McLaughlin accepts 'status quo'

Wed, Jan 16, 2013, 00:00

During a debate in the Northern Assembly about loyalist flags protests which were continuing last night, Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Antrim Mitchel McLaughlin said he embraced and respected the consent principle.

“And that also means accepting the current constitutional status quo. I respect it and I accept it, and I am saying that for the record.

“I now have the power under the terms of the Good Friday agreement to bring about a united Ireland. I have to convince sufficient people and my colleagues to bring about that constitutional change.

“Until that position arrives then I will accept the status quo, and I hope that that is as clear as I can make it,” said Mr McLaughlin.

In relation to a united Ireland, he said: “If it could be done tomorrow, I would do it tomorrow.

“ If it takes longer then I am prepared to take longer, and it will be done by peaceful persuasion and the democratic mandate of this island.”

A motion was tabled by the Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt reaffirmed the Assembly’s “commitment to the principles of inclusivity, mutual respect, peace and democracy”.