Border poll 'I want the island of Ireland to be reunified' - James McClean calls for a vote to end partition
Republic of Ireland midfielder James McClean has called for a united Ireland in an impassioned article saying: "I can captain my country, but I still can’t vote for my country’s President."
McClean has never held back from expressing his views on political issues, with the Derry native regularly on the receiving end of social media abuse as a result.
Now he has written a lengthy argument in favour of a united Ireland, as he suggested "partition is rife with failures and contradictions" as he spoke from the heart.
"I can captain my country, but I still can’t vote for my country’s President," he wrote. "I can represent the FAI (Football Association of Ireland) at home and abroad, but I can’t have any democratic say in the make up of the government that funds it.
"Partition is rife with such failures and contradictions. To me, it simply doesn’t make sense to have two ‘national’ football teams on an island this size never mind two health systems, two education systems and two governments.
"As an Irish man and an Irish citizen, I want the island of Ireland to be reunified under a government for all our people.
"I don’t want to have any technicalities, caveats or doubts questioning my nationality. And I strongly believe that everyone who lives on this island should be entitled to the same rights as each other.
"The best way to achieve all of that is through the reunification of our island and the creation of a new all-Ireland administration that governs in the best interests of the people."
The Irish international's article was commissioned by the lobby group 'Think 32' and published in the Derry News.
McClean received more vile social media messages after it was confirmed earlier this week that he had contracted Covid-19, with his detractors not missing their chance to throw some abuse in his direction.
Yet he appears to be determined to continue to fight his corner, as he ended his column with words of defiance.
"At the end of the day, all we are asking for is the right to choose our own future through a referendum on Irish unity. That’s democracy and what has anyone got to be afraid of in that?
"I want my children to grow up in a better country than the one I and generations before me, grew up in. "Surely that is what all parents want.
"I am convinced that a better Ireland is possible through reunification. So let’s have the debate. Let’s have the vote.
"And let’s win it!"