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Sinn Fein chief Gerry Adams in united Ireland pledge to Orange Order

By Noel McAdam

Published 29/11/2016

The Orange Order would be formally recognised in a new united Ireland and any dominance by the Catholic Church ended, Sinn Fein has insisted.

Launching a new discussion paper, the republican party paper said that in a united Ireland there would be "constitutional recognition of the unique identity of Northern unionists".

It said there would be "recognition of the place of the loyal institutions (including the Orange Order) in the cultural life of the nation" along with "changes to the Irish Constitution to remove the overt influence of any one church or faith.

"Currently, unionists in Ireland remain isolated on the margins of the British political system, where they make up less than 2% of the population," the paper states.

"In a united Ireland, unionists would make up 20% of the population and exercise real authority, power and influence - as opposed to being a tiny minority largely ignored within the British parliamentary system."

In a new push to initiate an island-wide debate, party president Gerry Adams said Brexit provides a new impetus for reunification - because it would be "incomprehensible" to have one part of Ireland within the EU and another outside it.

Mr Adams, who did not attend the event as he is on his way to Cuba for the funeral of Fidel Castro, argued: "The Brexit referendum result has swept away many of the previous political assumptions about the constitutional, political and economic status quo in Ireland.

"For English and Welsh votes to drag the north of Ireland out of the EU against the will of its people would, like partition itself, be yet another travesty of democracy and would undermine the Good Friday Agreement."

But DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: "It is perfectly possible for nationalists and republicans to have the debate about a united Ireland, but that can take place without a border poll.

"It apparently only requires persuasion for unionists to support a united Ireland, but there is never any discussion as to why this persuasion hasn't taken place up until now."

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