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Time not right for a border poll: Charlie Flanagan


Cautious: Charlie Flanagan

Cautious: Charlie Flanagan

Cautious: Charlie Flanagan

The Republic's Foreign Affairs Minister has confirmed he does not believe there is convincing enough evidence to call a border poll.

Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph, Charlie Flanagan says the Irish Government feels a vote would "only serve to increase uncertainty and division at an already difficult and sensitive time".

However, he left future poll prospects open, writing they are "mindful of the need to ensure that this future option, as part of the totality of the Good Friday Agreement, is not in any way invalidated by a UK departure from the EU".

The vote by the UK to leave the EU sparked fresh calls from nationalists for a referendum on a united Ireland because Northern Ireland voted Remain.

Mr Flanagan describes the Brexit result as a "political shock", which will have "significant implications across Europe and beyond for quite some time".

He says a priority for Ireland is protecting the Common Travel Area and cross-border trade.

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"In all of our meetings with our EU counterparts over the last month, the Taoiseach and I have highlighted the unique status of Northern Ireland and the consequences for North-South interactions which must be factored into any new EU relationship with the UK," he writes.

"While this is only the beginning of the process, I am encouraged by the sensitivity and understanding of our partners to this issue, which is reflective of the enormously positive contribution which the EU has made to the peace process.

"The government's determination to protect the gains of that peace process and minimise any negative impact on Northern Ireland is unequivocal. A prosperous and reconciled Northern Ireland is in the interests of all the people of this island."

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