Border poll could be part of ‘visionary’ talks around Brexit

Kenny says North might in long-term ‘want to extract itself from the UK’ to join country that continued as EU member

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: supported the Taoiseach’s move to raise the concerns of Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon about Brexit

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin: supported the Taoiseach’s move to raise the concerns of Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon about Brexit

 

There is insufficient support for a Border poll now, but the talks on Britain’s exit from the EU should be “long-sighted and visionary to cater for that kind of issue if it happened”, the Taoiseach said.

Enda Kenny on Monday in Donegal raised the possibility of a Border poll, but he did not believe a referendum on a united Ireland would happen any time soon.

“Some time in the future they [Northern Ireland] should not have to go through the process of a long drawn-out application to join the Republic if that was the wish, but to be a member of the EU as well.”

Mr Kenny was speaking in the Dáil during Taoiseach’s Question. He said that “although there was no mandate from here to negotiate for Northern Ireland, it was very important that we have a responsibility as co-guarantor of the [Good Friday] agreement to understand the challenges that Northern Ireland businesses and entrepreneurs feel they face arising from Brexit”.

Clause

He said that in years to come after Britain left the EU and Northern Ireland having voted to stay but remaining part of the UK, “there may be general negotiations and discussions”.

Mr Kenny said the North might in the long-term “want to extract itself from the UK to join a country that continued as a member of the EU”.

Concerns

Nicola Sturgeon

However he expressed concern that in comments at the weekend the new British secretary of state responsible for Brexit, David Davis, “seemed somewhat confused as to the status of what he termed ‘southern Ireland’ when asked about this country”.

Mr Martin said “he seemed to be unaware of our constitutional status to put it mildly”.

He said Mr Davis was happy with “simply seeking a trade pact” with the EU once the UK leaves. “That would have significant implications for Ireland, and particularly Mr Davis’s narrow view of the negotiation parameters with Britain.”

Mr Kenny said: “I will see that Mr Davis is contacted at an early stage to have the full range of our constitutional position fully outlined for him.”