Matt Carthy MEP has said that the United Ireland that emerges in the future may not be the one traditionally envisaged and will have to accommodate unionist and British identity. He said a United Ireland must be built on diversity and an equal society for every citizen regardless of creed, colour or sexual orientation.
The MEP also said that he wanted to see a new Ireland in which ordinary working people were in charge and where the economy serve the needs of the people as opposed to powerful elites. A United Ireland, he said, should gurantee the right to a job, a home, a decent education and a health system that cares for all
Carthy remarks were made at a recent conference in London on the issue of a United Ireland. The conference was also addressed by Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD, party Vice President Michelle O’Neill and former party leader Gerry Adams TD.
Matt Carthy said:
“One reason unionists put forward for opposing Irish unity is that it would see the destruction of their British heritage. There is a responsibility on those of us who want a united Ireland to address this fear. We need to look at what unionists mean by their sense of Britishness. We need to look at ways in which the unionist people can be comfortable and secure and have ownership in a new Ireland.
“The United Ireland that emerges in the future may not be the one traditionally envisaged. In my view and that of my party, it must be pluralist, inclusive and accommodating to all our people in all their diversity. Let’s remember that Orange is one of Ireland’s national colours. I think I can safely say that there will be Orange parades in a future united Ireland.
“Accomodating British identity may involve constitutional and political safeguards. Advocates of Unity need to be open also to considering transitional arrangements, which could mean continued devolution to Stormont within an all-Ireland structure. We must be open also to the British element of Ireland’s history find symbolic expression in a unified state.
“The United Ireland I believe in, is one built on diversity. This means an equal society for every citizen – women and men, LGBT and straight, young and old, black and white, Orange and Green. The Orange State in the North is gone. Meanwhile, overbearing conservatism in the South is giving way to a pluralist society. A united Ireland should not be about grafting the North onto the South but about building a new Ireland.
“We can build new structures that guarantee ordinary working people are finally in charge and that the economy is made to serve the needs of ordinary people as opposed to powerful elites.We must take the best of both existing states and build anew. We must create a new state in which citizens have rights including to a job, a home, decent education and a health system that cares for all.
“Of course, Brexit has created a new dynamic in the United Ireland debate. The prospect of the North being removed from the European Union has brought Irish unity centre stage. The most realistic way to ensure that the wishes of people in the North to remain in the EU are realised is through the unity of Ireland.”