Irish Reunification on the agenda in Brussels
GUE/NGL MEPs have reiterated their support for a United Ireland today at a special 'Reuniting Ireland' conference in the European Parliament that brings together academics, economists, trade unionists and political activists, as well as speakers from other countries which experienced partition.
GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said: "The GUE/NGL has always supported the peace process in Ireland. From the German experience unification did not benefit everybody. To be successful the Irish process of unification must be better - it must benefit all people."
She continued: "From visits to Ireland I have seen that there is still a lot of work to be done to remove the border in Ireland. There is an urgent need for cross-border infrastructure – something that the EU should prioritise in its structural funding. We have seen how the Irish "Celtic Tiger" did not benefit everybody. How can we ensure that those who managed the "Celtic Tiger" for their own economic benefit do not try to abuse a process of Irish unification for their own financial benefit – against the interests of the majority of the people?"
Irish GUE/NGL MEP Martina Anderson said: "The reason that Irish reunification is on the agenda is because of the Irish Peace Process. The signing of the Good Friday Agreement provided the basis for a democratic and peaceful means to achieve Irish unity. It removed the Government of Ireland Act ending the British government’s policy against unity. The future of Ireland now resides with the people.
"Those who continue to oppose reunification premise their argument on the basis that a new and United Ireland is not economically sustainable, and is completely dependent financially on British state subvention. This argument relies on what can only be described as ‘guesstimates’ from the British Government. We would be very foolish to take British Treasury figures in relation to the North of Ireland at face value. Ireland cannot afford partition: an island nation of 6.5 million people duplicating funding for two separate health, education, agriculture, tourism and road systems; having two tax, currency and legal systems makes no economic sense."
She added: "Reunification would be to the economic advantage of the entire island of Ireland."
Cypriot GUE/NGL MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou said: "The future of Ireland remains with the people and they should decide on the unification of their own country. Today, with millions of families that struggle to makes ends meet in Europe, people continue to experience war - an economic war. We need to expand people's right to change their fate and this will only happen if the democratic forces of the left in Europe can take power."
GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group