Belfast Telegraph

Adams 'wheeled out' to deflect from poor Sinn Fein election results, says DUP over Irish unity plan call

Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams

The DUP has accused Sinn Fein of "resurrecting and wheeling out" former party president Gerry Adams to deflect from their recent poor election results.

Mr Adams said Irish unity shouldn't be rushed into without a plan in a blog post and lessons needed to be learned from Brexit.

"His comments are more to do with saving face after a bad SF electoral cycle than actually delivering a united Ireland," said East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson.

However Mr Robinson said the comments were simply a response to Sinn Fein being "battered and bruised at elections in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland".

He pointed to the 2018 Irish Presidential election where the Sinn Fein vote dropped from 13% in 2011 to 6% in 2018 with 150k votes lost.

Mr Robinson also cited the Northern Ireland European elections where Martina Anderson "went from being elected first in 2014 to being elected last and losing over 30k votes".

The East Belfast MP said that worst of all was the recent elections in the Republic of Ireland where the party "lost 50% of their councillors and 50% of their MEPs".

Mr Robinson said while unionists shouldn't be complacent about promoting the union, they equally shouldn't be spooked by a "blog post" from Gerry Adams.

He said Gerry Adams would be better off using his influence within the party to encourage it to return to power sharing at Stormont.

Sinn Fein MLA Caomihe Archibald rejected Mr Robinson's comments saying demand for a referendum on Irish unity was growing.

Gavin Robinson
Gavin Robinson

“There will be a referendum on Irish Unity. To win that referendum we need to plan and there needs to be a dialogue right across society north and south," the East Londonderry MLA said.

“The Irish government needs to open up consultations on how this might be done.

“If Gavin Robinson is sincere about re-establishing political institutions in the north and dealing with public services then he should urge his colleagues to end their blockade on rights enjoyed by citizens everywhere else in these islands.”

Meanwhile, SDLP Colum Eastwood said he was "glad to hear" Sinn Fein had adopted a position he had held for some time.

The Foyle MLA was heavily criticised by Sinn Fein after saying there was a "special place in hell" for those who campaign for a united Ireland without a plan in place.

“It has taken time, as these things often do, but I’m glad that Sinn Fein leaders are now coming to the SDLP position," Mr Eastwood said.

Colum Eastwood
Colum Eastwood

The SDLP leader said the whole of the UK and Ireland was in a sate of political flux and that now was the time to "build a coalition for change".

Pointing to the work done by Scottish independence campaigners Mr Eastwood said that Irish nationalists must begin to work towards a new Ireland.

He proposed the re-establishment of the new Ireland forum to "produce a blueprint for unity".

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