The below opinion piece is from Joe Matthews, an activist with Yes for Unity.
The last 3 years have seen political turmoil, instability and anxiousness brought on by the great unknowns, minority governments and the collapse of Stormont.
Now, whether we like it or not, Brexit is happening, Stormont is back up and running (for now) and the tories have a huge & dangerous Westminster majority.
For many, they believed Irish Unity was simply an anti-brexit protest voice. The mere building of a bargaining chip for Brexit negotiations.
As an Irish Unity campaigner, I feel betrayed by Nationalist parties for not getting Irish Unity on the Stormont Agenda, especially after their public and doorstep election promises since 2016.
That lack of confidence in mainstream political parties in this regard extends to the upcoming Irish General election.
But even through that disappointment, a strong confidence and momentum still exists within the Irish Unity community.
Last year, a connection, dare I say a comradeship developed amongst various groups and people within the wider campaign.
While we all have our political differences, a high level of respect and tolerance has grown. Together we all make up the Irish Unity community.
As a Republican Socialist, opponent of the Good Friday Agreement and euro-sceptic, I have shared rooms and platforms with people who are all the opposite.
The entire Irish Unity community with all its different strands and denominations have all came to the mutual agreement and understanding that we must deliver a peaceful, democratic and non-party political campaign and transition to Unity.
This was summed up at the end of 2019, with the successful March for Irish Unity that took place in Strabane/Lifford.
A symbolic and unified demonstration, a true indication and projection of what has only just begun.
What we have learnt more than ever over the past few years is that the Irish Unity campaign cannot belong to any political party or Irish Unity group.
While undoubtedly political parties will play a pivotal role in the debate and use their mandate and resources to apply constitutional pressures where needed, the simple fact remains.
Irish Unity belongs to us all, but more importantly it must belong to our communities. The objective will not be won unless we can give our communities a clear and concise image of a positive & progressive future.
A future of socio-economic fairness, a future of a sustainable environment, a future of political accountability and a future of true equality for all our citizens.
We need to redouble our efforts in ensuring working class people are not just heard, are not just used as a mandate but ensure their needs are met, and more importantly are self empowered, politically educated and organised to hold that to account.
Irish Unity has the potential to do all this; to deliver a political grassroots focused energy deep within our communities that when fully harnessed can lead to true, incorruptible change and socio-economic liberation.
While Brexit was and is a power boost for the Irish Unity campaign, we cannot let the momentum slow.
We now have the opportunity and breathing space to really begin building a solid Irish Unity foundation within our communities. A foundation that can never be unearthed.
I look forward to this decade and the opportunities it can and will deliver.
Brexit or no Brexit, we have only just begun…