Timing of Varadkar’s speech on united Ireland is mystifying and reckless

All Tánaiste has done is stoke fears and give Johnson another excuse to break his word

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has been criticised by Unionists for making a strongly pro-united Ireland speech at the opening of the annual Fine Gael party Ard-Fheis, which was held online this year. Video: Fine Gael

The timing of Leo Varadkar’s speech expressing his desire for a united Ireland was as mystifying as it was reckless. At a time of tension and uncertainty in Northern Ireland the last thing the Fine Gael leader needed to do was spout traditional nationalist rhetoric in his ardfheis address.

Of course Varadkar is entitled to his aspiration for a united Ireland but in the context of the uncertainty about the future of the powersharing Executive in Stormont, never mind the intensifying row between the EU and UK over the Northern Ireland protocol, his decision to use a tired old cliche to describe his vision of the island’s future carried obvious dangers.

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