Why SF won’t be taking Westminster seats

 

A chara, – Seán Donlon’s opinion piece (“SF missing once in lifetime opportunity to set agenda”, August 2nd) is the product of partitionist mind-set which has always criticised Sinn Féin, has never really been interested in Irish unity and invariably backs the SDLP view of the North.

Like the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Mr Donlon uses unionism as an excuse for refusing to talk about unity. According to their logic we shouldn’t raise the possibility of Irish unity because it might frighten the unionists.

Presumably he thinks we should work for a united Ireland but just not tell the unionists. Does he really think it’s right to try and hood-wink them? Does he think they are that naive? Or is his proposal not about a united Ireland but accepting partition?

It’s that sort of banal thinking which limits the potential for progress and change to what unionism is prepared to accept. It’s that attitude which saw Northern nationalists abandoned by the Southern state for decades, into a discriminatory sectarian state.

If the Irish Government adopts that same short-sighted approach in relation to Brexit then the island of Ireland is in real trouble.

To take seats in Westminster, as Mr Donlon proposes, a successful Irish republican MP must first break his/her commitment to the electorate, and then accept British sovereignty over a part of our island. Mr Donlon might think it’s okay to break your promise. Sinn Féin doesn’t.

In two elections this year the nationalist people of the North have turned their back on Westminster. In unprecedented numbers they have voted for Sinn Féin. That is an uncomfortable fact for many in the Irish establishment.

Finally, every Irish government since 1998 has backed the Good Friday Agreement. It allows for Irish reunification in the context of a democratic vote: 50 per cent +1. I believe we can secure a greater margin, but ultimately that will be for the electorate. That’s what democracy is about. – Is mise,

GERRY ADAMS TD,

Uachtarán Shinn Féin,

Dublin 2.