Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has criticised recent comments by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar which sought to cast doubt on the as to whether a 50%-plus-one vote in the north in favour of Unity would be sufficient to secure a United Ireland.
Carthy was speaking after An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told a recent BBC Spotlight programme that he wouldn’t like to see constitutional change ‘on a 50% plus one basis’.
Matt Carthy, who chairs Sinn Féin’s United Ireland project team, said:
“Leo Varadkar is legally wrong to seek to cast doubt as to whether a 50%-plus-one vote would be sufficient to secure a United Ireland. His comments are also politically dangerous as they pertain to the central basis on which the Good Friday Agreement was endorsed.
“This mischievous and irresponsible position was previously taken up by one of Mr. Varadkar’s predecessors, John Bruton.
“Let’s be clear here. The Good Friday Agreement is specific and unambiguous on this point that both governments will:
“recognise the legitimacy of whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland with regard to its status, whether they prefer to continue to support the Union with Great Britain or a sovereign united Ireland”
“The Taoiseach cannot cherry pick the Good Friday Agreement which is legal, and internationally binding.
“Mr Varadkar’s comments have been greeted with disdain by many, many people across this island as he does not seek to apply the same criteria to maintain Partition.
“He is saying that the rights of nationalists are are less than those of those favouring the Union.
“It is clear that a 50%-plus-one vote will secure unity.
“But, let’s not have things so close. Sinn Féin certainly doesn’t want to have it that close.
“All of us who favour a united Ireland, should work together with the common objective of convincing the greatest possible number of people across Ireland that it is in their best interest.
“And let us convince those who think otherwise that they have nevertheless nothing to fear from the outcome of a referendum.
“That is what Sinn Féin is seeking to do.”