Referendum on a united Ireland a ‘long-term’ goal, says Adams

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has conceded that a referendum on a united Ireland — as allowed under the Good Friday Agreement — is unlikely to take place under the current Dáil term.

At the weekend, his party will launch its campaign for a border poll allowing voters north and south to decide on breaking the north’s link to Britain.

Under the terms of the 1998 agreement, the secretary of state can call a referendum, but only if it is thought there is a likelihood of majority support for a united Ireland. It can only be called once every seven years.

Mr Adams accepted the governments in Britain and Ireland are very unlikely to agree to this now. He said his party would “politically engage to create a climate to allow that to happen” but it was a “long-term” goal.

He said he wants it done in a “therapeutic way” that will persuade unionists “that their best future is in an Ireland that is united”.

While he wants the poll immediately, he accepted a referendum could take place some time between general elections scheduled in 2016 and 2021.

“What we want now is a debate around this matter,” said Mr Adams.

“We want to be able to influence the battle of ideas that’s going on, to show that there is a vision and there is a way of making that vision a reality.”

Asked if this debate would be better framed by a new leader with less baggage, Mr Adams said: “Somebody might and when the time comes for that, they might have their chance. But that time isn’t now.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

More in this Section

Carer grandparents feel taken for granted: study

Kerry driver guilty of crash perjury

Homeless man with trust fund seeks further €4,500

Former hospice chief loses case against ‘Irish Examiner’


You might also like

Breaking Stories

Gardaí appeal for information on cars believed to be used in Eddie Hutch attack

Transatlantic flight diverted to Dublin Airport

David Drumm expected to drop fight against extradition

AGSI says Armed Support Unit will reassign 55 gardaí from frontline duties

Lifestyle

How engaged are the Irish abroad in the upcoming general election

MAKING CENTS: Focus on the rate when shopping for a mortgage

The Survivalist: The Irish sci-fi about to hit the big screen

Chinese New Year: In the year of the monkey

More From The Irish Examiner