TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has reiterated the importance of reconciliation as he pushed back against recent calls in the United States for a referendum on Irish unity.
With the desire for unity and a border poll to be held gathering renewed momentum, the Taoiseach again highlighted the work of the Government’s Shared Island initiative, noting the need to achieve reconciliation in the North before thoughts turn to reunification.
The stance adopted by the Fianna Fáil leader has attracted criticism from some political figures both in his party, as well as externally, who feel he is being too conservative and should be leading more proactive discussions on shaping a United Ireland.
A spokesperson for the Taoiseach told The Echo: “The Good Friday agreement allows for a referendum to take place on a United Ireland and both Fianna Fáil and the Government is committed to this.
“The best and only way to do this is through consensus and this is why the Government set up the Shared island Unit.”
The Shared Island was set up to examine the political, social, economic and cultural considerations for a shared future in which all traditions are mutually respected.
In response, Cork Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said that Irish Unity needs to be ‘on the agenda’ now more than ever.
“Fianna Fáil, the so-called Republican party, need to stop burying their head in the sand. There is an appetite for the progression towards reunification.
“A referendum on our constitutional future is a healthy exercise and gives us an opportunity to reimagine Ireland and to work towards a better future, he said.
“An Irish government cannot be neutral on Irish Unity.
“The Taoiseach has once again failed to read the mood of ordinary people who are willing and eager to have an all-island conversation on Irish Unity,” he added.