Mr Eastwood said he was disappointed that Mary Lou McDonald abandoned her sensible position within 24 hours; this approach by Sinn Féin has done serious damage to the unity project over the years, and they must now recognise more is at stake than merely preaching to the converted.
The MLA for Foyle said: “The SDLP continues to believe that the reunification of Ireland is the biggest and best idea around. As the reality of Brexit draws nearer and clearer, the building of a new and agreed Ireland is becoming more attractive to many sections in society as well as Irish Nationalists.
“Unlike Sinn Fein, the SDLP have always understood that the cause of bringing about reunification will require more thought and commitment than a mere press release every few months, without engagement or the appropriate context to do so. Therefore, it is disappointing to see Sinn Féin move away from this welcomed approach a mere 24 hours later.
“What Sinn Féin has always failed to understand is that a border poll must be based on the practical, not the pre-determined.
“Just as Scottish Independence Campaigners produced a 670-page document outlining the path to independent nationhood, those of us who want to build a new and agreed Ireland must do the same.
“The SDLP whole-heartedly believes that Irish Nationalism is no longer an idea to which we are born into. Conversations across the North over the past two years have revealed that relying on the demographics of the binary split is no longer enough.
“People from all backgrounds are warming to the idea that reunification with one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union is an idea worth hearing out.
“Those of us who want to see Irish unity should stop putting out press releases about a border poll and start working on building the bridges that will enable us to win one when it is called,” added the SDLP leader.