Lord Adonis’ Brexit whinge amid claim vote will ‘propel’ Sinn Féin and Irish unification

Northern Ireland 'certain' of Sinn Fein Minister says Morris

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Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Sinn Féin and TD in the Republic of Ireland (equivalent of an MP), has said that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) cannot stop change in Northern Ireland. It came as she spoke at the party’s first Ard Fheis — party conference — in two years. She said: “Those who hanker for the past, who disrupt the present and who threaten our future need to realise that there is no going back.”

Ms McDonald told the Irish government that it must start planning and immediately prepare for a referendum on Irish unification.

Before her speech, Michelle O’Neill, Ms McDonald’s deputy leader, said the balance of power in Northern Ireland had shifted irreversibly from unionism.

Their words come in the face of what many claim is a failing part of the Brexit deal between Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Protocol — the part of the Brexit deal that deals with the border issue between the UK and the Republic of Ireland — has stirred controversy ever since coming into force earlier this year.

Its critics claim it creates an artificial border between Britain and Northern Ireland in the Irish Sea.

Lord Andrew Adonis, the Labour peer and ardent Remainer who has on multiple occasions called for a second Brexit referendum, including this year, was present at Sinn Fein’s party conference, according to The Sunday Times, but only in his “capacity as a journalist”.

He has repeatedly argued that the Brexit vote has placed Irish unification firmly on the negotiation table.

Last month, in a tweet characteristic of his Brexit rhetoric, he said: “Johnson and Frost are mulling whether to risk a trade war with the EU, and a deeper crisis in Northern Ireland, by pulling out of the Northern Ireland protocol entirely.

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“Part of their problem is that this would probably propel Sinn Fein to the top in next years Northern Irish elections

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Northern Ireland goes to the polls next May.

Reports suggest those in the country are tired of the DUP and are looking for change.

A poll commissioned in August revealed support for the DUP had plummeted to just 13 percent.

It was overtaken by both the Ulster Unionists and the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV).

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More importantly, the poll also suggested the possibility of a Sinn Féin First Minister for the first time in 20 years after the party found itself soaring on 25 percent.

Ms O’Neill, also deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, said the region was moving towards “new and progressive politics”.

Sinn Féin’s unification rhetoric also appears to be cutting through in the Republic of Ireland.

According to Politico’s Poll of Polls, the party is eight percentage points clear of the ruling Fine Gael.

In a piece for The New European last year, Lord Adonis asserted his claim that the island of Ireland could soon be swept by Sinn Féin, which would weaken the UK as a whole.

He wrote: “Sinn Féin could soon be at the heart of Irish government north and south. It is hard to see how that does not lead, sooner or later, to a referendum on a united Ireland.

“Sinn Féin is no longer regarded by most voters, particularly the young, as a front for terrorism and bitter sectarianism.

“It is on the way to becoming a conventional reformist party of the left.

“Given the esoteric ideological differences between the two traditional Irish parties of government, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, formed from the two sides of the Irish civil war of a century ago, this is a big calling card.”

Meanwhile, speaking at the party conference, Ms McDonald said: “The unionist electoral majority is gone.

“The days of domination are over.

“This new generation is moving on, together.”

She accused the DUP of attempting to “block the change so many people from all communities demand”.

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