Corbyn reaffirms support for a united Ireland

Posted By: May 25, 2018

Brendan Hughes. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, May 25, 2018

JEREMY Corbyn has reaffirmed his support for a united Ireland during his first visit to The North since becoming Labor leader.

But he said he was not asking for or advocating for a Border poll – and that he had “no idea what the result of a poll would be.”

In an interview with The Irish News, Mr. Corbyn also said he was against having any kind of special status for Northern Ireland post-Brexit.

He said different trading relationships would be a “problem,” and maintained that there “has to be the same agreement covering Northern Ireland as the rest of the UK.”

Mr. Corbyn, who has previously voiced his support for a united Ireland over many years, appeared reluctant to reiterate his views during yesterday’s engagements.

But asked whether he still supports a united Ireland, Mr. Corbyn nodded and said: “My views are known.”

The Labor leader said any future Border poll if he were prime minister would be called in line with the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, and the British government would take a neutral position.

“My job is to lead the Labour Party. My job is to support the Good Friday Agreement. I’m not going to advocate for a poll if one is requested. If it happens then it happens, but we want the Good Friday Agreement to be back on track,” he said.


Labour leader warns against a return to “dark days of past.”

David Young. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, May 25, 2018

JEREMY Corbyn has warned that Northern Ireland stands at a potential crossroads between a strengthened peace or a return to the dark days of the past.

He urged Stormont leaders and the British and Irish governments to renew efforts to restore power-sharing at the crisis-hit institutions in Belfast, insisting peace cannot be taken for granted.


Giving a lecture at Queen’s to mark 20 years since the signing of the historic Good Friday peace agreement, Mr. Corbyn said:

“As we stand here today in celebration of 20 years of peace, we must also recognize we are standing at a potential crossroads.

“It is right we celebrate the achievements, not least as it is those achievements we must use as a springboard for the 20 years to come.

“We must neither be complacent, nor reckless. So I want to send this message to the people of this island – Labor is as committed to the Good Friday Agreement as we have ever been.

“It has served us well for 20 years and, with commitment and determination, will provide us with the framework for the next 20.

“And with that in mind, I want to make a plea to all parties and all sides. We must do all we can to make power-sharing work again in Stormont. We need all sides to come together and make devolution work again.

“That means tough choices. It means compromise and give and take. But we owe it to the people of these islands not to allow political disagreements to open the way for any return to the grim days of the past.”

Mr. Corbyn denied snubbing victims of the IRA.

The DUP accused Mr. Corbyn of refusing to meet some of those bereaved at the hands of republican paramilitaries during the Troubles.

The claim came after DUP MP Gregory Campbell asked the opposition leader if he would speak to those who lost loved ones to IRA violence during his two-day visit.

Mr. Corbyn said he was only notified of the invitation on Wednesday when his schedule had already been agreed.

He said shadow Northern Ireland secretary Tony Lloyd would be happy to meet victims’ groups.

“It is absolutely not a snub,” Mr. Corbyn said.

“I did receive a letter from Gregory Campbell yesterday. We had already made the arrangements for this visit.

“Tony Lloyd, our shadow Northern Ireland secretary, will be meeting them.”

Asked if it was time for him to clarify his stance on past IRA violence, Mr. Corbyn said all victims of the Troubles needed support.

“All the victims of all the violence need to be respected, and their families need that support, and that’s why Tony is going to be meeting them,” he said.

Mr. Campbell said he had extended an invite to Mr. Corbyn on behalf of victims nearly two weeks ago.

“His interest in Northern Ireland over the years could not be described as balanced, but as the leader of her majesty’s opposition in parliament it is important that he should hear a range of views when he arrives for his first visit as Labor leader,” he said.

“Jeremy Corbyn is well known for having avoided specific issues relating to terrorism in Northern Ireland. His answer that he ‘condemns all bombing’ when asked about IRA terrorism is somewhat reminiscent, if different in scale, to his comments that he ‘condemns all racism’ when asked about anti-Semitism.”