Belfast Telegraph

Scottish Referendum: Wait and see the outcome before dealing with any implications, says Martin McGuinness

By Noel McAdam

The Northern Ireland Assembly must wait for the verdict of the Scottish Referendum before dealing with its aftermath, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has told MLAs.

Asked at Stormont whether he and First Minister Peter Robinson had taken a view on the implications of the vote in just nine days' time for the British-Irish Council, the Sinn Fein figure said he would wait for the poll result.

The SDLP's Alban Maginness also asked: "I understand the position that there have not been any discussions to date, but, in the event of a result one way or the other, is it not incumbent on the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to enter into discussions with the Edinburgh Government on the outcome, because there are going to be implications no matter what way the vote goes?"

Mr McGuinness said he would await the outcome of the referendum before examining the implications if the vote goes in favour of independence. While Scottish independence would have profound implications, he told the Chamber he had quite consciously stayed out of any debate. But he also said he was encouraged that Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond had made clear whichever way the poll goes he will remain a friend of Northern Ireland.

"Obviously, there will be a lot of focus over the next 10 days on what is happening in Scotland, and, in the aftermath of that vote, depending on which way it goes, we will all have to deal with all the implications," he told MLAs.

"I personally have very consciously stayed out of the debate, because I think that what is happening is a matter for the people of Scotland to decide, without outside interference.

"It is quite obvious that the British and Irish governments are very focused on what is happening there and are conscious of their responsibilities in the aftermath of whatever decision is made."

Mr McGuinness added that in all their dealings with Mr Salmond he and Peter Robinson had always found him "very positive and constructive".

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