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Support Irish unity: Sinn Fein president

Irish Opposition Leader Mary Lou McDonald has called on Australia to support reunification of the island.

In an address to the Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, the president of the republican political party Sinn Fein said all democratic nations should back the push for Northern Ireland to leave the UK.

“I believe that … Australian leaders should advocate for the final leg, the logical leg of the peace journey in Ireland and that is reunification,” she said.

“I wouldn’t presume to say to your new prime minister what he should do or how he should articulate that, but I would hope in a bipartisan way … there would be an understanding and a tacit support for the Irish cause.”

Ireland was divided into two separate regions in 1921.

Ms McDonald threw her support behind a trade deal between Australia and the European Union, saying it “makes sense” for it to proceed without delay.

But she said a provision for climate change action was needed for any agreement with the economic bloc.

“We have to have our eye on the climate ball as well, that’s the truth,” she said.

“Those are the caveats that need to get built into any trading arrangement between Australia and the EU.”

Negotiations for a deal have been fast tracked after they previously stalled due to anger over the former Morrison government’s dumping of a $90 billion French submarine contract, and the perceived inaction on climate change by Australia.

Ms McDonald travelled to the nation’s capital from Perth, where she had visited in a bid to get Irish workers home. A large number reside in Western Australia to help fill the state’s labour shortage.

She drew upon the Irish heritage which many Australians claim, and made an impassioned plea for her country’s expats to return home and contribute to nation building.

Acknowledging First Nations people at the start of her address, Ms McDonald also quoted an Indigenous proverb that spoke about life as a learning journey.

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