‘Realistic, achievable, necessary’: Mary Lou McDonald pushes EU to back Irish reunification

‘Final days of partition’ are here, argues Sinn Féin newsletter sent to diplomats

Sinn Féin has told EU diplomats that Europe must prepare for change as Irish reunification has moved "centre stage".

In a party-produced European Newsletter which has been sent to foreign diplomats in Dublin, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald argues that unification has never been so widely discussed before.

"It is being talked about in every town and city in Ireland, not in aspirational tones but as a realistic, achievable and necessary future."

Ms McDonald says the European Union must respond in the same way it took positions on the reunification of Germany and has a stance on the issue in Cyprus. "Our European partners must be energetic and proactive in advocating for Irish unity at every opportunity."


Diplomatic sources say Sinn Féin has an outreach effort to embassies in Dublin outmatching that of other political parties.

Last December, Sinn Féin's international department organised an online briefing for Dublin-based diplomatic representatives with Ms McDonald, and the party's foreign affairs spokesman, John Brady. Another briefing for the diplomatic community was run last July on the Irish protocol and recent developments in Northern Ireland.

The centrality of the question of reunification in the newsletter is similar to messages imparted by Ms McDonald on visits to the United States. Last year, she told the New York City Bar Association that people were living in the "dying days" of partition.

The European circular outlines how “we are living in the final days of partition”, and says the “wider European community should prepare for [a unity referendum] and the likelihood of a United Ireland in the coming years”.

An article by MEP Chris MacManus calls on the EU to “get off the sidelines” and also to make clear what supports “financial or otherwise, it is prepared to offer to assist with a smooth transition towards a re-united Ireland”.

‘Crucial role’

A Sinn Féin spokesman said the international community had played a “crucial role” in the peace process and the party had engaged in an intensive programme of political engagement and outreach for decades. This had included engagements with embassies in Dublin, London, the US and EU, he said.

“In recent times it has been important to deal with the diplomatic community on issues like the impact of Brexit, the implementation of the protocol, the future of politics on our island and the opportunity that now exists for Irish reunification.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has repeatedly pushed back against calls for a referendum on Irish unity in the short term, and has promoted the Government’s Shared Island Dialogues at international level while stressing the importance of reconciliation.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times