NUI Galway students will join with students from Trinity College Dublin and UCD in holding referenda on whether or not the three university's students' unions should support a United Ireland.
The vote in NUIG takes place this Thursday [March 2] while the UCD vote will be on March 7 and 8. Coincidentally, the referenda will fall either side of the 150th anniversary of the Fenian rebellion of March 5 1867, the the movement's declaration of an Irish Republic. No date has been set for the TCD vote, and it is understood that UCC may also hold a referendum on this issue.
The vote in Galway was secured after the D’Arcy/Mellows Sinn Féin cumann at NUIG collected the required signatures in order to facilitate the vote. If passed, the NUIG SU would then have to adopt a clear position of support for Irish re-unification and be obliged to actively campaign on this issue.
Sinn Féin Galway City East councillor Mairéad Farrell has welcomed this week's referendum and is encouraging students to support the call for Irish unity.
“The partition of Ireland since 1922 has had a detrimental effect on the economic, social and cultural development of this island. Accepted political trends are being challenged across the world and now, more than ever, new ideas and initiatives are needed," she said. "I believe the debate on Irish unity urgently requires the active involvement of young people and their representative organisations. If we are to build a 32-county Ireland socially and culturally progressive with economic equality at its core, everyone needs to be part of that discussion.”