Kenny says Brexit could bring about united Ireland

EU exit on agenda for Taoiseach’s meeting with Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon

Britain's exit from the EU could result in an "uncomplicated route" to a united Ireland, Taoiseach Enda Kenny told a private Fine Gael fundraising event.

Mr Kenny again raised the prospect of a united Ireland as a possible outcome of Brexit at an event for one of his backbenchers.

The Taoiseach is also understood to have said that Northern Ireland should not have to wait 20 years to re-enter the EU as Scotland would likely have to.

Those present took this part of Mr Kenny’s comments to mean that Scotland will leave the EU with the rest of Britain, but would re-enter upon gaining its own independence, a process that could take two decades.

A meeting of the Cabinet sub-committee on Brexit also heard a presentation from Minister of State for Finance Eoghan Murphy on how Ireland could capitalise on financial firms who leave the city of London.

Mr Kenny is due to have a bilateral meeting with Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon at a meeting of the British-Irish Council in Cardiff on Friday, and Brexit will be on the agenda.

Ms Sturgeon is scheduled to visit Dublin next week, and will address the Seanad during the trip.

The Taoiseach's speech took place during a private fundraiser for Dublin North West TD Noel Rock at a restaurant on Dublin's Merrion Row.

Logic

A spokesman for Mr Kenny said he was outlining the logic of the situation but was not advocating the position of a united Ireland, and said the processes of the Belfast Agreement still apply.

The agreement says a referendum on Irish unity may take place if "it at any time" appears likely "that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland".

Mr Kenny has previously suggested Ireland must prepare for a shift of view in the North towards Irish unity by ensuring Northern Ireland could be absorbed into the EU like East Germany was in 1990-91 rather than through a "tortuous and long process" of separate application.

He has, however, said there was “no convincing evidence to suggest that a majority of the people of Northern Ireland would opt for a change in its constitutional status”.

Common freedoms

Minister for Children

Katherine Zappone

will also attend Friday’s meeting in Cardiff, which will also focus on early years development for children.

"A generation in Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands have not only grown up in peace but with common freedoms, protections and rights. In Ireland we have been preparing for Brexit since before the referendum. However it is wrong to suggest that the result has not caused concern," Ms Zappone will say in an address.