Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney has set out the outstanding challenges for the next phase of the peace process while presenting the party’s new policy document, ‘A New Ireland for All’.
Speaking recently the party’s National Chairperson said, “25 years after the Good Friday Agreement, it is time to begin the next phase of our peace process. The challenge facing us all today is to make the political process work, and plan for the next 25 years; to tackle sectarianism and achieve reconciliation.
“Significant new voices from within the diversity of Protestant and unionist identities are now discussing constitutional change.
“Understanding and engaging with Protestant identities and culture is one of the most important conversations which needs to occur as we manage this change.
“Republicans carry a major responsibility to engage with Protestants and unionists to better understand their current concerns. Those reservations are real.
“Our political landscape is complicated due to the legacy of colonialism, and sectarian segregation. Housing and education reflect the structural reality of sectarianism.
“The failure to implement the Good Friday Agreement and it’s Bill of Rights, is at the heart of that intractability.
“Our new policy document, ‘A New Ireland for All’ sets out the outstanding challenges to end sectarian segregation and tackle sectarian attitudes, and to achieve reconciliation within the context of constitutional and political change.
“Eradicating sectarian segregation, and breaking the cycle of sectarianism, need to be embedded within all public policy processes. That means the function of government institutions in the north, and on a north/ south basis should be repurposed to deliver on that objective.
“The democratic logic for managing change is now inescapable. It is why the Irish government, and those who will govern Britain in the future, should begin to plan and prepare the transition to unity.
“The moment has arrived to establish a Citizens Assembly on reunification.
“Self-determination and unity referenda are in the national interest: To open a truly democratic debate about our collective future on this island which addresses the economic and social priorities of workers and families in the 26 counties; shapes an all-Ireland economic model to serve the needs of the many and for the first time, an opportunity to design a citizen centred, rights-based Republic which celebrates our national diversity.”