Covid-19 and Brexit ‘have made Irish unity part of every day conversation’

Expressing her concern at how Ireland may emerge from the health crisis, Mary-Lou McDonald said work should start towards unification
Covid-19 and Brexit ‘have made Irish unity part of every day conversation’

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald has called for a fresh focus on Irish unity (Brian Lawless/PA)

The coronavirus pandemic and Brexit have made Irish unity part of “every day conversation”, the Sinn Féin president has said.

Expressing her concern at how Ireland may emerge from the health crisis, Mary-Lou McDonald said work should start towards unification.

“Brexit and Covid-19 have made Irish unity part of every day conversation,” she said in an online message.

“Growing our economy, protecting our health service, strengthening our agriculture require an all Ireland approach.

“So now is the time to progress this journey together.”

Mrs McDonald referred to a “critical time” in efforts to control the spread of the virus and blasted “mixed messages” from government causing “huge confusion and anxiety” in people’s lives.

She said the pandemic “hasn’t dampened the appetite for change”, adding “if anything, it has strengthened it”.

“We need a change and fairness like we have never needed them before,” she said.

“Next month’s budget must be the first step to put things right. We must fix housing and healthcare, we must fix education and our economy and we must plan for the reunification of our country.

“That is what I would be focused on if I were Taoiseach.”

Meanwhile an opinion poll commissioned by the Sunday Times has indicated a slight increase in support for Sinn Féin and Fine Gael.

A survey of more than 900 voters over 12 days to last Tuesday found support for Fine Gael is up one point to 30%, support for Sinn Féin is up two points to 32% and support for Fianna Fáil has fallen by one point to 19%.

The general election earlier this year saw Fianna Fáil emerge as the largest party with 38 seats, slightly ahead of Sinn éein with 37 seats while Fine Gael got 35 seats in the Dail.

The Sunday Times poll also indicated that the Greens are down one point to 5%, while Labour remains unchanged at 3%.

The Social Democrats are unchanged at 1%, while Solidarity/People Before Profit also remain at 1%.

Support for Independents is put at 9% – which is also unchanged.

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