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Newry and Armagh MLA, Justin McNulty has hailed last week's launch of the SDLP’s New Ireland Commission as the vehicle for a deep and meaningful conversation on what a New Ireland will look like and will involve challenging discussions around the practicalities of how we can get their whilst bring everyone with us.

Mr McNulty explained, This week the SDLP launched the New Ireland Commission, the product of several months of planning and the start of years more structured thinking. Bringing together leaders and experts from different sectors, regions and strands of thought, the Commission is about organising work on the kind of values, society and structures we want a New Ireland to have.’ 

The GPO, Dublin. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

‘For those of us who aspire to unite Ireland it is imperative that we recognise that we must unite the people of this island as well as bring about constitutional change.  The New Ireland Commission is key to that.  Constitutional change can and will only happen when we convince people of its merits, and in doing that we must set out a vision of what this island would look like in terms of governance, public services such as Education and Health as well as recognising and respecting the different traditions.’  

‘The New Ireland Commission will comprise a series of panels, the first of which includes business people, Protestant clergy, a Republican ex-prisoner, representatives of 4 other political parties, academics and many, many more who will meet to develop position papers and interrogate issues that need to be explored and explained.’ 

‘The diverse range of people involved have been asked to challenge the SDLP and help this conversation move on from simplistic rhetoric and slogans.  This doesn’t replace or displace the everyday work on public services and reconciliation we are passionate about and committed to - it complements it and helps plan for a different, improved future. This is a marathon and not a sprint but I’m genuinely excited about this project.  Just like the SDLP were the architects and builders of the Good Friday Agreement we will also shape the future of this island and its constitutional future, building a consensus and bringing people with us as we do that work.’  

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