Sunday Independent

McDowell discusses 'shared future'

Willie Kealy

UNIONISTS and republicans throughout Ireland could aspire "in the medium or longer term" to share the functions and powers now exercised exclusively by the Government in Dublin for the Republic, Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said yesterday.

Stating that the idea sounded "radical", Mr McDowell asked whether, as our interests in Europe were closely intertwined, that the people of Ireland could share their future in Europe by pooling Ireland's status in Europe as part of the North-South institutions "entirely without prejudice to the constitutional issues of Unionism or a united Ireland".

"Would such an arrangement give something of real value to unionists without compromising unacceptably their general political position? Do we, North and South, have the courage or generosity to contemplate such a step?" And he warned that "the unfinished business of reconciliation on this island must logically precede the emergence of a unitary State . . . That process of rediscovery involves a degree of courage and generosity that is still lacking in large measure in nationalist Ireland."

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