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Gerry Adams: Republic must now move towards referendum

By Noel McAdam

Published 19/07/2016

Gerry Adams has urged Taoiseach Enda Kenny to move towards a referendum in the Republic on a united Ireland.

The Sinn Fein president attempted to inject momentum in the proposal following comments from Irish Opposition leader Micheal Martin that majority support in Northern Ireland to remain in the EU could increase support for reunification.

If so, the Fianna Fail leader said "we should trigger a reunification referendum".

He added: "However, at this moment the only evidence we have is that the majority of people in NI want to maintain open borders and a single market with this jurisdiction, and beyond that with the rest of Europe."

Mr Adams said: "There is now an opening to examine new relationships for everyone who lives on the island of Ireland and we should seize that opportunity.

"I have written to the Taoiseach today to move this process forward. It is incumbent on all of us who aspire to a united Ireland to become persuaders for a referendum, and I hope he will join with Sinn Fein and others in that endeavour.

"Given Fianna Fail's recognition of the Scottish vote to remain in the EU, I am glad Micheal Martin has come around to the view that the vote in the north should also be acknowledged and respected."

In a speech at the Glenties summer school, Mr Martin also said he believed there should be a "national conversation" to discuss the implications of Brexit which could go ahead without DUP support. He argued that the Dail should convene a "national dialogue" or "civil dialogue" involving workers, business organisations, non-governmental organisations and community groupings.

It would be a different body from the so-called 'all-island' forum that was shot down by Arlene Foster at the North-South Ministerial Council earlier this month. Mr Martin said: "That was a mistake, that was wrong."

But DUP MP Ian Paisley responded: "It would be hugely arrogant to proceed without us. Back to the bad old days by FF."

Meanwhile, it emerged that Prime Minister Theresa May intends to visit Northern Ireland "soon". Downing Street said the plans would be announced nearer the time.

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