Newton Emerson: Road to united Ireland is via united North

Reconciliation is plainly envisaged in the Belfast Agreement as preceding unity

Hands Across the Divide sculpture in Derry: the involvement of unionists in a unity debate, while desirable, cannot be a precondition. Photograph: Getty

Hands Across the Divide sculpture in Derry: the involvement of unionists in a unity debate, while desirable, cannot be a precondition. Photograph: Getty

Leo Varadkar has done nobody any favours with his latest pronouncements on a united Ireland.

Responding to Sinn Féin and Labour questions in the Dáil last Tuesday, the Taoiseach said he would not rule out a citizens’ assembly on unification “at the right point in time” but he questioned if it would be a valid exercise without unionists, who would be unlikely to attend.

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