Taoiseach tells Adams time is not right to hold poll on future of North

Wed, Jan 23, 2013, 00:00

Now is not the time for a Border poll on a united Ireland, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

“I think we have a lot of work to do both here and up North before people’s mentality and views change about the future of the island,” he told Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

The Taoiseach said it was a matter for the British government to decide whether to agree to have a Border poll now or not.

“Clearly if that were to happen, depending on the result, we would have to consider what would happen here, but I don’t think now is the time to do it.”

Mr Adams, who raised the issue in the Dáil during Taoiseach’s questions, said DUP Minister Arlene Foster had said her party may support his call for a Border poll under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.

He told the Dáil a Border poll was “rhetorically at least” one of the main aims of all the main Oireachtas parties. Mr Adams said “all of us have to work with our unionist neighbours to try and bring this about and there is a constitutional obligation on the Government to do so”.

The Taoiseach suggested to the Sinn Féin leader that Ms Foster “might have a slightly different view than you”. Mr Kenny said he understood the DUP Minister was saying that “you should be careful about what you wish for – that it might happen”.

The Government’s view was that a Border poll “at this stage would be carried in a slightly different direction than you might wish”.

“Let’s test it,” Mr Adams then said.

The Taoiseach replied: “That’s the point, but I don’t think now is the time to do it.”