The COVID-19 pandemic is more likely to lead to a United Ireland than Brexit was, according to Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald.
McDonald said that the current health crisis "dwarfs Brexit in terms of reflecting the danger of partition" in an interview with the Sunday Times.
She said that the COVID-19 was a greater catalyst for a United Ireland and called an all-island approach to healthcare.
"When Brexit happened, people said this is an accelerant in terms of the unity debate because it was so obvious with the danger to the border," she said to the Sunday Times.
The Sinn Féin leader said that it was wrong for Ireland and Northern Ireland to have an all-island approach to animal care but not human healthcare.
"We have an all-Ireland single policy for animal health but not for public health.
"Everything we do to keep people safe has to be on the understanding we are a single population on a small island and have to look after each other."
McDonald also criticized British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in her interview with the Sunday Times. She said that Johnson's policy of herd immunity made it very difficult for the Northern Irish Government in Stormont to align their policies with the Republic.
She said that it once more highlighted the problem of having two separate health systems on the island of Ireland.
"I think the fact that Boris Johnson and the British Government opted early on for the herd immunity approach meant that Michelle O'Neill [Sinn Féin's leader in Northern Ireland] had to have some pretty tough conversations to get the northern system in tandem with what was happening in the South.
"Yet again, we see how vulnerable we are when we have two jurisdictions, two systems, on the island."
McDonald only recently recovered from the virus after testing positive herself on April 13. She has returned to work in the Dáil where government formation continues to prove to be an issue.
McDonald and Sinn Féin are likely to lead the opposition in the next government with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael set to form a historic coalition.