|Cllr Johnny Mythen, Martin McGuinness and Oisin O' Connell at recent border poll conference|
Mr O' Connell said;
"Fifteen years have passed since the Good Friday Agreement. There were people then who said that it would never work. They said that the peace wouldn't last and that an assembly between nationalists and unionists was impossible. But they were wrong. There were people who said before that agreement was made that negotiations were a waste of time and nothing would come of it. But they were wrong."
"There are people who will say that Sinn Fein's call for a border poll is mistimed. They will say that Ireland can't afford unification. They will say that republicans are just stirring things up again. But they are wrong."
"Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, a border poll and a vote about the future of partition and the possibility of reunification are guaranteed. The time has now come for the Irish and British governments to set a date for this poll. The people of Scotland will vote on their destiny next year. The people of Ireland should be given the same opportunity in the next few years."
"Ireland can afford to be united. In fact, what we can't afford is to be divided. Two states, two governments, two economies, two civil services on an island of this size with a population of just over six million makes no sense. Much of the problems we face, mass unemployment, emigration, economic stagnation; could be better solved in an all Ireland economy."
"Many people will have different views on this issue. There will be people who will have concerns and there will be people who will desire to see this island united. It's time the issue was put out there for people to think about. Its time for a mature and informed debate on where we see Ireland going and the vision we want to hand over to our children. Its time people were given their legal right to vote on the future of our island. As we approach the one hundredth anniversary of the Proclamation of Independence it's time we look towards the possibilities of a new, true republic."