Gerry Adams repeats call for vote on united Ireland

Taoiseach not keen to have referendum due to the strength of Sinn Féin, Louth TD says

Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has again called for a referendum on a united Ireland. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has again called for a referendum on a united Ireland. File photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

 

Former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has again called for a referendum to be held on a united Ireland, just weeks after Taoiseach Leo Varakdar said such a poll would be “divisive” and a “bad idea”.

Under the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, a referendum can be called if the Northern Ireland secretary believes a majority of citizens no longer want to remain part of the United Kingdom.

Former DUP leader Peter Robinson suggested in June that holding fixed generational polls on Irish unification as a way to stabilise politics in Northern Ireland. However, the ex-first minister said he felt very confident that citizens would choose to stay within the UK.

A recent opinion poll, conducted for former Conservative Party treasurer Lord Ashcroft, found that a majority of voters in Northern Ireland believe that the UK’s vote to leave the EU had made unification with the Republic more likely in the foreseeable future.

Speaking on Sunday at an annual republican commemoration in Mullaghban, Co Armagh, Mr Adams renewed his party’s call for a referendum on Irish unity to be called. The commemoration was for a number of republicans killed during the Troubles.

‘No doubt’

Mr Adams condemned the DUP for their supply and confidence deal with the Conservative Party which props up the UK government.

“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,” he 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.

“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.” - PA