Belfast Telegraph

We must bring together orange and green for Irish unity: Michelle O'Neill

Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill has called for a uniting of orange and green to achieve her party's goal of a united Ireland.

Mrs O'Neill was speaking at the party's special ard fheis in Dublin to elect Mary Lou McDonald as the its new president.

The conference also saw Mid Ulster MLA O'Neill elected to take over from Mrs McDonald as the party's vice president.

In her speech, Mrs O'Neill focused on a number of issues, including the negotiations to restore the Stormont Executive, the reconciliation process and Irish unity.

On Irish unity, Mrs O'Neill committed to push for a referendum on the issue, something she said was a "central part" of the Good Friday Agreement.

"We have to build a mass movement and build momentum for Irish unity – uniting orange and green," she said.

"We must campaign for a referendum, secure a referendum and win a referendum."

"We must face outwards and listen who those who don’t want a united Ireland," she said.

"It is our task to persuade those people, sectors and communities of why it’s in their best economic and political interests to share power across this island."

Mrs O'Neill also said "progress has been made" in talks to restore the Stormont Executive.

"There is no doubt that progress has been made, but there are outstanding issues which remain unresolved," she said.

"We will continue to meet with the DUP and both Governments and will re-engage on Monday and I anticipate that talks will conclude next week.

"I believe that the issues which caused the collapse of Stormont can be resolved with political will and mutual respect."

It is reported that Sinn Fein and the DUP are edging closer to a deal to restore the power-sharing executive.

Sources close to the talks earlier suggested a deal could be done as early as next week.

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