Sinn Fein President, Mary Lou McDonald spoke at the Brexit conference organised at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast yesterday;
It is our job as leaders – each and every one of us – to now manage the evolving process of change with care, patience and generosity.
To those that say, ‘now is not the time for unity’, I say otherwise.
History is unfolding. The next chapter is being written.
Now is the time.
The biggest mistake – and most reckless course of action – is for leaders to set their face against the inevitable and to try to deny the people their democratic right to define their future.
It is irresponsible and arrogant for a Dublin government to shout down any prospect of a unity referendum.
The responsible thing to do is to play a part in shaping change and engage in the debate that is underway.
I want to, again, challenge the government in Dublin to convene a forum to begin the planning for Irish unity.
And for the avoidance of any doubt, let me say there is no contradiction in seeking the establishment of a functioning Assembly and an Executive, and calling for a unity referendum.
Both are grounded in the Good Friday Agreement.
It is not a case of either/or.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs