Thursday, 14 March 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Paul Coghlan (Fine Gael)
I found the remarks of Senator Paul Gavan very interesting and I totally agree with him about a new Ireland. However, I do not think we should be seen to be pushing for a united Ireland right now. All of that will happen in its own good time. The Good Friday Agreement provides the proper basis for a united Ireland to come about, in its own good time, by consent. All of our leaders and former leaders have been wise on this, including the Taoiseach, Deputy Micheál Martin and the former Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern. I heard the latter speak very recently on the subject. Our leaders are all in agreement that demographics will take care of things. What we need is unity of hearts and minds and I believe that what Sinn Féin is doing is good and I wish the party well.
Senator Feighan referred to what is happening in Britain at the moment. I had the honour of accompanying him to an event in the UK two days ago. It is very important that we continue to build friendships between parliamentarians on both sides and if Brexit actually happens, that will be even more important. The British are in a frightful mess at the moment. It seems to me that the Prime Minister is a beaten docket, so to speak. She will certainly push the withdrawal agreement again next week, if and when the Parliament decides to apply for an extension. However, it seems that the Government does not know what length of extension it wants. At this stage, it is the Parliament rather than the Executive that will decide what happens. Perhaps that is healthy in terms of democracy. All we can do is wish them wisdom. It seems to me that within the two major parties in Britain there is a multiplicity of differing views. Hopefully they can be wise in coming to a decision but I do not think they will be able to come to an immediate decision. We will have time again to deal with this issue.
I wish the Cathaoirleach and all Members of this House a very happy St. Patrick's Day. A very important game will be played in Croke Park on Sunday. May the better team win and I am hoping that it will be Dr. Crokes.