SINN FEIN leader Mary Lou McDonald has stressed that the EU should be supportive of Irish reunification.
Speaking to the BBC following her party's emphatic election results over the weekend, McDonald suggested that in light of moves likes Brexit, the European Union's attitude towards the prospect of a United Ireland should be progressive.
"You have Brexit, you have changing demographics, you have the fact that the unionist majority has been lost in the North over the last number of elections, so that is the direction of travel," she said, before adding that it was irresponsible for politicians not to "bury their heads in the sand" on this issue.
"I think the European Union needs to take a stand in respect of Ireland in the say way that it supported the reunification of Germany, in the same way that it has a position on Cyprus, for example, and a positive approach to the reunification of that country.
"I think Ireland is no different."
McDonald went on to say that no matter who ends up forming a government, "change is coming" regarding Irish reunification, and that it had been coming long before the election results were revealed.
"Whoever now makes up the next government, those preparations need to start. And could I also say those on the island of Britain and in London in particular need to start preparing because constitutional change is coming," she said.
"I think it would be correct for our allies and our friends for anybody who cares about this country and our people, it is plain to see that partition and division has been a disaster, and that reunification, reconciliation and good relationships with our next door neighbours is the way forward."