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Pro-EU parties should unite as a single group

Published 07/07/2016

In the recent Brexit vote a clear majority in Northern Ireland voted to remain inside the EU. However, many of those who did so will not want to take up an offer to join a united Ireland as a means of remaining inside the EU.

I've argued before through this newspaper for an independent Northern Ireland within the EU. I'm guessing that some voters may now want to reappraise that argument in light of the Brexit vote. It's not looking just so silly now, is it?

If it's good enough for the Scots, then maybe we should give it some thought.

It can be argued that the DUP is the party of government, albeit in partnership with Sinn Fein, and it is firmly for Brexit. However, I have also recently argued that were the pro-EU parties of the UUP, SDLP, Alliance and Greens to fuse together into a single political party and designate as 'unionist', they would be larger than the DUP and could take the position of First Minister.

This might appear unrealistic, but then the UUP has throughout its history been a disparate group of interests far wider than this mooted coalition and so that's not a problem.

If these parties found that it was legally too late to do so in the term of this Assembly, then they could plan for it in four years' time. However, there are a few other options available that will come to the fore over the next few months.

BERNARD J MULHOLLAND

Belfast

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