Robinson enters independence debate
Published 13/01/2012 | 17:22
Northern Ireland should not sit idly by in the debate over Scotland's future, First Minister Peter Robinson has insisted.
The Democratic Unionist leader said any decision on independence was for the Scottish people alone to make, but others who wanted them to remain in the union should make that clear.
"While we recognise that clearly this must be a decision for the people of Scotland to take on their own, it has clear implications for the rest of the United Kingdom," he said.
"I speak as a unionist, but also as an Ulster Scot, and clearly I have a massive interest in what happens and what decision the people of Scotland will take."
Mr Robinson said many people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland feel Scotland has a very valuable contribution to make to the UK as a whole.
"We would want to see them continue to do that. We cherish the relationship that we have," he said.
Speaking at the British Irish Council summit in Dublin, Stormont's First Minister said nowhere else in the UK were those bonds felt more tightly than across the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
"Our peoples have moved from one side of that small stretch of water to the other and back again many times over the centuries," he said.
"So we have a massive interest and I don't think we can sit idly by and simply indicate that it's a matter for Scotland - it will have implications for us all."
Mr Robinson added: "We hope that Scotland will know just how much we want Edinburgh to remain within the United Kingdom."