Sinn Fein former leader Gerry Adams has called for an immediate date for a united Ireland referendum.

He was speaking at a Republican commemoration. He was also strongly critical of the main unionist party the DUP and their pact with the Tories in England to keep the Conservatives in power.

“The DUP have tied themselves to the English Tories; they embrace Brexit. They continue to deny citizens’ rights enjoyed elsewhere on these islands. But that will all be sorted. Of that there is no doubt," Adams said.

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“We can say with certainty that the DUP position is not sustainable. It is for them to come to terms with that.

“Everyone here knows that the Taoiseach’s position on the North, the border and rights is a direct consequence of the strength of Sinn Féin. So we will persist and we will prevail.

The Irish flag. Credit: iStock

The Irish flag. Credit: iStock

“We also reject (Irish leader) Mr Varadkar’s suggestion that a referendum on Irish unity is not desirable at this time. He has a duty to uphold the Good Friday Agreement. He cannot cherry-pick it. So we will continue to look for a referendum and we will do our utmost to win that convincingly," Mr Adams said.

“This is not a task for Sinn Féin alone. All political parties and others who support the Good Friday Agreement and an end to partition should also campaign for this modest step forward.

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“How a shared Ireland, an agreed Ireland is created is another matter deserving of careful, generous and positive inclusivity. To begin with we need to understand that many unionists hold to their sense of identity as strongly as we do. So new thinking is needed by us all.

"We are a diverse people. That should be proudly proclaimed and not used to divide us. Ireland is an island – a society – in transition. The future is bright despite the dire threats of Brexit.”