BERTIE AHERN believes a united Ireland is achievable and that a referendum on the subject could be held on the 30th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
The former Taoiseach played a key role in the negotiations that went into the 1998 deal.
That agreement brought an end of 30 years of violence and unrest in Northern Ireland.
Speaking to La Repubblica, the ex-premier said more should be made of the institutions for political cooperation across Ireland that were established as part of the agreement.
However, Ahern added that there is unlikely to be a referendum on the subject of Irish unity any time soon.
“It can be done in the long term,” he said.
“It’s not going to be this decade, the vote should be the end of next decade, maybe on the 30th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The only way it can happen is if the nationalist people, the Republican people and all the people in the South and the Republican Ireland can convince our unionist friends that this is the best thing for the whole island.”
Ahern’s predictions come just two weeks after Micheál Martin dismissed the notion of holding a vote on a whether there should be a United Ireland.
"I don't foresee a border poll certainly over the next number of years, not during the lifetime of this government," he told France24.