Working towards Irish Unity




Young Fine Gael members pushing for Irish Unity

United Irelanders may have noticed over the past few months that Young Fine Gael (YFG) have been active in pushing the Unity question on a number of fronts. From publishing their  All Island Transportation document and pushing for a Citizens Assembly they have made quite an impact. John Healy and Jude O`Kane have been at the centre of YFG campaigning and to the fore in helping set  up the YFG One Island committee. We thought it was time they introduced themselves in the piece below. United Irelanders come in all shapes and sizes, from the Left, the Right and the Centre. We are delighted have them write for us and hope this piece is the first of many.

Hi, our names are John Healy and Jude O’Kane; we’re both 22 years old and at college in University College Dublin. We decided to get involved with Fine Gael and their youth organisation, Young Fine Gael (YFG). This is where we came to know each other.

John is from Kilcullen, Co.Kildare. Growing up, I always wanted to do something more with my life. When I was young, I thought I would be serving in the army like other family members, but when I was 16, I became extremely interested in politics and decided that that was what I wanted to work in. Last year, I was very grateful to be elected to the YFG national executive as Leinster Regional Organiser.

Jude is from Belfast in Co.Antrim and sits as co-chair on the YFG One Island committee. He is currently a final-year student at University College Dublin studying Economics and politics and is looking to pursue a master’s in the area. He has an advanced knowledge of policy and is a huge Liverpool fan.

For us, Irish unity has always been an important issue. The dream of a true 32-county Republic was certainly a huge motivator for both of us to get involved in politics. In pursuit of this goal, we helped form the YFG One Island committee alongside Pierce Dargan, who serves as co-chair. This committee was set up to give YFG the platform to voice youth party members’ views on the subject and facilitate discussions on a united Ireland.

Our first big step was the publication of our own Transportation document. This was made up of 24 transport policies on an all-island basis that we believe would benefit everyone should the government invest in the policies; this can be found on the YFG website and YFG One Island social media accounts. 

Our most recent step has been to call on the government to hold a citizen’s assembly on a United Ireland. We are of the opinion that regardless of whether you believe a border poll will happen in 2030 or not, the key to a successful border poll is preparation. These citizen assemblies could help us plan and then outline to the public what a United Ireland would look like, giving us a better chance of convincing people to vote in favour of a United Ireland. We have also had multiple branches submit a motion to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis calling on them to ensure they will hold a citizen’s assembly if they are in the next government. 

We’ve also held meetings with representatives from the SDLP and Alliance party to discuss a range of issues, including our Transport document. We have reached out to representatives from every party across the island in order to be able to listen, learn and take into account opinions from every background on our island. While we may not have gotten engagement from everyone, we believe that in order to create a just society and a new republic, we must keep trying to reach out.  

Plans moving forward

To Aid our planning going forward, we hope to visit/speak with the other independence movements in the UK, such as the SNP and Plaid Cymru, to see what we can learn from them and how we might apply that to our own case.     

Following this, we hope to continue this work of engagement on the island with people from various perspectives, such as Unionists, Nationalists and Agnostics. 

Through our engagements we hope to be able to continue publishing further documents exploring different issues that would need to be considered in a united Ireland, for example these documents would tackle issues such as Health care, Economics and housing.