Sinn Féin Chairwoman Mary Lou McDonald said she believes a referendum on Irish reunification could take place within the next five years.
He spoke for the first time to a nationalist First Minister at Stormont, as Sinn Féin poised to become the largest party in Northern Ireland.
Ms McDonald said the partition had been “disastrous” and that there would be constitutional change on the island of Ireland within the next decade.
“We believe that Irish unity is the best plan and greatest opportunity for all of us who live on this island. The partition was disastrous, provoking conflict and endless trouble, but it must be done in a planned, orderly, democratic and entirely peaceful manner,” she told The News Desk on Talk TV.
“So, I would say that first and foremost, we need to start planning for the shift that is coming, and that needs to involve us all.”
Asked when she would like to see a referendum in the north and one in the south, McDonald said within the next decade, adding that she believed it was possible “within five years”.
“But more importantly, I believe the preparation must start now.”
Counting resumed this morning in the Northern Ireland general election with some seats still to be filled. 47 of the 90 seats had been declared by the end of the game on Friday night.
Sinn Fein currently has 18 seats and also won the battle for the largest share of the vote with 250,388 initial preferences versus 184,002 for the DUP and 116,681 for the Alliance party.
That means it received 29 percent of the preferential votes, compared to 21.3 percent for the DUP, 13.5 percent for Alliance, 11.2 percent for the UUP and 9.1 percent for the SDLP.
Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill was elected in Mid Ulster at the first count, while Alliance leader Naomi Long led the poll in East Belfast. Ms McDonald said it was a “big message of equality and progress”.
Ms McDonald said any changes unionists want to the Northern Ireland Protocol will be negotiated between the London government and the European institutions.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey was elected at the first count in the Lagan Valley.
After his election, he personally challenged Boris Johnson to raise outstanding issues surrounding the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol, which unionists oppose because it creates economic barriers between the region and the rest of the UK.
He said: “I recognize that we have our differences, particularly over protocol, but I think we all accept that this is an issue that needs to be addressed and the sooner it is addressed the better for.” all of us.”
Ms McDonald added that Brexit was a “bad idea” and potentially “disastrous” for Ireland.
“I hate to say we told you, but we told you, Brexit was a bad idea and Brexit was potentially disastrous for Ireland,” she said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/united-ireland-referendum-within-a-five-year-timeframe-mary-lou-mcdonald-41624542.html UK referendum within “five years” – Mary Lou McDonald