Donegal Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry McMonagle is calling for an all-island Citizens’ Assembly to debate and discuss our constitutional future.
Cllr McMonagle said the ‘new Ireland’ would join green and orange in a new system based on equality.
Citizens from across the island and the diaspora should be involved in the process, he said.
Speaking at this month’s county council meeting, Cllr McMonagle said an all-island Citizens’ Assembly would enable political, civic and cultural entities to become involved in a structured formal process for change and would put citizens at the heart of shaping a new Ireland and would democratise the process.
“Unionism is part of our shared history, so too is Orangeism and they should also be part of our future,” he said.
“The new Ireland provides an opportunity to join orange and green together in a new dispensation based on equality.”
Cllr McMonagle raised a motion seeking that the council requests a Citizens’ Assembly on Ireland constitutional future and to invite officials from the Taoiseach’s Shared Island Unit to update the council on plans for the future.
He said: “By convening a Citizens’ Assembly on Irish unity, the Dublin government will demonstrate its commitment to engaging with citizens to chart the best future for the people of Ireland. This will not just be a better future for those who support unity it will be a better future for all, irrespective of political persuasion, religion, identity or background.
”The new Ireland which will come in the wake of the successful referendum on Irish unity must have respect, inclusivity and citizens’ rights at its core. The expression of all the cultures making up our nation will be supported, and a generous and open society will flourish. The first step in this process is to let the voices of our citizens be heard in an all-Ireland Citizens’ Assembly.”
Independent Cllr Nicholas Crossan, speaking in opposition to the motion, said he was not against the ethos of the motion, but feared that a citizens’ assembly could undermine the local authority as participants are not democratically elected and randomly selected. Cllr Crossan’s opposition was seconded by Cllr Kevin Bradley.
A subsequent vote of elected councillors showed the majority were in favour of Cllr McMonagle’s motion and it was carried.