Adams calls for Union case to be put forward


Unionists must put forward an alternative to a united Ireland, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams claimed today.

As his party's representatives in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Dáil held their first joint meeting at Stormont, Mr Adams said republicans were confident that "thinking unionists will come round to their vision" of a united Ireland.

"Otherwise, we wouldn't be here at Stormont," the West Belfast MP said. "But you know, maybe they have an alternative? Let's hear the argument for the Union. Let's hear the argument for the British connection being maintained.

"All we are asking is the right to put the argument for all of the people - nationalists, unionists, loyalists, republicans - coming together and shaping out whatever sort of island we want for ourselves free of the British jurisdiction.

"So, it's a battle of ideas and I think that increasingly, despite what is happening on the streets and despite all the other difficulties, people are starting to look forward and I would like to think that unionists who are genuine about their politics will be prepared to come forward and argue the future out with us," he said.

Mr Adams was commenting hours after another leading Sinn Féin figure urged unionists to join republicans in shaping an agreed united Ireland.

Party chairman Mr Mitchel McLaughlin claimed Irish unity was inevitable and called on unionists to engage with them.

The Foyle MLA said: "I think there is a growing acceptance that we are inexorably moving towards unity. David Trimble's comments in March calling for a referendum on the border are a reflection of that debate".