Monday 23 April 2018

Bruton warns against rush for NI border poll

Minister for Education Richard Bruton Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Minister for Education Richard Bruton Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Ryan Nugent and David Kearns

Education Minister Richard Bruton has warned against rushing into a border poll for a united Ireland.

Speaking on RTE One's 'The Week In Politics' yesterday, the Fine Gael TD said there is a process under the Good Friday Agreement in relation to a border poll - but now was not the time to bring it up.

"This is a time we need to give reassurances to people rather than raising topics we know are divisive," he said.

Mr Bruton made his comments three days after Britain voted in a referendum to leave the European Union.

However, Northern Ireland, Scotland and London voted in favour of remaining in the EU.

Calls for a border poll have been made by Sinn Féin TDs Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald as well as the party's Martin McGuinness, who serves as Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland,

Ms McDonald has said the fresh calls are not a knee-jerk reaction by the party.

"It is sensible of course to proceed in an orderly fashion but our call for a referendum on Irish unity is not a new call.It is an absolute honest recognition that we now have a huge problem for Ireland.

"We make the call on Irish unity as a core expression of the national interest.

"Anyone donning the 'Green Jersey' will not allow the North of Ireland to be politically marooned at the behest of Tory England," she added.

Mr Bruton also defended the EU, insisting that some forget the impact it has had on Ireland, and that negotiations with the UK are vital for Ireland.

"It's not a perfect institution by any means but the EU has improved our education system, our social welfare (and) our infrastructure," he said.

Irish Independent

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