N. Ireland Politics

SF's John O'Dowd: unity referendum 'trumps agreement'

A senior Sinn Fein politician has said an all-Ireland vote for Irish unity would take precedence over the Good Friday Agreement.

The party's assembly election manifesto - published on Monday - proposes a referendum on unification.

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd told BBC Radio Ulster that this vote would be on an all-island basis.

Asked if a referendum result for unity would be binding despite the Belfast Agreement's requirement for consent in Northern Ireland, Mr O'Dowd said: "An all-island referendum would have precedence.

"The people of Ireland have a right to choose their own destiny. That is my view."

He also stated: "Surely the people who live on the island of Ireland have a right to decide the destiny of what political future and make-up the island of Ireland has."

Mr O'Dowd also said Sinn Fein was not seeking to impose anything on northern unionism and is "building relationships" through political institutions.

He added that its role is to "persuade" unionism that Irish unity is the "best way forward".

In the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, it says it would be "wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people".

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