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All-Ireland parliament should be in Belfast: TD


Jim O’Callaghan is to speak at the University of Cambridge

Jim O’Callaghan is to speak at the University of Cambridge

Jim O’Callaghan is to speak at the University of Cambridge

One of the two chambers of an all-Ireland parliament could be based in Belfast if the island unites, according to a Fianna Fail member of the Dail.

Unionists could be guaranteed cabinet positions, while the Irish constitution may have to be comprehensively rewritten for any future united Ireland, Jim O'Callaghan believes.

The TD for Dublin Bay South, who is tipped by some to be a future leader of the party, will lay out his current thinking on what a united Ireland might look like in a speech to the University of Cambridge tomorrow.

He will propose that the current two chamber system should be retained - but that either the Dail or Seanad would be based in Belfast.

"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," Mr O'Callaghan will say, according to a report in Dublin's Business Post.

He will deliver the speech to the university's Sidney Sussex College.

His voicing of proposals on what a united Ireland might look like contrasts with party leader and Taoiseach Michael Martin's position, according to the Post.

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Mr Martin wants to dampen down any talk of preparation for a united Ireland or calls for a border poll, at least in the next few years.

But Mr Gallagher has decided to lay out his own vision - which also includes retaining the PSNI under a regional policing structure.

While power sharing will not work, he will argue, there may be a way of ring-fencing cabinet positions for unionists to ensure they retain influence.

He does believe unionists will, nevertheless, naturally develop alliances.

"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 is expected to say.

The TD will play down fears that a new Ireland will not be able to match how much the UK spends on Northern Ireland through its subvention, known as the block grant.

"Harnessing the strength of the whole island would help make those six counties a more prosperous region of a prosperous country," he will say.

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