The deputy first minister in Northern Ireland was referring to two elections in the North – for Westminster in May and for Stormont in May 2016 – and the Republic’s national poll due at the latest by spring of 2016.
The Sinn Fein leader called on supporters to back his party in a bid to end the 94-year partition of Ireland.
“These elections give us the opportunity to take more huge strides towards our ultimate goal, to put our struggle on to a new trajectory where the unity of our country and the establishment of the 1916 Republic becomes inevitable,” McGuinness said.
“Every day more and more people across the island are endorsing our vision of a better future and a new nation founded on genuine fairness and equality.”
He repeated a call at a party meeting in Omagh, Co. Tyrone last weekend, for the SDLP to agree an electoral pact with Sinn Fein for May’s Westminster general election.
He said he believed that the SDLP’s rejection of his call last November was a serious political mistake and represented a lost opportunity.
“It demonstrates a lack of strategic vision on the part of the SDLP leadership and is further evidence that they are out of step with the voters and the grassroots,” McGuinness said.
SDLP leader Dr. Alasdair McDonnell in November rejected Sinn Fein’s call for an electoral pact to maximize the number of Nationalist MPs returned to Westminster as “sectarian head-count” politics.
Sinn Fein has five MPs in Westminster, although they don’t take their seats, while the SDLP has three MPs.
McGuinness, looking ahead to the three forthcoming elections, told supporters, “These elections give us the opportunity to take more huge strides towards our ultimate goal, to put our struggle on to a new trajectory where the unity of our country and the establishment of the 1916 Republic become inevitable.”
He said Sinn Fein would play a leading role in commemorating the centenary of the Easter Rising. “But the most fitting tribute we can pay is to realize the Republic envisaged in 1916. We are the only party with the ability and the desire to do that. It is who we are and it is why we do what we do. And our goal is within our grasp,” he added.