I’ve searched it from cover to cover, but no mention to be found. I speak, Virginia, of the Good Friday Agreement, and the one thing I cannot locate is that the unionist population in the north must be in agreement/reconciled/given a veto, before a border poll is called.
What you do find is that a border poll will be called when the British Secretary of State believes it can be won by those advocating constitutional change. As of next year, there is a belief that the Catholic population in the north will be in the majority. Using all other elections as a guide, it’s fair to assume that if a border poll were held, constitutional change would receive a majority vote.
But if you listen to Micheál Martin in recent pronouncements, you’ll find considerable verbiage about several things, but there is no mention of the Good Friday Agreement, much less its key clause that a border poll can be called for. He will put €500 million towards the A5, Ulster Waterways and a bridge at Narrow Water, but he will not tolerate a border poll within the next five years (assuming his government lasts that long).
I’d applaud Micheál for those three projects and any others that would enhance reconciliation and help show unionists how much more we can achieve if the leaden weight of partition were removed from our country. But where he is misguided is that reconciliation needs to be fully in place before the calling of a border poll.
Micheál, Micheál – do you not realise that this is to give unionism control over the calling of a border poll and therefore control over Irish unity? The GFA was an enormously generous gesture by nationalism: we will not insist on democracy – the wish of the majority in Ireland. Instead, we’ll allow democracy in six out of thirty-two counties to decide the future of Ireland.
Faced with such narrowing of democratic wishes – that the six counties will decide for the entire country- Micheál now is intent on narrowing it further and saying in so many words that unionism must have the right of veto to any end of partition.
That’s not just anti-democratic, Micheál. Coming from the leader of a party that calls itself ‘The Republican Party’, it’s deeply sad and deluded.
Footnote: SDLP leader Colum Eastwood welcomed the taoiseach’s commitments and his “vision for a shared island”.
Need I say more?