24/06/2016

Sinn Féin Calls For Border Poll

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has called for a border poll after the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU).

The majority of Northern Ireland voted to Remain in the UK.

Mr McGuinness said: "This decision to drag us out of the European Union against our democratically expressed wishes, has nothing to do with issues around the European institutions and everything to do with the civil war within the British Tory party. 

"The people of the north of Ireland, nationalists, republicans, unionists and others have made it clear at the polls that they wish to remain in the EU. 

"The British government now need to take account of that and recognise that reality and allow the people of the north to have their say on their own future. 

"Dragging us out of Europe will be to the detriment of all our citizens and will be bad for business, trade, investment, and wider society

"I, and all Sinn Féin ministers will work to ensure the political institutions remain on a stable footing but it is very difficult to put detailed contingencies in place until we know the extent of the impact of Brexit on our finances, our infrastructure and health services."

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said that Britain's decision to leave the European Union means that a referendum on a United Ireland is now vital.

Mr Carthy said: "The British Government has no mandate to drag the north of Ireland out of the EU. It has no mandate to re-erect border controls between north and south.

"Irish interests are being actively and gravely damaged by the decisions taken in England. 

"The north of Ireland has voted to remain in the EU. The British Government cannot now negotiate on behalf of people there to exit the European Union.

"A referendum on a United Ireland is now a democratic imperative and it is incumbent that the Irish Government and all Irish nationalist parties support this demand. To do anything less would be to betray the best interests of the Irish people."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA said there can be no return to a physical border across the island.

Mr Eastwood said: "There must remain freedom of movement for people, goods and services across Ireland.

"The negotiation to come must ensure that any border is only operational around the island of Ireland and not across it. This result must now ensure the full and fast integration of economic interests across Ireland.

"I will now be speaking with the leaders of Dublin parties to advance this work. I will open discussions on how we can defend the interests of the people of Ireland, North and South.

"As a continuing member of the European Union, the Irish government wields significant influence that it can exercise during the course of Brexit negotiations."

(CD)

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