Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson has dismissed calls for a referendum on Irish unity, claiming that the majority of Catholics and Protestants in the North wish to remain within the United Kingdom.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, Robinson told the Democratic Unionist Party conference that his party is standing on the verge of a defining period for unionism.

'The siege has lifted, the Troubles as we knew them are over, and the constitutional debate has been won,' Robinson declared.

Robinson, 63, added that the majority across both communities in Northern Ireland support its constitutional position within the UK.

'They know they are better off with Britain,' Robinson said as he dismissed calls for a referendum on the Irish border, claiming it would not be the right thing to do despite his great confidence in the outcome.

Robinson then insisted that the DUP, which has a reputation for religious fundamentalism, had to be relevant to the modern world and must move with the times.

'My goal as leader is to lay the groundwork that will cement our place within the Union. If that means taking tough decisions or abandoning out-dated dogmas, then I'll do it,' Robinson warned.

Robinson added that his aim was to focus on a vision of hope, progress, optimism and accomplishment for the future.

Unionists, Robinson insisted, had to accept that power sharing with Sinn Fein has increased support for what he called the constitutional status quo in Northern Ireland.

'Some people still wonder, after all that has happened, how we can work with Sinn Fein,' he added. 'The answer's simple: it's really not about us; it's about making life better for the people we represent. It's not always easy, but it's absolutely the right thing to do.'