A cross party delegation from Mid Ulster District Council met with the Under Secretary of State Kris Hopkins following a debate in the chamber regarding Brexit.In July of this year, Sinn Féin brought a motion raising concerns of the negative impact Brexit will have on the people of Mid Ulster. The meeting yesterday was a follow up to this discussion and took place in the Mid Ulster District Council offices in Dungannon.
The Sinn Féin council group leader for Mid Ulster, Ronan McGinley, led the delegation made up of two Sinn Féin and two SDLP representatives. Representatives from the DUP and UUP failed to attend the meeting.
Cllr McGinley said:
“56% of the people of the North, Nationalists, Unionists and others voted to remain in the EU. The British and Irish government must respect and give expression to that mandate. The damage that the imposition of an EU border will cause on the entire island of Ireland is clear for all to see and has been well articulated by respected academics, economists and politicians. It is clear that the British government cannot guarantee there will be no return to a hard border and the Irish Government cannot guarantee it either”.
Cllr Niamh Doris, who also attended the meeting said:
“It was good to see that Kris Hopkins attended the meeting as requested by the council in July, and that he was engaged in the conversation with us. However, I stated to him that Martin McGuinness was correct to criticise Theresa May for not attending the meeting of the British Irish Council last Friday, it was the first meeting of the British-Irish Council that British Prime Minister Theresa May had the opportunity to attend and she did not show up. We fear this is further evidence that this British government doesn’t know what it’s doing and has no plan or strategy in terms of Brexit. The people of Mid Ulster share this concern and are anxious about the negative impacts Brexit will have locally”.
The Mid Ulster delegation argued that more needs to be done to explore special status for the North, reiterated the need for the Irish Government to act in the interests of the entire island of Ireland, and raised real concerns around how Brexit will impact Mid Ulster socially, culturally and economically.
Cllr McGinley finished by saying:
“Sinn Féin make no apology for our continued stand that the best way forward for Ireland is through reunification. We will continue to work for and campaign for that legitimate goal. Those who argue now is not the right time for a border poll are wrong”.
The Mid Ulster District Council has passed a motion calling for the right to vote in the next, and all future presidential elections.
Sinn Féin’s group leader Ronan McGinley proposed the motion during the November meeting of council after the Taoiseach refused to act on the recommendation made by the Constitutional Convention.
Sinn Féin argued that the franchise should be extended to include all Irish citizens, regardless of their place of residency, in order to vote in the next, and all future presidential elections.
Cllr Ronan McGinley said,
“It is understandable that people had an expectation that a referendum would be held following the conventions recommendation . A lot of people have been looking forward to the day that they will be able to vote for their President. The Taoiseach’s decision not to hold a referendum is completely unacceptable”.
“The people of the north and the Irish Diaspora are part of this nation. They should be included in it, not excluded which is what is happening due to the Taoiseach’s decision”.
“I am delighted that the council endorsed the motion tonight, I think it’s appropriate that this council communicates the anger and disappointment felt by the people of Mid Ulster by being denied this right.
“The Taoiseach should reconsider, we have been excluded from the rest of this nation for too long”.
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Mid Ulster Sinn Féin call for right to vote for President
Sinn Féin are calling for the Mid Ulster District Council to support the recommendation made by the Constitutional Convention to extend the right to vote in Presidential elections to all Irish citizens regardless of their place of residency.
There is a mixture of deep disappointment and anger among the broad nationalist family in the north at the decision of the Taoiseach not to hold a referendum to change the constitution to allow the people of the north and the Irish diaspora the opportunity to vote for our president in the 2018 election.
Sinn Féin’s council group leader Ronan McGinley said,
“It is understandable that people had an expectation that a referendum would be held following the conventions recommendation . A lot of people are looking forward to the day that they will be able to vote for their President. The Taoiseach’s decision not to hold a referendum is unacceptable”.
“The people of the north and the Irish Diaspora are part of this nation. They should be included in it and not excluded as the Taoiseach is trying to do with this decision. Sinn Féin are calling on the broad nationalist community to unite and lobby the Taoiseach to reverse his decision, which is why I am bringing this motion to the council.
I am asking the council to make its voice heard to the Taoiseach, we have been excluded from the rest of this nation for too long, it has to end”.