[Sinn Fein]

4th February 2002

A United Ireland will not be a cold house for Unionists - Adams

Speaking today in New York as he prepares to return to Ireland, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP urged Unionists to ``take a leap of imagination. Unionism now needs to begin seriously thinking about, discussing and engaging with nationalists and republicans about the nature and form a new and acceptable united Ireland might take. A United Ireland will not be a cold house for unionists if it guarantees their rights and entitlements, if they have their own place, their own stake in it and a sense of security and ownership.''

Mr. Adams said:

``The main focus at this time for the pro-Agreement parties has to be about sustaining the progress that has been made in recent years and working hard to build a collective partnership which, with the two governments, overcomes the outstanding difficulties and seeks the full implementation of the Agreement. Sustaining and stabilising the peace process, including the eradication of sectarianism, is central to this.

``While dealing with these priorities in the immediate future there is still room for unionists and nationalists to examine each others vision for the future. Sinn Fein is very clear about this. Irish republicanisms are working to achieve a united independent Ireland. We believe that that outcome would be in the interests of all the people of the island, including unionists.

``Unionists need to take a hard look at where they currently are and where they could be in the future. Many unionist and loyalist leaders have said at different times that a united Ireland is inevitable.

``At present unionists are 2% in a British state, whose government they distrust. They are constantly told in public opinion polls that the British people really don't want to have anything to do with them. In a new Ireland, in which they will make up 20% of the population, there lies greater potential and protection for their needs and interests.

``Republicans are committed to ensuring that a United Ireland will not be a cold house for unionists.'' ENDSv

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