Northern Ireland news

Gerry Adams calls on Irish government to reassure northern unionists on unity

Gerry Adams has called on the Irish government to reassure 'Northern Protestants' of the merits of unity

ON the centenary of the Government of Ireland Act, former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has called for the Irish government to do more to remove the border from the island.

Mr Adams also said the taoiseach needed to do more to convince unionists of the merits of a united Ireland.

"What Micheál Martin has to do is to reassure - and we have to do the same thing as Sinn Féin - to reassure those folks in the north, northern Protestants if I can use that term, that their future is secure, that their rights will be protected," he said.

The act, which created a border on the island for the first time, gained royal assent on December 23 1920.

A Northern Ireland parliament was established six months later.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O'Neill also commented on the anniversary, claiming the choice between "inward-looking vision of Brexit Britain or the open inclusive vision of a New Ireland has never been more stark".

"Partition has failed all the people of this island," she said.

"Discrimination and state repression were the lived experience of nationalists and republicans in the northern state for successive generations.

"The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 revoked the Government of Ireland Act and has provided a peaceful democratic pathway to Irish unity.

"This, I believe, will become a reality during this decade of opportunity, where the freedom to choose our own future will be decided by the people on this island alone.

"It is time to begin a planned transition to Irish reunification, and national reconciliation must be at the heart of this transformational process.

"A new national dialogue has already begun about future constitutional change. The Irish government should accept its responsibility to facilitate that discourse."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news