Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has called upon Irish-American supporters to begin lobbying for a referendum on the unification of Ireland.
In a recorded conversation with former US congressman Joe Crowley, Mr Adams said that “now is the time for Irish America again,” and that getting support from the US in pushing for a unity vote “is a doable project”.
“There would not be a Good Friday Agreement without Irish America — that is absolutely clear,” he said.
“If [former US President] Bill Clinton had not been persuaded to intervene to overturn what was decades of US foreign policy of accepting the British position, then God knows where we’d be this day.”
In 1994, Mr Clinton overturned a ban that prevented Mr Adams from travelling to the US and granted him a three-day visa.
Irish America “has played a key role in all the big moments in the history of this small island of Ireland, and now it’s your day”, said Mr Adams.
“We now have, thanks to the Good Friday Agreement, a peaceful way to end the union with Britain. I’d like to say to people in Irish America: come forward, lobby, be active, campaign.”
But there was some criticism for Sinn Féin after the party’s leader in the north of Ireland, Michelle O’Neill, admitted she had held a telephone discussion with the Queen of England regarding day-to-day government in the north of Ireland.
In a statement to RTE, she revealed they had discussed a range of matters including the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. She also said that Sinn Féin would promote reconciliation in the current debate on the future of the island.
Ms O’Neill said that in the course of their telephone conversation she “wished [the Queen] well” during these “challenging times”.
DUP leader and Stormont First Minister, Arlene Foster said she also spoke to the English monarch. She said Queen Elizabeth was “entirely up to date with what is happening in Northern Ireland”.
Former republican political prisoner and Blanketman Thomas ‘Dixie’ Elliott criticised the North’s Deputy First Minister for discussing Irish policy matters with the Queen of England.
“By speaking to her in regards to anything about the North, no matter what it might be, they are recognising her claim to rule over this part of Ireland,” he said.
“The most sickening aspect of this is that it occurred on the anniversaries of Hunger Striker Michael Gaughan, 3rd June 1974 and Volunteers Pete Ryan, Lawrence McNally and Tony Doris, 3rd June 1991.”