Corbyn reiterates support for united Ireland

Posted By: September 25, 2015

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated his support for a united Ireland in a recent interview.

Corbyn reiterates support for united Ireland

Ulster TV ( U.TV).Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Statesman magazine asked if he supported reunification in a question and answer session.

Mr Corbyn replied: “It’s an aspiration that I have always gone along with.”

However his comments have been branded “unhelpful” to the Northern Ireland peace process by DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson.

He has asked the party to clarify its position on the principle of consent.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, a united Ireland can only be brought about with the majority consent of people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Donaldson said: “Nothing Jeremy Corbyn says about Northern Ireland is going to be helpful or is designed to be helpful.

“What we now need is for the Labour Party to clarify its position on the principle of consent and Jeremy Corbyn needs to make clear whether he stands by the agreements made by Tony Blair which put the issue of consent at the heart of the constitutional arrangement in Northern Ireland.”

Jeremy Corbyn is a long-time supporter of the unification of Ireland.

In 1984, he met with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams in London – a decade before the first IRA ceasefire – and a year later opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, saying it strengthened rather than weakened the border.

His shadow chancellor, John McDonnell apologised last week for previously saying that IRA members should be honoured for bringing the British to the negotiating table.

The Ulster Unionist Party, which has requested a meeting with Mr Corbyn, said it had been assured that Labour was committed to the consent principles when officials met shadow Northern Ireland secretary Vernon Coaker earlier in the week.

Tom Elliott MP said: “He was very clear that Labour is committed to the consent principle as set out in the Belfast Agreement.

“Indeed he has also been unambiguous in the House of Commons that this is the position. What we have here is a party leader who is out of step with his own party’s position.”

Sinn Féin welcomed the Labour leader’s comments.

A spokesman said: “Jeremy Corbyn has been a long time friend of Ireland and of the peace process.”

The SDLP said Mr Corbyn reflected their views.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan said: “Jeremy Corbyn is stating a view held by many in the Labour Party in regards to a united Ireland and one that reflects an aspiration of the SDLP.

“It has always been a key tenant in our party constitution and one that is based upon the principle of consent.”