McDonald says new Government should start preparing for United Ireland referendum

Planning for a referendum on the reunification of Ireland is “imperative”, the leader of Sinn Féin has said.

It comes as new Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced there will be a new “shared Ireland unit” within the Department of the Taoiseach.

He said: “The new Government will move quickly to try to set out to fulfil the vision of the Good Friday Agreement. We will work closely with the democratic institutions in Northern Ireland.

“The new unit will give a renewed push to the agreement to deliver sustained progress of all communities.”

Mary Lou McDonald extended her good wishes to the Mr Martin, but said “the century-old impulse to grab power” has led to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael coming together and does not represent change.

Ms McDonald called for the Government to start planning for a referendum on Irish unity and said it is “imperative” to growing the Irish economy.

No government, not least a government in this period, should ignore the imperative of unity.

“The great national project of reunification is not included in the programme for Government – not a whisper from your Government.

“This is especially concerning during the age of Brexit when the imperative to protect the Good Friday Agreement in all of its parts has never been greater.

“A united Ireland is the best idea for the future of our country. It essential to the prosperity of all our people because growing our economy requires an all-Ireland approach. Protecting our health service requires an all-Ireland approach. Getting ahead of Covid-19 and protecting our people’s health requires an all-Ireland approach.

“No government, not least a government in this period, should ignore the imperative of unity.

“It should be planning for change and planning for reunification and planning for that referendum as per the Good Friday Agreement.”