Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern claims united Ireland ‘most desirable’ option for people across the island

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern claims united Ireland ‘most desirable’ option for people across the island

FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern believes a united Ireland is the “most desirable” option for people living across the island.

The former Fianna Fáil politician, who served as Taoiseach from 1997 to 2008, and was leader of the party from 1994 to 2008, will outline his position on the nation’s future today at an event hosted by the New Ireland Commission at Dublin’s Leinster House.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Ahern, who hails from Drumcondra in Dublin, said: “I fundamentally believe that the vision for a new Ireland based on the consent of the people who share this island, as set out in the Good Friday Agreement, is not just possible but it is the most desirable outcome for people and communities across Ireland.

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will speak about his hopes for a united Ireland today

“It is not a short-term goal,” he added.

“All of those who believe in change must be committed to putting in the hard yards to build a prospectus that reaches across traditional divides and demonstrates to our unionist neighbours that they will be respected, their traditions will be cherished and their children will be at home in the new Ireland we build together.”

“This Commission is a serious political project and I look forward to contributing my own experiences of working toward a common goal with communities across Ireland.”

Founded by the SDLP, the New Ireland Commission is determined to build a “detailed prospectus for Irish Unity, building on the experience of leaders across Ireland who spilled their sweat for peace”, the party explains.

Leader of the SDLP party Colum Eastwood

Today’s discussion will be moderated by New Ireland Commission CEO Conor Houston and will feature an introduction from South Belfast MP Claire Hanna.

“We are delighted that former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will provide his insights into the campaign to build a new Ireland,” SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said today.

“Bertie’s long association with peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland and his commitment, in particular, to meaningful engagement with those from a unionist background provide important lessons for those of us who believe in a new future for everyone who shares our island,” he added.

Today’s event is the latest in a series that the New Ireland Commission has held in Belfast, Derry, London, Bellaghy and Dublin.

“We are committed to engaging with people and communities across these islands to build a prospectus for change,” Ms Eastwood said.

“Indeed, we believe we are best placed to bridge the gaps between our communities.

“I look forward to hearing from Bertie and to building on the work of creating a new Ireland for everyone.”