A Sinn Féin MEP encouraged DCU students to support a united Ireland at a unity forum in DCU on February 22nd.
“Just remember, there are more people in this room than there were organising the Easter Rising in 1916” said Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, one of three speakers at the forum.
Carthy was joined by Senator Gerard Craughwell and Senator Gerry Horkan at the event organised by DCU4UNITY. The politicians addressed a group of over 30 DCU students as part of a campaign to get students to vote in favour of a united Ireland in the upcoming Students’ Union referendum.
DCU SU will be holding a referendum to determine the SU’s official stance on whether or not they believe that Northern Ireland should become part of the Republic. Voting will take place online from Wednesday 7th– Friday 9th of March.
The talk was supported by three societies in DCU: Ógra Shinn Féin, Ógra Fianna Fáil and Labour Youths. Leanne Donovan, the events coordinator for DCU4UNITY, was chairing the talk.
The question as to whether or not a united Ireland is possible has been raised in recent years following a couple of high profile referendums in the UK. In 2014, the people of Scotland were given the opportunity to decide whether they should remain part of the United Kingdom and, more famously, the UK decided to leave the European Union in 2016.
As a country, Northern Ireland voted to remain as part of the EU. However, Britain as a whole did not. The implications of the Brexit and the rumours of a hard border have opened up the possibility of a united Ireland referendum.
“We have somehow lost the young people of this country and your influence,” said Senator Gerard Craughwell at the event. “Guys you’re the future. You’re the people who can shape this country.”
While Craughwell encouraged young people to get more involved with politics in general, Senator Gerry Horkan was more interested in seeing students turn out for next week’s referendum.
“You just need to get the bodies out to vote. Drag them out. Go in and address lecture theatres – the bigger the lecture theatres the better. You’ve got social media that we didn’t have. You’ve got Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp and everything else,” said Horkan.
“Just get the message out ‘go and vote’. Have a message and get your students’ union to get on board and to campaign as much as they can.”
Image Credit: Mark Carroll