Irish Republican News · December 7, 2012
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Unionists urged to attend Irish constitutional convention
Unionists urged to attend Irish constitutional convention

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Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has urged unionists to reconsider an invitation to join the 26-County constitutional convention.

As a year-long series of events kicked off at Dublin Castle on Saturday, Mr Adams said he was hopeful the DUP and Ulster Unionists would see the value of taking part in the debate.

The 100-member convention will spend the next 12 months discussing proposed amendments to the 1937 constitution.

The convention will consider eight specified issues including the length of the presidential term, reduction in the voting age, electoral reform and provisions for gay marriage.

The Dublin government is not obliged to adopt any recommendations but has given a commitment to respond formally to each proposal and debate it in the Oireachtas.

Places at the convention are available for members of the Stormont assembly.

So far Alban Maginness of the SDLP, Stewart Dickson from the Alliance Party and the Green Party’s Stephen Agnew have accepted but unionists have declined.

Mr Adams, who was required to wear sunglasses at the event due to recent treatment for an eye complaint, said the convention should persuade unionists to take part.

Speaking on the opening day, he said the 1998 Good Friday Agreement had created a new political dynamic and that constitutional reform could help build further reconciliation.

“Sinn Fein is for a constitution that embraces all of the citizens of this island especially those who feel themselves to be British,” he said.

“A constitution which builds reconciliation between orange and green. A constitution that is part of shaping a new Republic for the 21st century.”

 

Mr Adams was also told this week that new information regarding a 1987 plot on his life by a loyalist death squad would be revealed.

Mr Adams said the revelation, contained in a letter from the British barrister reviewing the Finucane casem, came as no surprise.

“Collusion between British state forces and unionist death squads was a matter of institutional practise by successive British governments throughout the decades of conflict in the north,” he said.

“It played a part in the attack in March 1984 in which I and three others were shot and it has already been reported that the British were aware of the plan to kill me in May 1987.”

© 2012 Irish Republican News