Speaking in Seanad Éireann, Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú said that the' new All-Ireland agreement does not offer a United Ireland but it has the potential and the structures to deliver an Ireland working in unity. The Agreement greatly diminishes British interference in Irish affairs and provides the challenge and the mechanism for the Irish people north and south to have real control of their own destiny.
Senator Ó Murchú said that a United Ireland was not only a legitimate aspiration but was the most viable option for all the people of this island. There are many who will mourn the passing of Articles 2 and 3 as we know them. The importance of these articles should not, in our efforts to justify change, be underestimated. These articles, in many ways were the stepping stone to the oasis of peace, justice and opportunity at which we have now arrived.
The Agreement, Senator Ó Murchú continued, being presented to the Irish people for ratification is also hopefully a stepping stone to a better Ireland - cooperative, harmonised and united in the pursuit of specific common goals.
The Agreement could, given a good measure of goodwill and generosity by all, be a miracle vessel. The more we take from it in matters of co-operation and mutual trust the more it will increase in substance.
What the negotiators had to accomplish was to build a bridge between the aberration of history which was partition and the new open, cohesive and barrier-free world which is offered as a model for all freedom loving people.
“I believe that history will judge kindly and generously those who took risks and negotiated well and long to achieve what at times seemed to be the impossible. They have provided us with the map which can guide us from the pit of despair and division on to a road of hope and opportunity. There will be many crossroads on this journey; many distractions, but it would seem that most people are prepared for the long journey and will help each other as each new hurdle emerges.”
“It is fitting that the Irish diaspora will, in the new arrangements, be given full acknowledgement of their loyalty to the homeland. They have been steadfast and effective in their support of the Irish nation and her aspirations. It is perhaps they, more than anyone else, who influenced world leaders to throw their weight behind the cause of Ireland.”
In conclusion Senator Ó Murchú said that it is time to remind ourselves that our ancient cultural heritage - which is shared by all traditions on this island - is much older and more enduring than more modern political divisions.
“It is conceivable that this shared heritage, which underpins our nationhood could prove to be a cohesive influence in blending our traditions and our aspirations. People make history and own it - they need not be either dominated or coerced by it.”