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Villiers naive to assume people still content with the border situation in aftermath of Brexit vote

letter of the day: EU REFERENDUM

Published 28/06/2016

Last Thursday a clear majority of voters in Northern Ireland took a differing view from the overall outcome of the referendum on remaining within the EU.

Yet within 24 hours of the settled situation on both sides of the border being within the EU (which the majority here supported) and without further polling, the Secretary of State said that the "majority of people in Northern Ireland are content with the political settlement established under the Belfast Agreement and Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom".

Firstly, the Belfast Agreement is heavily reliant on the European Union and its institutions and the United Kingdom, at the time of establishing that agreement, didn't look like leaving the same European Union it joined on the same date as the rest of this island.

Many who had previously supported the settled situation, from both nationalist and unionist points of view, did so under differing political and economic situations; the vote last Thursday has shattered those conditions and people are reviewing their opinions.

There are a number of people here who also consider themselves "small u" unionists. Many call themselves "economic unionists" from the time when Ms Villiers' party were last in outright power and neglected spending on jobs and infrastructure in Northern Ireland (much of that shortfall was later made up by EU peace funding).

I do not feel that Ms Villiers can state categorically that how people would have voted in a border poll last Wednesday is the same as they would vote today.

Last Wednesday I personally would have voted to remain part of the UK; today I would vote to reunify the island of my forebears for economic, liberal and stability reasons.


Chair, Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats

Belfast Telegraph

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