Belfast Telegraph

Gerry Adams calls for Irish unity referendum - 'We will persist and we will prevail'

By Gareth Cross

Former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has repeated his call for an Irish unity referendum and has said his party will do the utmost to ensure victory in any border poll.

The Louth TD was speaking on Sunday as he addressed the annual republican commemoration at the republican Memorial Garden in Mullaghban, beside Ti Chulainn.

Sinn Fein have repeatedly called for an Irish unity referendum in recent months.

Party leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill said the issue was given renewed prominence following the vote to repeal the Eight Amendment in Ireland.

A number of recent polls have given wildly different predictions on the outcome of any border poll.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his deputy Simon Coveney have said that the time is not right for a border poll and doubted that it would be succesful.

However reports say that Prime Minister Theresa May would not be confident of keeping the union together in the event of a border poll.

Former Northern Ireland First Minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson suggested holding border polls at set intervals to stop them being used as a political tool.

Addressing the republican commemoration Mr Adams spoke on the current crisis in the institutions, Brexit and Sinn Fein’s goal of a referendum on Irish unity.

“The DUP have tied themselves to the English Tories; they embrace Brexit. They continue to deny citizens’ rights enjoyed elsewhere on these islands. But that will all be sorted. Of that there is no doubt," Mr Adams said.

“We can say with certainty that the DUP position is not sustainable. It is for them to come to terms with that.

“Everyone here knows that the Taoiseach’s position on the North, the border and rights is a direct consequence of the strength of Sinn Féin. So we will persist and we will prevail.

The former Sinn Fein President said Mr Varadkar was duty bound to call a referendum under the Good Friday Agreement.

“We also reject Mr Varadkar’s suggestion that a referendum on Irish unity is not desirable at this time. He has a duty to uphold the Good Friday Agreement. He cannot cherry-pick it. So we will continue to look for a referendum and we will do our utmost to win that convincingly," Mr Adams said.

“This is not a task for Sinn Féin alone. All political parties and others who support the Good Friday Agreement and an end to partition should also campaign for this modest step forward.

“How a shared Ireland, an agreed Ireland is created is another matter deserving of careful, generous and positive inclusivity. To begin with we need to understand that many unionists hold to their sense of identity as strongly as we do. So new thinking is needed by us all.

"We are a diverse people. That should be proudly proclaimed and not used to divide us. Ireland is an island – a society – in transition. The future is bright despite the dire threats of Brexit.”

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