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Labour Leader calls for Preparatory Work in Advance of any Referendum on Unification

30 September 2022

Speaking at the Ireland’s Future event to be held tomorrow in the Three Arena Dublin, Labour Party Leader Ivana Bacik TD will express Labour’s call for an all-of-government approach to be taken in carrying out the necessary preparatory work prior to the holding of any referendum on unification of the island.

Speaking tomorrow, Deputy Bacik will say:

“Labour believes in an agreed, united island, founded on fairness and equality for all people on the island.

“But we believe that a huge amount of genuine and sincere preparatory work must be done in both jurisdictions in advance of any referendum on unity, in order to ensure that people on both sides of the Border are clear on what it is they are voting on, and that a new, agreed and united island would be a state accepted by all communities on the island.

“We must learn from the mistakes of Brexit in order to avoid confusion or dangerous division. We have yet to do the work necessary to enable people to make an informed choice in a referendum about the future of the island, on both sides of the border; to protect our island’s most marginalised communities from the consequences of a hasty campaign, or the vanity project of any one group seeking ideological victory.

“This preparatory process will require generosity on the part of everyone on the island. Unification means a unity of people before any unity of territory. The spirit of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement remains the yardstick we should both adhere with and be inspired by. Labour wants a united Ireland, a shared island and it believes in our potential to build a true republic. To get there, an all-island citizens’ assembly or assemblies, approved by the Stormont Assembly as well as the Oireachtas, must be constituted. Preparatory work in advance of establishing the assembly/assemblies needs to be an all of Government agenda. The best way to do this is to revive the old Green and White Paper tradition of assembling the evidence and identifying both problems and solutions before proceeding.  The Green Paper brings together the broad range of issues and the White Paper focuses on possible solutions. I think this process will help identify issues that require discussion and deliberation at open and visible citizens’ assemblies.”