FORMER Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has called for the Irish government to begin planning for Irish unity.

Mrs Adams was speaking at a Sinn Féin event in Dublin on Wednesday night to mark 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement. It comes just one week after Sinn Féin's electoral success in the North's local government election where the party increased its vote by 7.7 per cent, returning 144 councillors – the highest of any party.

Speaking at the Morrison Hotel, Mr Adams said: “There is growing evidence from a succession of elections, academic reports and opinion polls that support for the reunification of Ireland is growing. Last week’s local government election in the North is the latest example of this.

“The Good Friday Agreement created a mechanism for constitutional change through referendums. It was overwhelmingly endorsed in referendums North and South.

“There is a constitutional obligation on the Irish government – including as a co-guarantor of the Agreement – to advance the objective of unity. That means planning now and engaging in a process of inclusive dialogue that ensures that the process of constitutional change is democratic and seamless. 

“The Irish government should establish a Citizen’s Assembly to begin the work of planning. It should agree with the British government a firm date for the unity referendum provided for by the Good Friday Agreement.

“I am not suggesting that this should take place immediately but the Irish Government should seek a date now which allows for inclusive preparation to begin. And that preparatory work should start now.”