Tuesday 16 July 2019

Border poll deemed not a 'risk' - but Scottish independence referendum is

Criticism: Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly has criticised the fact a Border poll has been left out of Government assessment. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Criticism: Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly has criticised the fact a Border poll has been left out of Government assessment. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The implications of a Border poll on this island are not considered in a forthcoming National Risk Assessment - but a Scottish independence referendum is.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the "very important and sensitive policy issues related to it" would not be dealt with in the forthcoming plan.

The move has been criticised by Fianna Fáil senator Mark Daly and TD Seán Fleming, who argue the Government has left "a void" in the assessment.

They have called on Mr Varadkar to amend the document to include the possibility/probability of a future unity referendum.

Topics as diverse as global warming, cyber security, terrorism, the healthcare crisis and even the referendum on Scottish independence are included in the plan.

The report makes no mention of any necessity for policy preparation. Mr Varadkar said an Irish Border poll "would not be regarded as a risk".

Mr Fleming questioned: "What other issues has the Taoiseach decided are too sensitive to be dealt with in the National Risk Assessment and have been hidden from the people of Ireland?"

According to Mr Daly, the Brexit referendum should have taught Ireland an important lesson.

"You do not hold a referendum until there is debate and discussion with all sides and all necessary preparations are made," he said.

"Policy neglect seldom goes unpunished and this is very true of the lack of policy preparation for a referendum on a new agreed Ireland by the Government."

The risk assessment is an annual review carried out by the Government and involves taking submissions from the public. The closing date for observations is tomorrow.

A draft document states the uncertainties around the form Brexit will take have persisted, and indeed increased, since last year's report.

Irish Independent

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