The North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said that Sinn Fein aims to become the largest party in Ireland North and South by 2016.

Addressing his party’s annual ardfheis in Derry on Thursday, McGuinness said the people of Ireland would be able to “endorse that vision” in the general election in the South and in the Assembly elections next May, reports the Irish Times.

“The symbolism of doing so on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising will be absolutely massive,” he said.

“Much has been said already about the prospects of Sinn Féin emerging as the biggest party following the Dáil election.

That is certainly our goal,” he added. “But it is also our goal to become the biggest party in the North at the 2016 Assembly elections. Both those goals are achievable.”

McGuinness told the conference that theirs was the only party that was serious about building the kind of nation which was declared in 1916.

He said: “A just nation. A fair nation. A nation that cherishes all of her children equally, regardless of colour or creed. That is what we stand for. That is what more and more people across this island are endorsing every day.”