Belfast Telegraph

Varadkar slammed for not making preparations for any possible referendum on united Ireland

Irish premier Leo Varadkar
Irish premier Leo Varadkar

By Michelle Devane

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has been accused of not making any of the "necessary preparations" for the possible reunification of Ireland.

Mark Daly, a senator with the country's main opposition party Fianna Fail, said that two years after a report detailing the measures that needed to be implemented before a referendum on a united Ireland could come to fruition, not one recommendation had been actioned by the Irish government.

He called on the government to implement the report's recommendations in full as soon as possible. In August 2017, an Oireachtas cross-party committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement published a document entitled Brexit And The Future Of Ireland: Uniting Ireland & Its People In Peace & Prosperity'. It contained 17 recommendations relating to a united Ireland.

Among them was the establishment of a New Ireland forum to set a pathway to achieve the peaceful reunification of Ireland. It also called for an international task force comprising security experts to be set up so that plans to meet any risks may be devised and implemented.

It said the fears and concerns of the unionist community in Northern Ireland needed to be examined in advance of any potential referendum on a united Ireland and that further research needed to be carried out into the income and expenditure of the region.

"Absolutely none of the recommendations of the all-party committee have been implemented, this is a clear case of policy neglect and policy neglect seldom goes unpunished," Mr Daly said.

"The Taoiseach [Leo Varadkar] has spoken as recently as the McGill summer school on the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland, yet he is doing none of the necessary preparation in advance of the possible/probable referendum on a new agreed Ireland."

Mr Daly added: "Any referendum on a united Ireland needs the preparation to start now, not when we are faced with the question at the ballot box."

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