individual who aspires to see a united Ireland to be equally ambitious and equally determined to set out their positions and to bring the debate to the next level.
We believe that a new, united Ireland is the best way forward.
We ask you to read and share our discussion document, Towards a United Ireland, which aims to stimulate debate and to make the case for unity.