A referendum on a united Ireland will be a major part of the Sinn Fein strategy going forward, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told an American audience last night.
Putting the united Ireland issue to a referendum test would help mobilise support for the issue over the long run, Adams said, and he stated he believed there was major backing.
He cited the issue of Scotland where a similar referendum is planned and stated that the United Kingdom was in imminent danger of break-up.
Over 600 students and interested Irish Americans gathered at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut to hear Adams on Tuesday night.
Adams was in town to help celebrate the opening of the new Great Hunger museum on campus and he referred to the harsh times that emigrants fleeing the Famine faced when they arrived in America.
He talked of a bridge in Donegal entitled the “bridge of tears,” so called because young men and women crossing that bridge which led to the emigrant boat knew they would never come back.
He stated that what the Irish emigrants faced when they landed in Canada and the U.S was unbelievable today.
But he stated that what the Irish endured and lived through during the Famine proved that “we are no mean people” he said.
He stated that the support for Irish freedom in America from the Fenians, through the 1916 Rising right down to the present day, was a vital part of Irish history.
He stated that the move to have President Bill Clinton involved had come from Irish America and that it had changed the American perspective for ever.
The decision to grant him a visa to come to the U.S. in 1994 had overturned hundreds of years of British and American agreement that Ireland was a wholly British issue to deal with.
He stated that the current financial crisis was caused by bankers and developers who had almost bankrupted the country. Sinn Fein was the only party prepared to stand up for the little guy he stated.