A DONEGAL-based Senator says that all elements of the Good Friday Agreement need to be fully implemented before a border poll should be truly considered.
In January, a poll carried out by LucidTalk for the Sunday Times found that 51 per cent of people surveyed in Northern Ireland supported a referendum in the next five years.
That poll was published days after former British chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne predicted that ‘Northern Ireland is already heading for the exit door’ out of the UK, due to Brexit.
Under the 1998 Belfast Agreement a Border poll can be called by the Northern Secretary ‘if at any time it appears likely to him/her that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland’.
Fianna Fáil Senator and spokesperson on Northern Ireland, Niall Blaney, says that all elements of the Agreement need to be implemented first.
“In the aftermath of the collapse of Stormont and the effects of Brexit, what does a border poll bring right now and what does it do for inclusion on the Island,” he said.
“We all need to engage on issues that affect our everyday lives and the wellbeing of the economy either side of the border.
“We need to ensure that opportunities for individuals in Northern Ireland are similar to those available south of the border. That is why the Irish Government are committed to a spend of €500m between now and 2025 on cross border projects while endeavouring to begin conversations around our shared future.
“We cannot impose a border poll that excludes the wishes and concern of the Protestant communities of this island. The only positive indication of progress on our past was achieved through agreeing the Good Friday Agreement.
“We need to fully implement all elements of the Good Friday Agreement through the institutions, North and South.
“Much is possible with agreement as the Good Friday Agreement has proven, but much work remains to be done to eliminate scars of the past. But with mutual respect and inclusiveness, much can be achieved to let the children of tomorrow live in a harmonious shared Island.”Tags: