Seamus Mallon: Sinn Féin are the wrong people to argue for a united Ireland
Seamus Mallon argues that Sinn Féin will not be able to play a central role in achieving a united Ireland by consent.
The former SDLP deputy leader believes that the past role of the IRA has made it impossible for the republican party to seek agreement with unionists.
“I think the big question for them is this – by their violence for so many years have they played themselves out of the whole process of agreement and consent?
“Have they put themselves in the position where they themselves will be unable to successfully seek that agreement and build up the type of spirit of generosity that is going to be needed?
“I just can’t imagine any of them going with canvass leaflets in their hand to the doors of people (the IRA) killed.
“And that will translate itself into what I would question is their capability of playing a central role in creating Irish unity in the way which the Good Friday Agreement demands."
Mr Mallon said conversations about the north’s future must take place at an everyday level.
“I live here, I lived here all my life,” he said.
“It’s such a natural thing to do.
“I go into the pub once a week and you have all kinds of attitudes.
“You have to have the discussions as if you were sitting at your own fireplace.
“I would hope that Sinn Féin would be able to take that millstone off their necks, but I doubt it.”