Sinn Féin North Belfast MP John Finucane traveled to Boston this week to participate in a special event at the Edward M Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, “25 Years of The Good Friday Agreement.”
The event which began with an address by Sen George Mitchell and included representatives from the Irish and British governments as well as the 5 largest political parties in the north covered a wide range of topics that provided a look back and more importantly, a look ahead.
Mr. Finucane said, “Make no mistake about it – the conversation about constitutional change is at a level and has a pace that has never been seen before. We have a founding member of (the DUP), who in a recent interview a couple of weeks ago talked quite spectacularly and dramatically about what he saw as the inevitability of border polls. And there’s nothing to fear from that. It’s contained within the Good Friday Agreement. If you support democracy and you support the Good Friday Agreement, you should support the managed and responsible way that this question will be put to the people north and south…It will be for the people on the island to decide where they see their future.
“But make no mistake about it – academia, civic society, business – lots of different areas in our society are having this conversation, and I think the pace of change will only gather in the years ahead.
“There is a punitive aspect to what is seen as an inability to commit to power sharing in a context where we’ve had two historical elections in the last 12 months. For the first time ever in the history of the jurisdiction we now have a nationalist, a republican who should be in the role of First Minister. We have a republican party that is the biggest party in local government as well. I say that not with any sense of triumphalism, but as a reflection of the society that we live in. A society that is represented by multiple different parties and the very least that our electorate deserve is to have those members of those parties working together – disagreeing in a healthy way when disagreements arise – but showing positive leadership to demand the resources we know we need back home to deliver for our constituents.”
You can watch the full presentation here:
Find the beginning of the panel discussion with John Finucane here: