THE woman who successfully took a case against the British Home Office over her Irish citizenship, has welcomed the debate around proposals for a united Ireland, after a leading Fianna Fáil politician’s comments this week.

Jim O’Callaghan, TD for Dublin Bay South, who is tipped as a future leader of Fianna Fáil, delivered a speech to the University of Cambridge, where he called for the Dáil or the Seanad to be based in Belfast in the event of a united Ireland.  

“It would be beneficial for a new united Ireland to retain a bicameral system, with one house sitting in Dublin and the other sitting in Belfast,” the Sunday Business Post reported Mr O'Callaghan would be saying.

Unionists will also be guaranteed seats at the Cabinet table in any future united Ireland under O’Callaghan’s plans.

“In order to ensure that pro-union parties retained influence in an Irish government, there could be a requirement in the new constitution that a certain number of cabinet would be filled by representatives of unionist parties,” he said.

Mr O’Callaghan’s vision would also include retaining the PSNI under a regional policing system, and that over a 15-year period the British government would gradually phase out its financial subvention to the North of Ireland, while the European Union would provide regional development funding during a transition period.

Emma DeSouza, who is a spokesperson for – which campaigns for voting rights in Irish elections to be extended to people living in the North as well as Irish citizens around the world – welcomed the conversations surrounding a united Ireland.

“It's clear that these conversations are growing, the proposals put forward by Jim O'Callagan are welcome. Compromise has always served as an intrinsic facet to our shared history and to peace building – everything must be on the table to reach agreement.

“For me, constitutional change is an opportunity for all of us, North and South, to create something new, to fully realise the rights-based future envisaged in the Good Friday Agreement. 

“I envision a process where we can create a new-yet-familiar Ireland where all traditions are valued and accounted for. An entire generation has grown up under the cover of the Good Friday Agreement, the demographics and politics have shifted substantially North and South in that time. 

“I believe that constitutional change will be a cathartic process and that it's here where true reconciliation will begin.”

Gerry Carlile, speaking on behalf of Ireland’s Future – who launch a policy document today on the economic benefits of a united Ireland – also welcomed the intervention  from Jim O’Callaghan.

“The conversation on constitutional change and a new Ireland now forms part of everyday discussion,” he said. 

“There is a growing momentum around the requirement for preparation and planning.

“Ireland’s Future encourages the Government in Dublin to establish an all island Citizens’ Assembly or National Forum that can begin to formalise the outworkings of what Irish unity will entail for the people of this island north and south.

“Ireland’s Future particularly agrees with Jim O’Callghan TD when he states that, ‘irrespective of what the new country requires or permits, nothing will diminish the traditions and culture of unionism. Its strength lies in its people. Its home is in Ulster. Its future rests in improving the quality of life for all the people on the island of Ireland within the European Union and in close harmony with the three other nations.’

“Ireland’s Future urges our friends and neighbours from a unionist and British background to get involved in the planning process and to play their part in shaping the future as we move on a trajectory towards referendums on both parts of the island.”