Adams told the commemoration that a peaceful revolution was needed to “take control of the Proclamation”.
"Sinn Féin is committed to securing, in the time ahead, a referendum on Irish unity so that each and every one of us, working together, can build a new, dynamic country,” the Sinn Féin president said.
He said that the current build-up to the 1916 centenary next year should act as a catalyst to a national conversation on the issue of partition.
Adams claimed that the proposed referendum “would not be seen as threatening to any section of our community" and that Sinn Féin would appeal directly "to working class unionists and loyalists to examine the economic and social price now being paid for the union.
“Austerity policies imposed by an Eton-educated English elite is no more in the interests of people of the Shankill Road than it is for residents of the Bogside.
"The people of this island, whether urban or rural, from whatever background or tradition, share a common history and our futures are bound together.
"The message of the Proclamation, the symbolism of our national flag and the challenge for republicans today is to unite Orange and Green in equality and mutual respect," he continued.
"All political objectives can now be pursued peacefully and democratically and in mutual respect.
"That is the great success of the peace process."
Adams claims that the current partition of the island of Ireland is impacting the economic status of both north and south saying, "Many people now realize that it makes no sense to have two economies, two education systems, two health systems, two tax codes, two currencies on one small island.
"Partition has retarded and distorted the political, social and economic life of this island."
Adams made the comments at one of a number of 1916 Easter Rising commemorations that took place throughout Ireland on Easter Sunday, the largest of which was on O’Connell Street, Dublin, and was attended by Irish President Michael D. Higgins and Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny.
The call for a referendum came just hours before the broadcast of a rare TV interview with Gerry Adams on CBS network’s “60 Minutes” in which he skirted around answering whether he had “blood on his hands” following his years at the forefront of the Irish republican movement. The interview had already courted controversy as a preview showed Adams commenting that murder of Jean McConville and orphaning of her 10 children was “what happens in war.”
In a separate Easter commemoration at Milltown Cemetery in west Belfast, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly criticized dissident republicans who engaged in terrorism. Kelly spoke of Sinn Féin’s attempts to engage with these small groups opposed to the peace process.
"These small groups are not the IRA. The IRA fought a war against State combatant forces and fought it to a conclusion," he said
"They have no right to carry out armed actions, the vast majority of which are directed against unarmed civilians, in the name of Irish republicanism.
Echoing economic comments by the Sinn Féin President, Kelly added that his party is committed to standing with the public against further cuts to public services.
He said that Sinn Fein ministers are "fighting to protect frontline public services from the worst of Tory cuts" but warned that the "magnitude of these cuts is putting real pressure on public services . It is clear that austerity is the cost of the union and both have failed."
"The Tories have already cut $2.2bn [£1.5bn] out of the public service budget and tried to impose additional cuts on the most vulnerable. Sinn Féin opposed these policies and protected families with children with disabilities, adults with severe disabilities, large families and the long-term sick," he continued.