Commenting on the AE17 results, Republican Network for Unity’s National Chairperson Stephen McCourt has called for a realignment of republicanism and the avenue of republican unity to be fully explored.

Mr McCourt said:

“Unusual election results, usual analysis; The Stormont project has been a failure from its inception. All it has to offer is a bulwark between the Irish people and Ireland’s reunification. While the turnout may be higher than previous years, the result will inevitably be the same. However, in the wake of these results Irish republicans must give serious thought to the future and begin to ask how we can really challenge the status quo.

“Republicans have a few immediate tasks at hand in order to influence national debate, galvanise support from the discontented and provide a vessel for those seeking an end to partition. We need to begin a process of working together – factionalism and protesting in isolation is allowing Stormont to dominate the narrative. We need to create a movement capable of providing a clear strategy for Irish unity, while simultaneously improving the lives and prospects of the Irish people. We also need to find a suitable mechanism for challenging the State and exerting our influence over major debates e.g Brexit.

“For centuries republicans have provided an outlet for the Irish people who sought to remove occupation and subjugation. However, our failure now is trying to provide many vehicles, each with different parts of the engine, none able to drive without the rest. Autonomy, diversity and identity are important, all of them should be maintained and fostered, but the AE17 results show that republicans need to forge together and move forward with an agreed and overarching national strategy. At the very least the conversation must be started.”