Monday 21 October 2019

No Irish unity poll during Brexit impasse - SF leader

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald

A poll on Irish unity should not be held while uncertainty around Brexit remains, the leader of Sinn Féin has warned.

Mary Lou McDonald said she disagreed with those who argued that a hard or chaotic Brexit should be the trigger for a referendum on unification.

The Sinn Féin president insisted that would be the wrong climate for a substantive debate on the constitutional issue.

"I am very, very conscious that you can't come at this issue in that simplistic way.

"It is not my preferred option or our preferred option that we deal with the issue of Irish unity in a climate that is unsteady or unstable or chaotic, in other words in the context of a crash Brexit or a very hard Brexit."

'Dangers'

Ms McDonald said the border poll question should be put to one side until the "dangers" posed by Brexit are mitigated.

Ms McDonald also said unionists who failed to countenance the possibility of a united Ireland were burying their heads in the sand.

She was reacting to remarks by former DUP leader Peter Robinson, who said unionists should prepare for what would happen if they were to lose a future border poll.

Mr Robinson's party colleague Sammy Wilson was among a number of unionists to criticise the former first minister.

On the prospect of standing below a new flag and singing a new anthem in a reunified Ireland, she said: "I, as with every other person who argues for a new united Ireland, will honour the flag of that island, will honour the dawning of that new opportunity. I would be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow citizens, irrespective of religious creed, political background, cultural backgroundand I would proudly sing the anthem of that Ireland."

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section