Charlie Flanagan again rules out post-Brexit Border poll

Minister for Foreign Affairs says there is no evidence of majority seeking a united Ireland

Charlie Flanagan: “The fact that 56 per cent of those who voted in Northern Ireland chose to remain in the EU does not mean that a majority of its electorate would similarly vote for a united Ireland.” Photograph:  The Irish Times

Charlie Flanagan: “The fact that 56 per cent of those who voted in Northern Ireland chose to remain in the EU does not mean that a majority of its electorate would similarly vote for a united Ireland.” Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has again ruled out a Border poll in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. He told the Seanad he understood the motivations of those who called for a referendum, as provided in the Belfast Agreement.

However, for such a poll to be held, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland must judge it likely a majority of the electorate would opt for a united Ireland. At present, he added, there was no evidence to suggest that such an outcome would occur.

“The fact that 56 per cent of those who voted in Northern Ireland on Thursday chose to remain in the EU does not mean that a majority of its electorate would similarly vote for a united Ireland,’’ Mr Flanagan said. “They are two very distinct questions.’’

Mr Flanagan will meet Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers in Belfast today to discuss the impact of Brexit on cross-Border relations. They will hold talks with First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

In the Seanad, Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond warned against a “vengeful European Union’’ following Brexit. Fianna Fáil Senator Catherine Ardagh said the coming days, weeks and months would be some of the most important in the history of the EU.