Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has told supporters at an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the party that “we will see a united Ireland in our lifetime”.
Speaking to over a thousand supporters in the City West Hotel in Dublin, the West Belfast MP said the move by the Provisional IRA to end its armed struggle had transformed the political landscape.
But he urged republicans to work with unionists in order to achieve their goal.
Mr Adams said: “The type of Ireland we want to create involves the coming together of Orange and Green on the basis of equality and respect.
“Republicanism is about much more than re-uniting Ireland. Republicanism is about equality. There is now the wealth in this state to make that a reality.”
The Sinn Féin leader claimed nationalists in the North of Ireland were no longer so-called second class citizens.
“Republicanism is stronger than at any time in recent memory,” he claimed. “We are moving forward with confidence and I believe that if we work together we will see a united Ireland in our lifetime.”
Mr Adams has previously suggested a united Ireland could be secured by the year 2016, the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. He said the move by the Provisional IRA’s unilateral peace moves was beginning to yield political gains.
“Even though the IRA initiative of formally ending its campaign and putting arms beyond use occurred only a few months ago already a debate has started within unionism,” he said.
“This may take some time to play out but it is positive nonetheless.
“And in the 26 counties the other political parties are facing up to the reality that the political landscape is being transformed. The old political certainties are being challenged.”
To achieve a united Ireland all strands of Irish nationalism, republicanism and the labour movement must come together, he stressed.
Mr Adams added: “Those of us who want to see an end to British rule and the establishment of the republic need to build new alliances, to devise and develop new strategies and shared positions and to drive forward the united Ireland agenda in the time ahead. “A key part of this must be a genuine engagement with the unionist community.”