Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has called on the Irish and British governments to end their denial and to start planning for Irish unity.
Her comments follow the broadcast of a BBC Spotlight programme tonight.
Teachta McDonald said:
“The Good Friday Agreement expressly provides for referenda on Irish unity to be held north and south.
“Both the Irish and British governments are bound to uphold the Agreement.
“Dismissive rhetoric does not – and cannot – take from their obligations.
“The British Prime Minister Boris Johnston has no right to stand in the way of progress and orderly constitutional change in Ireland. His comments on this evening’s Spotlight programme are arrogant and unacceptable.
“There is now a live and growing conversation underway about Irish unity and the benefits it will bring to the people of Ireland, north and south. Vibrant and inclusive conversations are taking place in communities across the island.
“Brexit and Covid-19 have each exposed the very real dangers of having two jurisdictions on our small island. Through Irish unity, we have an exciting opportunity to build an economically strong and diverse country that reconciles past divisions and looks to the future.
“The Irish government can no longer bury their heads in the sand. Failing to plan for constitutional change at this critical juncture represents a dereliction of duty.
“The Taoiseach’s continued refusal to accept this reality is reckless.
“The responsible and necessary approach is to now engage in discussions and dialogue, and to plan for change.
“Immediate steps that should be taken include the commissioning of a government White Paper on Irish Unity, the establishment of an Oireachtas Committee on Irish Unity, the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the convening of a Citizens’ Assembly on Irish reunification.
“Unity represents an opportunity to bring all of our people together to build a new Ireland. We believe that can happen within the next five years. Preparation for unity is urgent and must begin now.”