New Ireland’s Future’s report outlines the steps that could be taken towards a border poll vote…

Gerry Carlile is the CEO of Ireland’s Future

Ireland’s Future is launching our latest contribution to the growing debate about constitutional change: Ireland 2030. We believe a border poll is likely before the end of this decade. Ireland must therefore be prepared and ready.

As is well known, we have organised major public events, conducted inclusive civic and political dialogues across the island, and we have produced substantive policy papers to help shape the public discussions. The conversation about constitutional change is now entering a new and decisive phase. That is why in our new document we include practical suggestions and options for the period until 2030, with particular reference to the responsibilities of the Irish Government. Planning for a border poll requires urgent governmental attention. That might include, for example, a new department that leads a ‘whole of government’ approach. We accept that there are other ways to achieve the same objective and we fully acknowledge the significant work done by the Shared Island Initiative. What matters most to us is not the terminology used but that the practical work commences to shape the production of a Programme for a New Ireland – this must not be avoided any longer.

We continue to stress the need for all-island civic initiatives and we make proposals in our new paper about what might be required. Inclusive deliberation is essential. Other recommendations include the establishment of a dedicated Joint Oireachtas Committee, the need for the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference to engage directly with planning, and the requirement to involve international partners, including the EU institutions and member states.

The time for action on all of this is now if we are serious about doing the required work in advance. We believe that the evidence supports the case for change and there is an open opportunity for people here to be part of that better, fairer and more prosperous society.

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It is essential that people are given a meaningful choice about the future. The document builds on a series of publications and the many public events organised by Ireland’s Future. In particular, the intention is to encourage planning for the serious preparatory work that is now required, and that is why there are detailed recommendations addressed to the governments, political parties, public bodies and civil society. We include options and suggestions, with the aim of prompting the required debate. We want to hear your views and to encourage more focused deliberations.

Let me be very clear on this point: Denying people a choice is simply unsustainable and avoiding facing into the task ahead is irresponsible. This is a time for generous and courageous political and civic leadership to prepare our shared island for the journey we are now all on. The pathway to change we are proposing will benefit everyone. Ireland’s Future is responding to the challenge and we hope others will join us. Imagine what is possible if we get this right.

You can download the report here (PDF)…

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