Friday, February 26, 2010

London Irish Unity conference success

by Theo Russell

OVER 500 people attended a highly successful conference on Irish Unity at the TUC’s Congress House last Saturday, organised by Sinn Féin and attended by representatives from Ireland, the Irish community in Britain, trade unionists and political activists.
Opening the conference, Sinn Fein West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty said that “the denial of the Irish people's right to self determination" was a key outstanding issue of the peace process.
He characterised the Good Friday Agreement as "an accommodation, not a settlement", and said that the task ahead was "to work in partnership with others of like mind to build political support for Irish reunification", as well as putting the issue on the political agenda in Britain and internationally.
Doherty emphasised that regardless of the 1998 agreement, "for Irish republicans, the cause still persists – the British government's claim of jurisdiction over part of our country".
He welcomed the recent deal on devolving policing and justice powers as "part of a process of change".
Other keynote speakers included Sinn Féin negotiating team member Conor Murphy MP, Ken Livingstone, ex-Labour Northern Ireland spokesperson Kevin Mcnamara and fellow MPs John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot, and Salma Yaqoob, leader of the Respect Party.
The event certainly succeeded in bringing a large number of activists together and launching a debate on Irish Unity, with practical and highly informative discussions on the economic and political issues involved, building relations with unionism, and the Irish community in Britain.
It came against the backdrop of a recent poll showing that Sinn Féin is on its way to becoming the biggest party in the north of Ireland, with support at 21 per cent, several points ahead of both the DUP and the UUP.

1 comment:

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