Fresh calls for United Ireland referendum as Sinn Fein TD demands campaign be 'stepped up'

Fresh calls for United Ireland referendum as Sinn Fein TD demands campaign be 'stepped up'

SINN FEIN TD Pearse Doherty has called for the campaign for Irish Unity to be stepped up.

He's urged the Irish government to start discussing the possibility of a United Ireland referendum, saying that such a move would forge a strong relationship between them and the Stormont Executive.

Despite this, Taoiseach Micheal Martin has poured water on the idea, describing the potential poll as "divisive".

Mr Doherty was speaking on Sunday at the National Hunger Strike Commemoration - which was held online this year.

"Now is the time to step up the campaign for Irish unity," he said.

"The Good Friday Agreement, voted for by the people, contains provision for a referendum on Irish unity. Securing that referendum should now be the shared goal of everyone who supports the reunification of this island and its people.

"The discussion on Irish unity is already well under way across the island. Republicans and others who support unity are talking about what Irish unity will look like and how to secure it.

"Even those currently opposed to reunification are talking about it and considering what their place in a united Ireland would be.

“So it simply doesn’t make any sense for those who claim that the time is not right.

"We need to see this new Irish government actively planning for unity. Warm words won’t secure or win a referendum."

The prospect of a referendum on Irish Unity has been a much-debated topic, and was a key talking point during Sinn Fein's 2020 election campaign in Ireland.

Taoiseach Martin has however stressed that his focus is on the new "Shared Island" unit that will seek to build stronger relationships between the north and the Republic, and had distanced himself from any talk of a referendum.