‘Get ready for a United Ireland’
Kenny wants negotiations on Brexit to leave the door open to All-Ireland EU membership
Published 19/07/2016 | 02:30
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has for the first time opened the door to a future referendum on Irish unity.
In a significant move, Mr Kenny called on the European Union to prepare for the prospect of Northern Ireland seeking to join the Republic.
The Fine Gael leader said that a future border poll was now possible in light of the decision by Britain to leave the European Union.
And in a signal to the wider European community, Mr Kenny even likened the situation to that between West and East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Taoiseach made the remarks to reporters following his speech at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Donegal.
"The discussion and negotiations that take place over the next period should take into account the possibility, however far out it might be, that the clause in the Good Friday Agreement might be triggered," he said, "in that if there is a clear evidence of a majority of people wishing to leave the UK and join the Republic, that should be catered for in the discussions.
"Because if that possibility were to happen, you would have Northern Ireland wishing to leave the United Kingdom, not being a member of the European Union and joining the Republic, which will be a member of the EU."
The Taoiseach said cross-border trade links were more important in terms of volume to the North, suggesting an appetite for such a vote there.
But the decision by Mr Kenny to throw open the prospect to a border poll will set him on a collision course with the DUP.
Mr Kenny was recently left humiliated after attempts to establish an all-island forum were shot down by DUP leader and First Minister Arlene Foster.
The newly appointed Secretary of State to Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, has also ruled out a border poll.