Thursday 22 March 2018

Theresa May dismisses calls for a border poll on a united Ireland

Jon Vale

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said it is not the right time for Ireland to hold a border poll on independence.

Ms May said parties in Northern Ireland should instead be focused on reforming the Executive in the country after the collapse of power sharing.

The prospect of a united Ireland has risen as a result of Brexit and the decision by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to announce a referendum to extend voting rights to Irish emigrants.

But the Democratic Unionist Party has again reiterated its opposition to a referendum on a united Ireland.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds accused Sinn Féin of causing further "uncertainty and division" by its fresh calls for a border poll on Irish unity.

In her address to the House of Commons, Ms May said: "There are a set of circumstances which the secretary of state for Northern Ireland has looked, and it is not right to have a border poll at this stage.

"What we should all be focusing on is bringing the parties together to ensure that we can continue to see the devolved administration in Northern Ireland working, as it has done, in the interests of the people of Northern Ireland.

"We want to see that devolved administration being formed and that's what all the parties should be looking for at the moment."

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has been criticised after saying Ms May can stick the Irish border "where the sun don't shine" during a speech to the European Parliament.

Talking about a post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, Ms Anderson told MEPs: "No border hard or soft will be accepted by the people of Ireland."

Referring to the Prime Minister, she added: "Theresa, your notion of a border, hard and soft, stick it where the sun doesn't shine 'cos you're not putting it in Ireland."

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: "Martina Anderson was ranting like a fishwife. That was far more offensive than anything Arlene Foster said."

Mr Wilson was referring to the DUP leader comparing Sinn Féin to a crocodile before the recent election.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson described Ms Anderson's comments as embarrassing and displaying a lack of respect.

Irish Independent

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