A referendum on whether Northern Ireland should leave the United Kingdom will take place within the next 10 years, according to Michelle O’Neill.
The Sinn Fein vice-president made the prediction as she became the province’s first republican first minister.
She officially took up the role as the Stormont Assembly finally sat for the first time in two years.
In an interview to be shown on Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips on Sky News, O’Neill was asked whether she “anticipates a referendum on Irish unity
within the next ten years”.
She replied: “Yes. I believe we’re in a decade of opportunity. And there are so
many things that are changing all the old norms, the nature of the state, the fact that a nationalist republican was never supposed to be first minister. This all speaks to that change.”
Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland must hold a so-called border poll if it appears likely that there would be a majority in favour of a united Ireland.
However, the deal struck last week between the UK government and the unionist DUP to restore power-sharing at Stormont suggested that such a referendum is still decades away.