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O'Neill: Irish unity is back on agenda due to Brexit

By Adrian Rutherford

Brexit has put Irish unity back on the agenda, Sinn Fein's Stormont leader has warned.

Michelle O'Neill said the UK's impending divorce from the EU would dramatically change Ireland's political landscape.

Accusing the Westminster government of driving a "reckless" Brexit agenda, she said it had the potential to jeopardise the Good Friday peace accord and the island's political and economic stability.

Her warning came as she delivered the annual oration at Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin yesterday on the 101st anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Ms O'Neill said: "The Brexit referendum result has swept away many of the previous political assumptions about the constitutional, political and economic status quo in Ireland.

"Ireland's political landscape, north and south, will change dramatically - and this poses a severe threat to the Good Friday Agreement and the political and economic future of the island.

"This has brought the issue of Irish reunification firmly back on to the political agenda."

Although the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU in last June's referendum, Northern Ireland opted to remain by a majority of 56% to 44%.

Ms O'Neill added: "The people of the North clearly voted to see their future in the European Union in the referendum last June."

She added: "They did so not because the EU is such a great institution, but because it is in their best interests politically, socially and economically, and because they did not want to see any strengthening of the border in Ireland. The British government's reckless Brexit agenda offers nothing to the people of the North who are being dragged out against our will."

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