Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams tonight [Monday] launched a new cross-border initiative at a United Ireland Rally in Monaghan.
Marking the 90th anniversary of the partition of Ireland, the plan seeks to collate views from a wide spectrum of public and community opinion “on the many disadvantages of the border”.
Called ‘Bridging the Border -- Reconnecting Communities’, the scheme identifies and sets out proposals to tackle social and economic issues that affect border areas.
Speaking at the rally, Mr Adams said the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements had “provided some improvement” and had mapped out “a progressive route for the future”.
The 1920 Government of Ireland Act which partitioned Ireland is gone, he said.
“The institutional elements of the Good Friday and St. Andrews Agreements have improved co-operation and infrastructure connections. In almost every facet of life co-operation has improved and people’s lives are better.
“But much remains to be done.”
He said that underlying Sinn Fein’s approach is the objective of a republic and the ethos and values that are its foundation.
“The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.
“A republic, a real one, is based on citizenship and citizens rights; the right to a job; to a home; to a decent standard of education and of health care.
“So, how do we translate this view into reality?
“By presenting clear proposals that make sense and demonstrate how uniting Ireland will work for citizens and make their lives better.”
Among those proposals he suggested were: a single currency; democratic control over Irish monetary and fiscal policies; an equitable and progressive tax regime, including a common VAT regime, a harmonised income tax and corporation tax; integrated energy, transport and telecommunications infrastructure; and all-Ireland economic planning and regulation.
ROBINSON CLAIMS CREDIT FOR PEACE
Meanwhile, DUP leader Peter Robinson has claimed that “the union is secure” and that his party has created the basis for what he called “the bedrock of peace and stability”.
Speaking at his party’s annual conference, he said the deals his party forged with Sinn Fein and the Dublin and London government meant unionists were now in control of their own destiny.
“We’re no longer reliant on others to protect our interests, no longer frustrated by governments negotiating over our heads, behind our backs and against our interests or by policies set in London and strongly influenced by Dublin,” he said.
“Instead, we’re setting our own priorities and direction.”
While not liking all the arrangements in place at the devolved Six-County Assembly at Stormont, he said the system would not be fixed by “ripping up all that has been achieved”.