Tanaiste urges Fine Gael to start working toward Irish unification

Posted By: December 22, 2021

Leo Varadkar told the Fine Gael Ard Fheis that “no one group can have a veto” on whether or not a united Ireland can happen.

 Kerry O’Shea@kerry_oshea   Irish Central. Jun 16, 2021.

Ireland’s Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said this week that he believes a united Ireland can happen in his lifetime and that Fine Gael should start to prepare for their own version of it.

“I believe in the unification of our island and I believe it can happen in my lifetime,” Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Tanaiste and president of Fine Gael, told his party’s Ard Fheis (annual party conference) on June 15.

“It means the unification of the people of our island as well as the territory of Ireland and it is a legitimate political aspiration. It is in our Constitution and is provided for in the Good Friday Agreement should a majority of people in the North and South vote for it.

“The views of unionists must be acknowledged, understood, and respected but no one group can have a veto on Ireland’s future.

“We should be proud to say that unification is something we aspire to. It should be part of our mission as a Party to work towards it.”

He added: “As well as this, I believe we should establish a branch in Northern Ireland with the same status as a constituency organization in our rules.

“Not with a view to contesting elections, but with a view to recruiting members and building networks with like-minded people including those in other parties. We need to reach out to all sides. And we need a presence on the ground to do so.”

Varadkar continued: “I believe we as a party also need to develop our own vision of what unification should look like. We know the crude vision espoused by Sinn Féin, it’s not an inclusive one – a cold form of republicanism, socialist, narrow nationalism, protectionist, anti-British, euro-critical, ourselves alone, 50% plus one and nobody else is needed. That is not a 21st-century vision.

“Our vision should be different. It should be one that has the best chance of carrying the greatest number of people with us, North and South.

“It should appeal in particular to that middle ground I spoke about earlier, to gain the support of people who identify as both British and Irish.

“So, Unification must not be the annexation of Northern Ireland. It means something more, a new state designed together, a new constitution, and one that reflects the diversity of a bi-national or multi-national state in which almost a million people are British. Like the New South Africa, a rainbow nation, not just orange and green.”

He acknowledged, however, that “until we have a clear proposition to put to the people on both parts of our island, then a border poll is premature.”