Belfast women establish independent assembly to discuss Irish Unity

At last month’s Belfast Women’s Assembly, more than 120 women from across Belfast gathered to discuss the role of women in the new Ireland. At a follow-up meeting, it was determined that they would continue the work by creating an independent ‘Belfast Women’s Assembly’ structure, to follow up on the issues raised in the report and to begin preparing and planning for Irish Unity.

Speaking at the report launch Deirdre Hargey MLA said, “From the outset, the Belfast Women’s Assembly exceeded expectations. Previously, women had been present and often prominent at public meetings of the Commission on the Future of Ireland. Those meetings hosted contributions from people based on their expertise in advocacy and activism, and in research relevant to local audiences.

“The Belfast Women’s Assembly differed in that everyone in the room was invited to have their say, to ‘dream big’ and speak from the authority of their own lived experience.

“The energy, enthusiasm and serious engagement at the event was simply extraordinary. Contributions throughout the event revealed a clear appreciation of the potential for practical, positive change in women’s lives that a new Ireland could bring.

“It was clear on the night that the women in attendance saw the prospect of a unity referendum as an opportunity to plan for a new Ireland that would guarantee women’s equality, gender rights and social justice.

“The growing momentum in the debate on the future of Ireland is driving the conversation on constitutional change. In addition, the audience in the Belfast event overwhelmingly supported the demand that the Irish Government establish a Citizens’ Assembly on constitutional change.”

The full report is available here: