Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has called for a united Ireland, claiming there are few “rational reasons” left to oppose it.
Mr Salmond made the comments on his Kremlin-funded RT, formerly Russia Today, programme during a debate with ex-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
“There’s the question of Irish reunification. It may not be an immediate prospect but it can be argued that every rational reason for the partition of a century ago has either been eroded, or has disappeared entirely,” Mr Salmond said.
The Times newspaper report the programme follows a warning from the UK parliament intelligence security committee this week, accusing Russia of using state-owned broadcasters like RT to spread disinformation, including efforts to “interfere with the UK democratic process”.
During the debate Mr Ahern said the current Taoiseach, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, was right to be cautious about demands for an immediate border poll in order to align Northern Ireland with EU regulations.
“The harsh reality is, even though the border has been a big issue on the island since 1921, the amount of work, preparedness and analysis on how you would eliminate it and have one island economy is very little — it wouldn’t even fill one folder,” he said.
“There is a huge amount of preparedness, legislative examination, legal examination, how you would integrate the police forces, the legal systems, all of these things would have to be worked through before you could go to the people.
“That work has never been done. We’ve been talking at each other for years. If somebody wants to rush it for political reasons, you will get a political answer and the people will reject it.”
He added: “My view is not that we should never do it, of course I’m a Republican and it is the number one aim of Fianna Fail . . . but it has to be done properly, properly organised, properly negotiated, trying to convince people, and any other way will only lead to hardship and failure.”
A Scottish Conservative spokesman also told The Times: “Far from distancing himself from the Russian state, Mr Salmond appears to be revelling in his role as a useful idiot.
“Certainly his Russian overlords will be delighted that he is actively proposing the disruption of the United Kingdom in this way.”