Partition crippled Ireland, says Adams

 

THE PARTITION of Ireland has distorted and stunted its economic and political potential, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said last night.

Mr Adams said levels of unemployment, poverty and homelessness were too high across Ireland and that having two health services, two education systems and competing economies on a single island was not logical.

“An all-island economy makes sense,” Mr Adams said. “Ireland, North and South, needs a new joined-up economic strategy for the 21st century and for the new realities of today.”

Speaking as Sinn Féin commemorated the 90th anniversary of the first Dáil at the Mansion House in Dublin, Mr Adams said the Ireland of equality and solidarity envisaged by those elected to the first Dáil has not been achieved and that the party is going to look abroad for help in furthering its hopes for the country.

Mr Adams announced Sinn Féin is to hold major conferences in the US and UK this summer to help generate extra support among the Irish abroad for a united Ireland. The party is planning to hold the two events in the summer, with dates and locations yet to be finalised.

Sinn Féin said a third conference is planned for London early next year and that activists are already actively lobbying Irish communities, MPs and trade unionists across the UK. “There are tens of millions of people across the globe who can proudly trace their lineage back to Ireland,” he said.

“Sinn Féin will be inviting Irish-America to discuss with us how we can advance a united Ireland campaign . . . Our intention is to engage with the diaspora and seek to marshal its political strength.”

Mr Adams said he believed there was a good deal of support in the US for a united Ireland and he stated that Sinn Féin also intended to reach out to unionists to ensure they would feel comfortable and secure if such a development were to happen. “Now is the time to promote a united Ireland as desirable, viable and achievable in this generation through peaceful and democratic methods,” he said.

Sinn Féin hosted a series of events yesterday to mark the 90th anniversary of the first Dáil, including a photographic exhibition and historical walking tours of the Mansion House and surrounding streets.

The party also published a commemorative pack, to be sent to schools around the country, containing reproductions of the documents adopted by the first Dáil.

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the event remains relevant in 2009.

“The Irish Republic established here 90 years ago was based on the proposition that the people are sovereign and that the public right and welfare comes before the interests of profit and property,” he said.