A CIVIC forum needs to be set up to plan for a united Ireland following the results of the Census NI figures for 2021.
The statistics revealed that for the first time since partition a century ago, those identifying as being of the Catholic religion (45.7 per cent) outnumber those who are Protestant (43.48 per cent).
The previous Census in 2011 showed Protestants as being 48.4 per cent of the North’s population with the percentage of Catholics being at 45.1.
Cllr Sheamus Greene, pictured above, insisted that the figures were “a historic moment” and that planning for a united Ireland should begin now so that the transition from London to Dublin rule can be done as smoothly as possible should a border poll result call for the North to rejoin with the rest of Ireland.
He said: “It definitely is a historic moment. It is a strange one as we all know the North was created to always have a unionist majority.
“But now times seem to be changing. I’m an Irish republican and I would hope that these results will maybe create an atmosphere of when there can be a border poll in the near future so that the people can have their say.
“As far as I’m concerned, we would be far better off in a united Ireland. Other people, of course, have different views, but I would hope these figures are a catalyst towards a border poll.
“Perhaps one should be called for two or three years time, enough time for a citizen’s assembly or something along those lines set up so that people can have something in place for when it happens – bearing in mind the lack of planning that surrounded the fiasco that was Brexit.
“So there needs to be a lot of planning now as these figures clearly show where this is going. In my opinion, there will be only one outcome (a united Ireland) in the short to mid-term future.
“Such planning would help ensure that records on health, pensions, taxes and other services can be smoothly transferred over to help a newly-unified Ireland to hit the ground running.”
Former UUP leader, Mike Nesbitt said unionists had to make staying in the union more attractive to Catholic voters. However, Cllr Greene says that call is “too little, too late”.
He added: “I think the horse has long bolted from the stable on that one. It must be remembered that it wasn’t the DUP that was in power when all the discrimination was going on – it was the UUP.
“They and their predecessors were in charge when the Catholic community was being discriminated against so it’s a wee bit ‘too little, too late’ for them to maybe start trying to sell the union to nationalists.
“What I would like to see is all sections of our community come together and have the discussion on what the future will be.
“Because at the end of the day, this island belongs to us all. We are far better off governing ourselves than the likes of Boris Johnson or Liz Truss who don’t give a damn about any of us.”
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