Mary Lou McDonald says partition is the "root" of the "politics that gave us the Magdalene Laundries".
The Sinn Féin president has reiterated her call for Irish reunification, releasing a statement on Easter Sunday calling on political leadership to "show an ambition that matches the hope of a generation rising up" and prepare for Irish Unity.
In an address delivered at Sinn Féin's online National Easter Commemoration, she said "the legacy of the 1916 rebels bears witness in the Ireland of today."
"We see the broken politics of partition every day," Ms McDonald said.
Ms McDonald said partition is at the "root" of "the politics that gave us the Magdalene Laundries, industrial schools, mass emigration, fostered by a political class that desperately clings to past and to power."
"People’s entire lives defined by the search for a home they can afford, by the struggle to access treatments when they are sick, working long hours and still not making ends meet, younger people starved of opportunity, and rural towns and villages left behind."
Ms McDonald added "unity is being talked about in every corner of our island" and it "would be unforgivable, to emerge from this pandemic and not seize the opportunity to prepare for unity".
Most of the annual commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising will be held virtually due to Covid-19, however, there were two non-public events – one at Áras an Uachtaráin and one at the GPO in O'Connell Street led by President Michael D Higgins.
The President laid a wreath and rang the Peace Bell, installed in 2008 to mark the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, to begin the ceremony at Áras an Uachtaráin.
In the inner courtyard of the GPO, Taoiseach Micheál Martin oversaw a military ceremony, music, prayers and a performance of the National Anthem by soprano Claudia Boyle.