THE election has highlighted that our times are shifting and changing.
Interestingly, after the results, I read comments such as “We are no closer to a United Ireland.” However, no-one can deny that a border poll (whatever the time-frame) is up ahead.
If Brexit has taught us anything, it has taught us the importance of careful planning. Of course, there will always be the naysayers who will tell us that we should instead be focusing on making the North work. However, I do not believe we have to choose between one or the other. In other words, we can work on improving our everyday living, as well as considering our future.
Conversations regarding the future of our island are growing and in the Ireland’s Future team, we have been campaigning for the UK and Irish government to convene a Citizens’ Assembly, a vehicle through which our people (North and South) can come together to discuss, plan and deliberate.
So why am I passionate about this?
• Because I believe this conversation must not only be ‘politically-led,’ but also ‘people-led’.
•Because I am passionate that we hear all voices from all backgrounds.
•Because I believe there are people in the middle-ground who want to be convinced that a New Ireland is the way forward, and we must cast the vision.
•Because I believe we have the opportunity to make our home a better place to live.
Sometimes I get a few folks telling me that because I am a Minister I should stay out of politics. I don’t agree. Let’s remember: Jesus was political. Jesus always chose a side. Jesus always sided with the most vulnerable, the marginalised, the oppressed, the sick, the poor, and spoke truth to those in power who refused to rule on their behalf. Jesus advocated and served.
Therefore, I feel it is important that I (along with many others) place my shoulder to the wheel of creating a New Ireland. The Irish and UK government can no longer ignore the rising voices longing for something new. The time is now for the setting up of a Citizens’ Assembly. Let’s do this!