Northern Ireland

Gerry Adams: Council results further proof of growing support for Irish unity

Former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams (Liam McBurney/PA).
Former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams (Liam McBurney/PA). Former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams (Liam McBurney/PA).

FORMER Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has said the north's recent council election results are more proof that support for Irish unification is growing, and called for Dublin to begin plans for a border poll.

Mr Adams said Sinn Féin emerging as the largest party following last week's election, with 144 council seats, is "the latest example" of evidence pointing to growth in support of unity.

The former West Belfast MP and Louth TD made his comments on Wednesday during a Sinn Féin event in Dublin to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

The event at the Morrison Hotel, titled 'The Good Friday Agreement - The Inside Story', was also attended by current Sinn Féin president and vice president, Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill.

“The Irish people have the right to self-determination. We have the right to determine our own future, without outside interference, peacefully and democratically. That is a central part of the Good Friday Agreement," Mr Adams said.

“There is growing evidence from a succession of elections, academic reports and opinion polls that support for the reunification of Ireland is growing. Last week’s local government election in the north is the latest example of this.

“The Good Friday Agreement created a mechanism for constitutional change through referendums. It was overwhelmingly endorsed in referendums north and south.

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“There is a constitutional obligation on the Irish government – including as a co-guarantor of the Agreement - to advance the objective of unity. That means planning now and engaging in a process of inclusive dialogue that ensures that the process of constitutional change is democratic and seamless."

Mr Adams said the Irish government should establish a Cotizens Assembly on unity, adding Dublin "should agree with the British government a firm date for the unity referendum provided for by the Good Friday Agreement".

“I am not suggesting that this should take place immediately but the Irish Government should seek a date now which allows for inclusive preparation to begin. And that preparatory work should start now," Mr Adams said.