United Ireland referendum to happen 'in next five years' - according to Sinn Fein deputy leader
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United Ireland referendum to happen 'in next five years' - according to Sinn Fein deputy leader

SINN FEIN deputy leader Michelle O'Neill says the country should expect a referendum on a united Ireland within the next five years.

Speaking at her party's public rally in Dublin’s Liberty Hall on Tuesday evening, O'Neill slated rival party leaders Leo Varadkar and Michael Martin for having "done nothing" to prepare the nation for what Sinn Fein believe to be an inevitable vote.

"Change is coming," she said in front of hundreds of supporters who gathered in the Irish capital.

"I have no doubt in my mind that in the immediate future we will be voting in a border poll.

"Our party position is that there should be a unity referendum in the next five years as that gives us time to plan. There has to be preparation and we have to give people information.

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"It is an inevitable position that we are all in."

Last night marked the second of five rallies planned by Sinn Fein in a bid to gain public support as negotiations between parties to form a new government rumble on.

Both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have said they're unwilling to do a deal with Mary Lou McDonald's party, so Sinn Fein have decided to jump back on the camping trail instead.

Though no party secured a majority in the general election earlier this month, Sinn Fein won the popular vote and labelled the results a significant victory.

Whether they're able to secure a place for themselves in the 33rd Dail or not, Sinn Fein members believe that a united Ireland referendum is all but assured.

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"The new Ireland we want to live in is not just for republicans or nationalists - it has to be for every single person who shares this island," added O'Neill.

"There is nothing to fear from it, it is actually something better."

"Leo [Varadkar] and Micheál [Martin] purport to be united Irelanders. Well, they have done nothing about it. Not one thing about it. So that is why it is time to plan for the future and change."