NEWRY and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy has renewed his call for Secretary of State Theresa Villiers to hold a border poll on Irish unity, saying that the time has come for people to have their say.
More than 300 people attended a public debate in Crossmaglen to hear party representatives from North and South give their views on the issue and the Sinn Féin MLA believes there is a strong appetite for such a poll.
“It is now 15 years since the Good Friday Agreement, which included a commitment to a border poll on Irish Unity. Sinn Féin believes that it is now is the time for the people to have their say. We have argued for a border poll on Irish Unity to be held in the lifetime of the next Assembly,” he said.
“While the question of Irish Unity may be abstract to some, for people in communities such as Crossmaglen and Creggan Upper they are dealing every day with the difficulties and disadvantages of partition.
“Communities were partitioned and towns and villages were cut off from their natural hinterlands without ever having had the opportunity to have their say. Economic development along the border has been severely stunted by partition.
“I have been approached many times by business people trying to operate in the border area who are annoyed and frustrated at having to deal with two sets of business regulations, two sets of employment laws as well as two currencies.
“They and others face the extra costs associated with roaming charges. They want to create jobs but the border makes it difficult for them to do so.
“Like many of them, I am convinced that increased economic integration and the creation of an all Ireland economy is crucial for the future prosperity of border communities.”