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Patrick Kielty says hard Brexit guarantees border poll and most likely a vote to end partition

Patrick Kielty wrote article for The Guardian
Patrick Kielty wrote article for The Guardian

By Claire McNeily

Comedian Patrick Kielty has said that a hard Brexit will lead to a united Ireland, and he claimed that a second referendum on EU membership "is the best way out of this mess".

The TV star also likened Northern Ireland to Kevin in the Home Alone film - "only remembered at the baggage carousel after the plane had landed".

Writing in yesterday's Guardian, he said the only two options to resolve the border issue post-Brexit are custom checks on th e border or in the Irish Sea.

The Dundrum funnyman, whose father Jack was shot dead by loyalist terrorists in 1988, added that either option would cause divisions.

"There's only one thing you need to know - there are no workable alternative arrangements," he wrote.

"If there were, you'd have heard of them by now.

"If an alternative arrangement that worked actually existed (or was likely to exist in the next couple of years), Brexiteers would have already accepted the backstop, knowing they could easily replace it with their idea during the transition.

"The fact that they won't bet on themselves tells you all you need to know about what they have in the locker.

"If Brexit has proved anything, it's that many Tories don't give a stuff about the people of Northern Ireland, not even the unionists.

"If they did, they wouldn't dream of a hard Brexit because it only guarantees one thing - a border poll."

Kielty, who lives in Los Angeles with TV star wife Cat Deeley and their two children, said a border poll would be decided by nationalists and "pro-European unionists".

He added that the "inevitable" economic downturn and "border circus" of a hard Brexit could swing floating voters and Northern Ireland out of the Union.

"So, why would any member of the Conservative and Unionist party take that risk?" the comedian asked.

"Because no matter what they say in public, they've never honestly believed Belfast is just like Finchley."

Kielty said that there are three ways the Brexit negotiations could unfold.

"On the one side is May's deal (complete with backstop)," he said.

"On the other is the European Research Group (ERG) and a hard Brexit.

"If the DUP buckles on the backstop, party members will walk away with their UK sovereignty between their legs. For those of us who have their early albums, this isn't going to happen.

"Which leaves just one option. The DUP holds firm and jumps off the cliff with the ERG, knowing a hard Brexit is the only scenario that guarantees a hard border in Ireland, a border poll in Northern Ireland and the perfect economic storm where it could lose that vote.

"By trying to be the most British person in the room, the DUP could actually end up the most Irish."

He added that another referendum on EU membership is the only way to save peace and a continued shared future for people here.

"It's wrong that Northern Ireland should take one for the team so that others can have their version of Brexit," he said.

"It's now time to act, or Northern Ireland might decide the team is no longer worth playing for."

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