Sinn Féin TD for Donegal Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has hit out against Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s recent comments on the Good Friday Agreement – labelling them as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘contradictory’.
The Taoiseach told The Irish Times he would not be rushing into a referendum on the Border Poll.
Mr Martin said he wants a more ” consensus approach”, which he said is “much more rooted in the Good Friday Agreement” than a Border Poll.
Sinn Féin Chief Whip Pádraig Mac Lochlainn described the refusal of the Taoiseach to advocate for a border poll – which is expressly provided for in the Good Friday Agreement – as deeply unhelpful.
Teachta Mac Lochlainn said: “Demand for Irish unity has been growing steadily over the last number of years and Sinn Féin have been pressing the Irish government to begin meaningful engagement with the British government to arrange a date for a referendum on Irish unity within the next five years.
“To plan for a United Ireland, we need an All-Ireland Forum or a Citizens Assembly to plan for constitutional change and to ensure that the path to reunification is inclusive and orderly, because it is reckless to refuse to plan for the future.
“By refusing to plan for unity, the Taoiseach is abdicating his responsibility as head of government. Those that press this view are acting foolishly and are not protecting or respecting any section of our people – unionist, nationalist or otherwise.
“Whilst Fianna Fáil occasionally pays lip service to its Republican roots, it has long since abandoned any desire to advocate for a United Ireland; particularly under Micheál Martin’s leadership.
“A referendum on Irish unity is expressly provided for in the Good Friday Agreement – despite what the Taoiseach thinks. This is an agreement that was endorsed by the people of this island, north and south, overwhelmingly over twenty years ago.
“Respecting that agreement must be the responsibility of the Irish government. Contradictory remarks about what the agreement says are deeply unhelpful, and quite frankly ridiculous.”