Belfast Telegraph

Should there be united Ireland border poll? How would you vote?

Enda Kenny united Ireland comments pathetic, says DUP

The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic in the village of Bridgend, Co Donegal
The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic in the village of Bridgend, Co Donegal

The DUP has slammed a suggestion by Taoiseach Enda Kenny of a future vote on Irish unity in the wake of Brexit as "pathetic" and deliberately mischievous.

But should there be a poll? And if so what way would you vote.

Ian Paisley said he "expected better" from the Irish leader after the Fine Gael chief said EU-UK negotiations should factor in the possibility that a poll could be held in years to come.

However, Mr Kenny appeared to backtrack somewhat when he told the Dail he did not believe a referendum on Irish unity, which he mooted for the first time ever on Monday, was likely to happen in the near future.

Referring to recent intense scrutiny of Mr Kenny's role as leader of a minority administration in Dublin, Mr Paisley said the Taoiseach's time would be better served concentrating on his own future.

"He's trying to 'out-green' Fianna Fail for electoral gain, that's all they are about," the North Antrim MP added. "There's not going to be a border poll - and that's the bottom line It's quite pathetic."

He also claimed both nationalist and unionist communities had "no interest whatsoever" in a united Ireland.

Speaking on the RTE radio's News at One, Mr Paisley said calls for a referendum were motivated solely by a desire to cause "diversion".

Yesterday, Mr Kenny signalled that the Irish government would use fears of threats to the peace process to defend Northern Ireland's interests in upcoming Brexit negotiations.

He said Dublin had no mandate to negotiate for Northern Ireland, but had obligations as co-guarantor with London of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

"It's very important that we have a responsibility as co-guarantor to understand the challenge northern businesspeople and entrepreneurs face arising from Brexit," the Taoiseach said.

A government source later added: "Peace is fragile up there. The economic situation is one of the root causes of instability.

"The Good Friday Agreement is an important factor in any Brexit negotiations."

The Taoiseach said that he had spoken of the potential built into the 1998 Agreement for a border poll because he wanted to defend Northern Ireland's long-term interests in the upcoming Brexit talks at EU level.

If Brexit went ahead after a majority in Northern Ireland had voted against it, there was the prospect of a majority in the province opting to stay with the European Union and joining the Republic, Mr Kenny claimed,

In that eventuality, he wanted to avoid a situation where Northern Ireland would be left in the back of a long EU membership application queue.

"The only point I'm making is that the discussions should be long-sighted enough and visionary enough to cater for that situation," the Taoiseach said.

Belfast Telegraph


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