NORTHERN Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said the Scottish independence referendum would have a “profound impact” on Northern Ireland especially if Scotland is given more power of autonomy following a No vote.
Mr McGuinness said he hoped Northern Ireland would also benefit if Scotland was given more control over its budget for voting against independence.
Scotland is less than a week away from the polls and British Prime Minister David Cameron tried to stop the surge in support for the Yes campaign by offering the country maximum devolution of power.
Speaking at his party’s think in at An Grianan in Termonfeckin, Co Louth, Mr McGuinness said he was “staying out” of the independence debate, which he said was a “matter for the people of Scotland”.
However, the former IRA commander said if the British government give Scotland more financial autonomy for voting No, Northern Ireland would also be seeking more power over its budget.
“If Scotland gets, in the context of there being a No vote, power over social welfare and the ability to decide their own social welfare payment rates then that has big implications for us and I think that I would hope that we can benefit from the outcome of that,” he added
“Whatever way it goes I think it will have a profound impact on the situation in Ireland, and specifically in the North of Ireland, particularly in relation to the battle that we’re having with the British Government at this time over the swingeing cuts that they have brought in.”