Young people are “flocking” to Sinn Féin because the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments have not worked, Colm Meaney said.
The actor said young people are “not afraid” of a Sinn Féin government and believes party leader Mary Lou McDonald could win the support of unionists in a united Ireland.
Meaney spoke exclusively to that Irish Independent ahead of one of the largest public gatherings ever to plan a united Ireland.
Ireland’s Future, a non-profit group campaigning for a border survey, today organized the ‘Together We Can’ event at the 3Arena.
Alongside Meaney, singer Denise Chaila, actor James Nesbitt, musician Donal Lunny and politicians Ms McDonald, Leo Varadkar, Jim O’Callaghan, Colum Eastwood and others will attend the event.
Meaney said he “immediately agreed” to attend the event because he felt it was time to have a debate on reunification.
That star trek Actor, who has been a Republican all his life, said he would like to see Ms McDonald play the Taoiseach.
“I would definitely like to see a Sinn Féin government. I think their policy in general, not just in relation to a united Ireland, is much more progressive than Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael,” he said.
“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been in power throughout the state’s existence.
“They have had more than ample opportunity to put their policies into practice. They didn’t work either economically or on the border issue.
“It’s time for change and young people are aware of that. Young people are not afraid of that.”
He said he understood that some might question whether unionists would feel “less threatened” by a Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael government leading a border poll, but he “hoped the debate could resolve that”.
When asked if that meant he believed unionists could agree to a reunion under Ms McDonald as the Taoiseach, he said: “Absolutely. I would hope that it’s not just an emotional sort of traditional red, white, blue attachment.
“It would be more of a pragmatic approach that they would take. And in this situation they are convincing.”
Meaney said he first became interested in Sinn Féin after Republicans agreed to a ceasefire.
He interviewed those who criticized the party by bringing up their past.
“The Provisional IRA was created by the policy of the UK and Northern Ireland governments,” he said.
“Without Bloody Sunday, the Provos probably wouldn’t have existed. People forget that the riots started with peaceful protests.”
He argued that the civil rights movement in the North drew on the work of civil rights activists in the US like Dr. Martin Luther King based.
“They got beaten off the street in Northern Ireland, you know? So what alternative did you have?” Meney said.
He added that it was “a fact” that communities in Derry were being attacked.
“Remember, we had refugees pouring across the border. They weren’t fleeing the Provisional IRA. They fled from the RUC and the British Army.”
Meaney played the late Martin McGuinness in the 2017 film The tripwhich dramatized the unlikely alliance formed between the late Deputy First Minister and Ian Paisley before the St Andrews Accords.
Meaney also backed McGuinness in his 2011 bid for the Áras.
Ireland’s Future is not and is not affiliated with any political party.
The Alliance party declined an invitation to today’s event, claiming it was a “rally in support of a United Ireland”.
Ivana Bacik, the leader of the Labor Party, will use her speech at today’s event to call for one or more island-wide citizens’ assemblies, sanctioned by both the Stormont and the Oireachtas, to work towards a unitary state.
However, it must be based on fairness and equality for all people on the island.
Today’s event will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the 3Arena. Tickets are available at the box office for €10.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/mary-lou-mcdonald-can-win-support-of-unionists-says-colm-meaney-ahead-of-united-ireland-event-42031514.html Mary Lou McDonald can win unionist support, says Colm Meaney ahead of United Ireland event