Gerry Adams calls for referendum on border

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has added his voice to those demanding a vote on a united Ireland in the wake of the British EU referendum.

While the UK as a whole opted to back ‘leave’ in Friday’s Brexit referendum, Northern Ireland voted by a margin of 56% to 44% to remain in the EU.

The Louth TD said on Sunday that there is therefore a “democratic imperative” for a referendum on the border.

He called on both the Irish government and the Northern Ireland executive to “uphold the vite of the electorate in the north to remain in the EU.”

“There is now a huge responsibility on the Irish government to think nationally; that is with an all-island view. The government, as a co-equal guarantor of the agreement, also has a responsibility to defend the Good Friday Agreement and its political institutions.

“The British decision also puts at risk the human rights legislation that underpins much of the Agreement and the all-Ireland structures.

“The people in the north voted to remain a part of the EU. English votes threaten to drag it out of the EU. It is imperative that this democratic deficit is challenged.

“Sinn Féin believes that that can best be achieved by the maximum cooperation between the Executive and the government in Dublin upholding the vote of the electorate in the north. In the time ahead, this should include a referendum on the border,” he said.

Following the British EU referendum, Northern Ireland’s Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said a referendum on a united Ireland would not be “justified or helpful” at present.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also said the move could only be invoked if Ms Villiers believed there has been a seismic shift in public opinion.

“There is no such evidence of that,” he said.