Sunday 19 November 2017

Varadkar wants a united Ireland through consensus, not Border poll

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Mark Condren
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Mark Condren

Suzanne Breen

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said there needs to be a bigger majority than 50pc plus one in a poll to bring about a united Ireland.

In an interview with BBC's 'Spotlight', Mr Varadkar put the issue of a united Ireland on the backburner, saying he would prefer it happened through consensus.

"I wouldn't like us to get to the point whereby we are changing the constitutional position in Northern Ireland on a 50pc plus one basis," Mr Varadkar said referring to the prospect of a Border poll.

"One of the best things about the Good Friday Agreement is that it did get very strong cross-Border support - that's why there was 70pc for it.

"I don't think that there would be a 70pc vote for a united Ireland in the morning, for example, or anything remotely to that. And I really think we should focus on making the agreement that we have work," he added.

Meanwhile speaking on a visit to Kildare to inspect storm damage yesterday, he admitted that hopes which surfaced last week of an imminent agreement between Sinn Féin and the DUP to restore power-sharing at Stormont had now dwindled.

He said the "big things" such as Brexit were not being dealt with in the North because the two main parties were "arguing about the intricacies of an Irish Language Act".

On the reasons for the lack of progress, he said: "I will let the different parties account for themselves as to what went wrong."

When asked about the chances of a political breakthrough, he said: "At the moment they're not close to a deal. Things did look encouraging at the start of last week and became less favourable during the week."

Irish Independent

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