Express – “United Ireland ‘WILL HAPPEN’ thanks to Brexit, Irish senator warns

A REFERENDUM on uniting the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is inevitable, a new report declared today.

By Joey Millar, Express:

Economic incentives and uncertainty caused by Brexit means a border poll “will happen”, an Irish government committee has claimed.

The report, entitled ‘Brexit and the Future of : Uniting Ireland and its People in Peace and Prosperity’, was compiled by an Irish senator.

Mark Daly, of the Fianna Fail party, admited “a lot of work needs to be done” to hold a referendum but said a historic vote was likely.

The report said Brexit had changed the political landscape on the island and accelerated the United Ireland process.

It said: “Up until the Brexit vote on 23 June 2016 the concept of a United Ireland … for many would seem a distant aspiration.

“Brexit means that the best future for the citizens of  could well be remaining in the European Union in a reunified Ireland.

“This option must be explored and examined.”

Mr Daly said the mood on the ground indicated people on both sides of the debate were anticipating a poll.

He said: “From talking to people in both communities in the north it is clear that everybody believes that at some stage there will be a referendum.

“But we must learn the lesson from Brexit and the lesson from Brexit is that you don’t have a referendum and then tell people what the future will look like.

“What you do is you lay out the future in great detail, you talk about the issues of great concern to all communities.”

He said a vote was not likely to be held in the near future but said it was time to start preparing for such an occasion.

Mr Daly said: “This is the first report by a committee of the Dáil or the Senate on how to achieve the peaceful unity of Ireland.

“Last year our former Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the EU needs to prepare for a united Ireland.

“And it’s clear from the 17 recommendations by the committee that a lot of work needs to be done in advance of a referendum.”

Unlike the United Kingdom as a whole, Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU during last year’s referendum.

Despite the 56 per cent Remain vote, Prime Minister Theresa May has consistently declared the state will leave the EU along with Scotland, Wales and England.

It comes as a second report said Ireland should begin preparing for “peaceful reunification” to address the long-term consequence of Brexit.

A “New Ireland Forum 2” to achieve a nationalist consensus on how to unite the island should be established, a report published in Dublin said.

Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK sharing a land border with an EU state – the Republic of Ireland – and its status after Brexit is a key factor in talks between London and Brussels amid claims the region would be worst-affected by a hard exit.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the constitutional position of Northern Ireland was settled.

She said: “From an economic point of view, it is a no-brainer when you see the benefits we gain from our membership of the UK, so that is a non-runner.

“It is not a matter for reports from the Dail. It is a matter for the people of Northern Ireland.”

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