Retention of PSNI among TD’s united Ireland plans

Posted By: March 22, 2021

John Manley. Irish News. Belfast. Monday, March 22, 2021

THE retention of the PSNI and a 32-county parliament sitting in Belfast are among a number of ideas proposed for a united Ireland by a TD tipped as the next leader of Fianna Fáil.


Jim O’Callaghan argues that either an Irish assembly/Dáil Éireann or Irish senate/Seanad Éireann could sit at Stormont under new constitutional arrangements forged after unification.


The Dublin Bay South TD, who advocates the need for substantial groundwork ahead of a border poll, will present his proposals in a speech at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge tomorrow.


In extracts seen by The Irish News, Mr. O’Callaghan argues that post-unity policing could be based on a “regional system”.


“This would mean retaining the Police Service of Northern Ireland, with any necessary amendments to its structure that would be necessary to reflect the new state,” he is expected to say.


“Ireland’s police force, An Garda Síochána, could also then be restructured on a more regional basis with all police forces in the new state operating under the supervision of a national policing authority that would have careful regard to the particular political and cultural sensitivities around policing.”


Based on recent voting behavior, he suggests unionists would have the support of around 11 percent of the electorate in a 32-county Ireland.


He believes unionist parties would “consistently have a part to play in the formation of governments in a united Ireland”.


“In short, unionism in a new united Ireland would have a much greater influence in the governance of a new united Ireland than it currently enjoys in the governance of the

The United Kingdom,” he is expected to say.


Nonetheless, he suggests that to ensure that pro-union parties retain influence, there could be a requirement in the new constitution that an agreed number of cabinet posts be filled by representatives of unionist parties.


Mr. O’Callaghan believes that a post-unification Ireland should retain a bicameral system, with one house sitting in Dublin and the other sitting in Stormont.


He argues that the second house “be given more real and effective powers than those currently exercised by the House of Lords or the current Seanad Éireann”.


The Irish senate could allow for greater representation for those coming from the unionist tradition, whilst the Irish assembly must, in order to retain democratic legitimacy, represent all the people with an equal distribution of seats per capita.


Nonetheless, multi-seat constituencies electing six or more candidates will enable full representation for those coming from the unionist tradition.


The Fianna Fáil backbencher argues that the British government should “agree to the gradual phasing out of the subvention during a transition period of 10-15 years and that people from Northern Ireland or those born in the region in the future should be entitled to maintain and claim British citizenship.


“It is important that whilst we try to formulate a broad and accommodating constitution that we do not shackle ourselves to the political mindset of the 20th century,” Mr. O’Callaghan will say.


“The political and religious divisions on the island of Ireland that caused partition are now much less pronounced and considerably different to what they were 100 years ago.”